Fifty years of donating to the House of Charity

Fifty years of donating to the House of Charity

100yearoldlady-webPENNSAUKEN – St. Joseph’s pants. A bucket overflowing with coal.
These are, among other things, what Phyllis Mignogna remembers about her childhood, as one of nine children to Italian immigrants Lucia and Salvatore Mignogna.
And they are also what have kept her vibrant and sharp at the age of 105, and spurred her donations to the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal every year since its inception 50 years ago.
Mignogna is not a rich woman. She worked as a secretary, and she’s been retired for 30 of the 50 years she has made donations to the House of Charity, which provides for health, social and welfare services in southern New Jersey .
Here in the home she shares with her niece, Carmel Naples, Mignogna shares her past and how her family’s love, faith and generosity inspired her.
Born in Landisville, she lived with her parents, three brothers and five sisters. She recalled her father going down into the basement, coming back up with a bucket-full of coal and giving it to a neighborhood widow so she would have needed heat for her family.
And her thoughts go back to March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, and the annual open house the family would have to honor Jesus’ earthly father.
Every year on St. Joseph’s Day, the family would set up an altar to the saint, with votive candles and a statue. With worshippers dressed as the Holy Family, the Mignognas would invite guests into the home to pray and, afterward, partake of the many Italian dishes the family had prepared. And children who visited never left without a taste of the traditional St. Joseph’s Pants, which are pastries filled with chickpeas.
“We shared everything we had,” Phyllis remembers.
“We always felt like we owed it to the Lord,” she says. “Whatever had to be done, we did it for him.”
After attending Vineland High School and Glassboro Normal School (now Rowan University), she spent many years as secretary to different attorneys, and helped with the legal paperwork that began the construction of Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden. She retired at the age of 75.
Today, the current parishioner of St. Peter Church in Merchantville spends her days performing therapy exercises, watching the Philadelphia Phillies or Sixers, and talking politics.
And, every year, donating to the House of Charity.
“The appeal is a wonderful thing,” she says of the campaign that helps the diocese provide for the needy of South Jersey. “I’m appreciative of all the work they have done, for all of those who need help.”
Sheila McGirl, associate director of development for the House of Charity, expressed thanks for Mignogna’s generosity over the years.
“What a treasure and inspiration to encounter the heart of a donor with such enthusiasm for charity over her lifetime,” she said.
The House of Charity, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, provides for the needy regardless of race or creed. Among the services, organizations and facilities it helps fund are Catholic Charities; nursing homes; poor and needy parishes and schools; youth, young adult and campus ministries; vocations and formation of seminarians; the Romero Center, an inner city retreat center; and Good Counsel Homes for homeless and pregnant women.

Categories: Latest News

About Author