Giving from the Heart
“A bull or cow is worth the same as an acre of land,” is a saying quoted on James M. Michels’ business stationery. This simple statement tells how Jim has valued his farming in Stanley, Iowa. Throughout his life as an Iowa farmer, Jim has also been a friend and benefactor of the Dubuque Presentation sisters.
The brother of deceased Presentation Sister Dianne Michels, Jim has known farming all his life, beginning at home with his parents, Andrew and Mathilda Michels, and his two sisters Donna (Sister Dianne) and Leona Michels Kleitsch. Eventually, Jim owned a large farm between Stanley and Hazelton, Iowa, where he raised a large herd of Angus cattle and a lot of corn, beans and hay, including acres of sweet corn.
“Very often Jim would arrive at Mount Loretto with one-half a beef, or a truckload of sweet corn picked and brought directly from the field,” comments Sister Jeanette McCarthy who was Sister Dianne’s classmate. “Throughout the years Jim’s generous donations took a lot of effort and good will and have been very much appreciated by all who dined on fresh corn-on-the cob and tasty beef at the Presentation motherhouse.”
A life-long Catholic, Jim appreciates his faith. “We were brought up in a good Christian family,” says Jim modestly. “Our parents were loving people; they passed this value on to their children. I also learned from my parents that faith is an everyday thing. The more you have, the more you can/must give.”
As a great devotee to Our Blessed Mother, Jim regularly prayed the Rosary while on his tractor. He went on tours to honor Mary at Medjugorje (former Yugoslavia, now western Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1988 and 1999, and later to Betania, Venezuela, where many others honor Mary.
Jim is now retired, but still buys truckloads of sweet corn every year in the summer and quality beef to bring to Dubuque for the sisters. He says that the reason he keeps on with this generous support is because “The Presentation sisters are doing God’s work.”
“The sisters do a lot to help other people. They are a happy group and they spread joy to everyone they meet,” states Jim who also gives in honor of his beloved sister, Sister Dianne.
“Wherever Sister Dianne lived, Jim recalls that he met many wonderful sisters who led special lives and were very interesting individuals. We know he enjoyed sharing with the sisters and appreciated their hospitality many times,” comments Sister Jeanette.
Jim Michels is a forever-friend, benefactor and brother to the Presentation sisters.
Photo: Jim Michels and Sister Linus Coyle.