For her 50th birthday, Amy Glenane wanted to do what she does best: celebrate others.
So over the course of a year and a half, Glenane collected a handful of $50 bills each time she visited the bank. As the big day approached, she took those 50 bills and stuffed them in envelopes asking friends and family across the country to “throw kindness around like confetti.”
All she asked for, in return, was a postcard sharing the act of kindness.
Many matched Glenane’s $50, including Rachel Pluard, who donated to a memorial fund for Officer Han Cho, a 28-year veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department killed in a crash while riding his motorcycle home from work in August.
Another recipient also doubled the original amount and handed it to a mom of four who survived a drive-by shooting and, after several surgeries, has chosen to pursue a career in nursing.
“She hopes to get a scholarship and go to LVN school,” she wrote.
A retired Navy officer in Virginia recently lost her cousin and two weeks later, her brother she was caring for died. Experiencing financial hardship, the single mother had been fundraising to pay the funeral costs.
“When we shared your birthday wish, tears rolled down from her eyes,” wrote Glenane’s goddaughter, whose family added to the original $50.
With most of the postcards returned, Glenane is thrilled with the results—and the opportunity to help others do good in the world.
“Leading up to turning 50, I thought a lot about how I want to be remembered, what I want my life to be about,” said Glenane, who reached her milestone Sept. 7. “It’s important for me to be intentional about who I am and what matters to me.”
Her foray into serving God started at an early age. The New Jersey native spent much of her childhood with her parents and three older siblings volunteering at church.
“My parents were very generous to others,” she said. “They opened our home, helping others in need. My mom taught CCD and was on the parish council while my dad was on the finance committee and helped raise funds to build a proper church building for our parish.”
After graduating college, Glenane moved to Southern California as a Jesuit volunteer to work in a group home, met Peter and put down her roots—raising five children and earning a master’s degree in theology at Loyola Marymount University. For many years, she led a weekly Bible Study, was active in the Mother’s Group and helped launch Vacation Bible School at her home parish, St. Norbert Church in Orange. She has also served in various ministry roles on staff at Sts. Simon and Jude in Huntington Beach, St. John Neumann in Irvine and St. Anne’s in Seal Beach.
These days, Glenane leads spiritual ministries and pilgrimages to Ireland.
“My calling is to give people an opportunity to connect with God,” said Glenane, adding that her hope was to live out that calling while inspiring others. “Service is an outward expression of our faith; by connecting with those in need, we’re connecting with God.”