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Something More


by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

Knights of Columbus insurance agents play a central role in the Order’s growth and charitable work

Carl A. Anderson

I RECENTLY gave a presentation to our general agents regarding the Order’s insurance program and our principles of charity, unity and fraternity. I’d like to share excerpts of those remarks with you here.

Charity, unity and fraternity have guided us so far on our journey, and they will carry us successfully into the future. I will say again what I have said every year at this meeting. Thank you for giving us our best sales year ever — this year about $8.8 billion in new sales.

As Patrick Henry once remarked, “I know no way of judging the future but by the past.” And what has our past shown?

Since the year 2000, our insurance in force has grown from $40 billion to nearly $110 billion. Our assets have increased from $8.5 billion to nearly $25 billion. During these years we have paid out more than $5.3 billion in dividends and more than $4.3 billion in death benefits. That’s right — nearly $10 billion in dividends and benefits.

During the same time, our membership has grown every year, from 1.6 million to nearly 2 million members today. And with this greater number has come greater action.

Each year, we have increased the hours and the dollars donated to charity. Since 2000, we have given more than $2.5 billion. We have also volunteered more than 1.1 billion hours, and the value of that service is estimated at more than $23 billion.

So, during the years in which we faced 9/11 and a global war on terrorism, the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and some of the worst natural disasters in history, the Knights of Columbus provided more than $35 billion in value to our members, their families and our neighbors.

Growth is good — and certainly we have seen good growth. Our sales growth has outpaced the industry. Our charitable work is a marvel to other organizations.

This past can be prologue. But success is never guaranteed, nor is it automatic. Our growth will continue — as we continue to offer outstanding products and service and continue our commitment to charity, unity and fraternity.

Our insurance agents are our greatest fraternal advantage. Your technical competence is important. But what puts you in a different category from our competition is your fraternal commitment to your brother Knights. What is decisive is your commitment to charity, unity and fraternity.

You know that our brother Knights are neither an abstraction nor a statistic. They are the men who are with you in the council meetings, who are in the pew next to you on Sunday and who volunteer with you in our charitable projects. They are the men who listen to your advice because they trust you. We have the responsibility to do the best we can to live up to that trust.

Pope Francis has asked Catholics to “live in fraternity” and to show “a fraternal love” toward our neighbors. Of course, it is a high standard.

I am proud of what you have accomplished and of what you have enabled others to accomplish.

Last December, I received an email from Iraq wishing me a Happy New Year from a medical clinic in Erbil that we financially support.

Because of our support, they have treated more than 50,000 patients and performed over 32,000 laboratory tests. They’ve provided more than 800 mental health consultations many with women escaping sexual slavery and with children traumatized by the murder of their parents. In December, we also provided a Christmas food supplement for 12,000 families there.

These are only a small percentage of the lives that we have changed.

When Christopher Columbus set sail on his voyage of discovery, he flew the banner of Castile. On that banner, Queen Isabella had written, “Ne plus ultra,” meaning “nothing more beyond” — because at that time, there was no territory known to exist west of her kingdom. When Columbus returned, the queen had the word “ne” removed from her flag, for now they knew there was something more beyond.

There will always be a “more beyond” for us — more records to set, more neighbors to help, more families to serve.

Vivat Jesus!