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Cardinal Mercier on Applying Wisdom Through Charity

Category 3: Donate gifts

“All knowledge is sterile which does not lead to action and end in charity.”

Désiré-Joseph Mercier (1851-1926)

Cardinal Mercier, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, highlights the importance of applying knowledge to benefit others. True wisdom is hollow if we accumulate knowledge but do not act on it to help needy people.

Born in 1851 in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium, Mercier became a priest in 1874. He went on to teach philosophy at the University of Louvain, where he became renowned for promoting Thomism, the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Mercier emphasized the harmony between faith and reason. He believed logical analysis could lead to theological truth.

In 1906, Mercier was appointed Archbishop of Malines, serving as the leading Catholic prelate in Belgium. The following year, he was elevated to the rank of Cardinal. Known for his keen intellect, eloquence and promotion of scholarship, Mercier described himself as “an intellectual on the throne of St. Rombaut.”

During World War I, Cardinal Mercier resisted the German occupation of Belgium and became a renowned national hero. He rejected German demands to discontinue priestly formation and refused to ring church bells to celebrate German victories. Mercier smuggled out a patriotic pastoral letter encouraging passive resistance. Published in Allied countries, it helped portray the righteousness of the Belgian cause.

After the Armistice, Mercier advocated forgiveness towards Germany despite its wartime atrocities. He pressed the Allies to forgive enemy debts and hoped to see a renewed European culture based on Christian principles. Mercier died in 1926 at 74. He was mourned across Belgium for his courage and moral leadership.

Mercier’s quote about the sterility of unused knowledge inspires us to make our wisdom fruitful through charity. One powerful way to take action is by leaving a gift in our Will to a cause close to our hearts. As Mercier notes, true enlightenment leads us to share what we have with others in need. Estate gifts help fuel vital charitable programs so we can create an enduring legacy of compassion.

Your Legacy

Whether you wish to support medical research, education, religious organizations, the arts, or other worthy causes, a donation from your assets, life insurance, or registered funds can create lasting social change. Your gift can be customized to your finances and charitable priorities. Inspiring options include setting up an endowment fund or naming a building. We can help you structure your estate gift and Will to achieve your philanthropic goals.

Life insurance, in particular, provides an affordable way to make a substantial future donation to charity. The death benefit passes tax-free to your chosen cause. Since premiums are typically low compared to the large payout, life insurance offers an easy way to amplify the size of your gift. You can apply for a new policy or transfer existing coverage you no longer need.

Your charitable estate gift will also qualify for a valuable donation tax receipt. Donations made through your Will or life insurance can reduce your taxes owed by up to 100% of your net income in the year of death. Any excess credits can even be claimed on your previous year’s tax return. Your estate will also bypass capital gains tax on donated investments, real estate or other appreciating assets. This enhances the impact of your gift.

With his quote, Cardinal Mercier calls us to match knowledge with charitable deeds. What cause speaks to your heart? What legacy will you leave through your own enlightened generosity? Now is the ideal time to thoughtfully plan an estate gift that can transform lives for future generations. Reach out today so we can help you design your personal plan for creating a lasting philanthropic impact.

Give the Gift of Education

Education unlocks human potential. Many Canadians want youth to get the schooling they need to thrive. Leaving a gift in your Will for a scholarship, bursary or school program is a powerful way to open doors for students.

You can direct your estate gift towards early learning, primary schools, secondary schools, skills training or post-secondary education. Your donation will help equip young minds for success. Options include funding needs-based bursaries, scholarships for top academics or athletes, advancement of specific subjects, and capital projects.

Giving the gift of education creates a ripple effect that can lift young people, families and communities for generations. We can help you structure your donation based on your vision for maximum impact.

Support Vital Medical Research

Medical research transforms lives by finding new treatments and cures. Many Canadians have been affected by disease either personally or through loved ones. They could contribute more to the race for scientific breakthroughs.

A gift in your Will for medical research is a meaningful way to fund the labs, studies and innovative projects that save lives. Your estate donation could fuel vital into cancers, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS and many more.

Canada has some of the best research hospitals and institutes in the world. We can help you direct your gift towards groundbreaking work in your priority areas. Help bring the brightest scientific minds together to accelerate discovery.

Sustain Important Conservation Work

Protecting the natural environment is crucial for future generations. Many Canadians are concerned about climate change, pollution, loss of green spaces and species diversity. They want to do more to support vital conservation efforts.

You can make a lasting difference through an estate gift to an environmental organization. Your donation helps provide sustainable funding for their essential fieldwork protecting ecosystems, landscapes and biodiversity. This includes developing parks and nature reserves, stewarding sensitive habitats, replanting forests, studying endangered species and beyond.

Canada is home to many excellent environmental charities doing impactful conservation work coast to coast. We can advise you on structuring your gift to support their long-term ecological sustainability programs based on your green passions.

Fund the Arts that Enrich Lives

The arts nourish the mind through inspiration and beauty. You could support the visual arts, music, dance, theatre, literature and other creative disciplines. The arts bring joy and enrich lives every day.

Leaving a gift in your Will to an arts organization or initiative helps sustain our diverse cultural soul. Your estate donation can fund productions, exhibits, programming and capital costs for public galleries, museums, theatres, orchestras and other artistic groups. You could even establish an endowment fund in your name for a lasting legacy.

Let your passion for the arts shine on for generations to come. Whether you love symphonies, operas, ballets, painting, sculpture or other creative media, we are here to help you structure the ideal gift to share the enrichment of arts and culture.

Support Religious and Cultural Organizations

Faith and cultural communities nurture the human spirit. They connect us to what matters most — our beliefs, values and traditions. You can help sustain religious or cultural organizations.

Including a charitable gift in your Will is a meaningful way to give back to your community. Your estate donation will help your chosen group thrive for years through facilities upgrades, programs, outreach and operational funds.

Whether you cherish your local church, synagogue, mosque, temple, centre or chapter, they all rely on generosity. We can help you plan an estate gift tailored to support your faith or cultural home. Share your spiritual heritage and traditions with future generations.

Fund Local Community Services

Vibrant communities care for those in need. Local charities uplift vulnerable groups — people experiencing homelessness, the isolated elderly, at-risk youth, people needing food and more.

You can make an enduring difference right in your community through a gift in your Will. Your estate donation will help sustain the local charities providing vital services. The list includes food banks, shelters, meal programs, health clinics, housing supports, newcomer services, disability programs, and addiction recovery.

Deepen your community roots by giving locally. We are here to help you plan an estate gift customized to your passions, whether your cause is children’s welfare, fighting poverty, supporting seniors or transforming lives through community living programs.

Join the Legacy Movement

More and more Canadians are planning estate gifts to create positive change through their Will. Known as “legacy giving”, this fast-growing movement channels generosity toward lasting impact.

Leaving just 1-5% of your estate to charity can make a real difference without compromising your family’s security. Some are inspired to give 10% or more. You can customize your gift based on your financial situation and priorities. For substantial wealth, legacy giving allows strategic tax planning while fulfilling your values.

By joining the legacy movement, you gain access to unique giving options, such as self-directed family foundations or donor-advised funds. 

Start your legacy journey today. We are here to help you get answers to your questions. Discover how you can transform lives for generations through an estate gift to your cherished causes

Learn how Will Power helps you include a gift to charity in your Will and about the pros and cons of donating life insurance.

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