Marc R. Duffy
3704 Thornapple Street
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
I am writing you today on what would have been my wife Marianne’s 41st birthday. Occasionally, there is an event in your life that changes you forever. Two years ago this past February my life was forever changed when Marianne, and my daughter, Caroline, died in a car accident. Whatever the path of my life before the accident, I am on a different path now. My path has taken me from grief, to longing, to anger, to questioning, to searching, to acceptance and, now, to helping. So today, I am writing to ask for your help. I have decided that a fitting way to bring some good out of this tragedy is to establish a scholarship at Blessed Sacrament School in Chevy Chase, Maryland in the names of Marianne and Caroline.
Marianne and I both valued greatly the importance of a good education that teaches moral values. Marianne’s Catholic education ranged from the Catholic high school she attended in Eastchester, New York to the Jesuit training she received at Georgetown. At the time of the accident, Caroline was a second grader at Blessed Sacrament and Marianne was very active in the school community. Claire is now a first grader at Blessed Sacrament School.
As many of you know, Marianne and I bought our current house in Chevy Chase so that we could send our children to Blessed Sacrament School and unfortunately endured a protracted legal battle with Montgomery County and some neighbors over our house renovation. Ironically, we successfully concluded that legal battle just one month before the car accident. And while we suffered greatly during the ordeal over the house, the love and support that Claire and I received from the school community in the months after the accident have confirmed to me that Marianne and I made the right choice in moving to this community.
To honor the memory of Marianne and Caroline, and to give back to this wonderful community, I am setting up The Marianne and Caroline Duffy Scholarship Fund. Rather than set up a costly separate legal entity, this fund will be a separate account at The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church to be administered by the church. Grants from the fund will be approved by our pastor, Fr. John Enzler, the school’s principal, Chris Kelly, and me, and will be used to provide tuition assistance for children in need who attend Blessed Sacrament School.
My goal is to raise $25,000 so the principal investment can remain intact for many years at the church and revenue from the endowed fund will provide ongoing need-based scholarship assistance for some time to come. And we are already $5,000 towards that goal because of the generous gifts that have been made to date!
Personal experience has taught me that when faced with tragedy, regardless of one’s financial status, moving forward often requires leaning on many “helping hands” in the community. Although some might think that a scholarship fund in a fairly affluent area is unnecessary, there are, in fact, many families in our area with financial troubles who need just such a “helping hand” to keep their children at BSS. Tuition relief can provide tangible comfort to families in crisis by ensuring that their children remain in the supportive school environment and by serving as a tether to the wonderful families of our school community. Marianne and Caroline exemplified the loving and supportive community of our parish school and would have been among the first to come to the aid of someone in need.
If you would like to contribute, please send a check made out to The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church (and notated for “The Marianne and Caroline Duffy Scholarship Fund”) and mail it directly to the church (3630 Quesada Street, NW, Washington D.C. 20015). You can also mail the check made payable to the church to me, if you prefer. Or, you can use the link listed below to make a contribution online. I will be involved in the oversight of the scholarship fund and will periodically update donors on how the fund has been able to assist those in need.
Caroline wanted to be a teacher, just like her second grade teacher. I believe that desire arose as much from the wonderful person that her teacher is as from the loving, caring and nurturing environment that is Blessed Sacrament School. I am sure that Marianne is smiling knowing that in spite of our tragedy we are going to be able to ensure that loving, caring and nurturing school environment continues to be available to other children. In this way Marianne and Caroline will continue to contribute to our loving community. I hope you will be able to help me, and them, to do so too.
Thank you for considering helping me to honor the memories of Marianne and Caroline. Please feel free to share this letter with anyone else you might feel would be interested in making a contribution.