The Order's charitable efforts and top-rated insurance program provide hope and security to those in need
by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
Carl A. Anderson
Standard & Poor's rating agency recently observed that the net income of our insurance program "soared" in 2010, increasing 287 percent over our 2009 performance. The same week the Order received its S&P evaluation, A.M. Best Company reaffirmed our A++ (Superior) rating, noting our "superior risk-adjusted capitalization" and "consistently positive statutory operating results," making the Knights of Columbus one of only five insurance companies in North America with the top rating from both firms.
A.M. Best also noted the "strong affinity" of our members that results from two aspects of the Order: our "charitable programs and competitive portfolio of life insurance and annuity products."
The strength of our charitable programs was made clear in a very personal way this year at the Ontario State Convention. The "honored guest" at the award session was Mrs. Eve Charette, whose story was summarized in a letter that she recently wrote:
"I told you I always remember when the Knights of Columbus helped my dear first husband, John. He was stricken with cancer at the age of 36, in September of 1956.
"There wasn't a lot known about cancer then; they did 13 operations to try to save him. There was a constant need for blood transfusions. It was up to the family to request people to donate blood for John. His own family gave as much as they could. In those days there were no blood banks. Friends also helped, but it was the Knights of Columbus that really came to our aid.
"John was a member early. … I remember the day they phoned to say that they would like to talk to me. They told me I would not have to ask for blood anymore, as the Knights would take turns donating after each operation and whenever it was needed.
"You can imagine how that gave us hope. John was so grateful. He had a great admiration for his fellow Knights. He was very worried about our family; we had five children from six months to nine years old. The Knights were already helping us with food. Also gifts at Christmas time, etc., which was greatly appreciated.
"Along with parishioners, they took turns driving me to Toronto General and later to Sunnybrook Hospital. It was there that John died….
"I have always spoken highly of the Knights of Columbus. I know I was not the only one they assisted. God Bless them. It's good to know there will always be someone receiving their kind support. Thanks to all the members of the Knights of Columbus, and I hope you will get many more men interested in joining the Knights. My prayers are with you. Thanks from a grateful wife and mother."
Not infrequently when we review the "soaring" accomplishments and growth of the Knights of Columbus, the question arises, "Could Father McGivney have imagined such growth from the modest beginnings of the Knights of Columbus in the basement of St. Mary's Church?"
I think it is safe to say that it would have never occurred to our founder that today his Order would provide more than $80 billion of insurance protection for the financial future of hundreds of thousands of Catholic families, and that it would do so with unsurpassed financial strength.
But Father McGivney did know the power of our principles of charity, unity and fraternity when strengthened by our Catholic faith and sacraments. And he would have expected that no matter how many brother Knights there were in this century or the next, there would always be "grateful" wives and mothers praying for the growth of the Order — that is, praying that there would always be brother Knights ready to offer "their kind support" to families in the hour of need.
As we begin this new fraternal year, we can be justly proud of the charitable and insurance accomplishments of the Order. We have indeed answered many prayers, but we also have to recognize that there are many more prayers still awaiting our response.