By Elizabeth Tomlin


One of the things that have stuck out to me, in a good way, about Covid-19 is that people are really stretching out to help each other. A friend told me recently that someone anonymously gifted her family a grocery store gift card to help them bridge the gap between their family’s needs and the anticipated arrivals of stimulus and unemployment checks.

Another friend has been accepting donations in exchange for handcrafted face masks and using the donations to bless friends in need with gift cards to local grocery stores.

Quarantine is still in effect from my home in Washington State (at least as of the writing of this article), and my Bible study group is gathering on Zoom. When we met this week, we read from Mark’s Gospel about the widow who “gave from her poverty” (Mark 12:44). Generosity is one of those attributes that just shines from others. Maybe that’s why Jesus noticed the widow’s mere two cents from the opposite side of the treasury.

As I prayed through this passage, I couldn’t help but wonder if the widow would have considered herself to be poor or given because she felt richly blessed?

Generous Friends

Thinking about this theme of generosity, I want to introduce you to another friend. Her name is Brenda, and she is a prayer warrior. With Brenda’s permission, I share that two years ago, she went to the doctor for a routine mammogram was stunned to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Brenda endured a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and a reconstructive process that took over a year because her insurance would not approve the surgery.

Throughout the entire process, whenever I called Brenda, I would say, “How are you?” and she would respond, “I am blessed!” From there, we’d chat on for hours.

When Brenda reported to the hospital each week for her chemo infusions, she packed rosary, making supplies with her and crafted rosaries for dozens of people while praying her way through treatment. By the end of her chemo, Brenda gifted each woman in our ministry group a rosary. I tuck this rosary in my pocket and pray it often while walking or jogging trails near my home.

Brenda, I’m glad to report, is cancer-free, and restored to health! I thought of Brenda this week as a woman who gave during her poverty – at least her poverty of health. At a time when she could have curled into herself, she shared her spiritual richness with all who surrounded her. Two years later, she still inspires me, and I continue to prosper from the simple threaded rosary that she gifted me.

Something to Ponder

Who has served you generously either during these Covid-19 days or before? Let them know what their generosity has meant to you. You don’t have to name them publicly, but consider sharing the story or letting that person know how much they blessed you.


About the author:

Elizabeth Tomlin, contributing writer to WINE, mother of three, and army wife, is General Counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services.  She is a founding member of the Military Council of Catholic Women Worldwide Inc., the women’s ministry of the military Archdiocese.  Elizabeth speaks broadly on Catholic topics, blogs at, and has a book through Ave Maria Press with the same title.