CNEWA

90 Years, 90 Heroes: Eileen Fay

For 55 years, one of the most familiar faces and voices at CNEWA has belonged to a diminutive New Yorker by the name of Eileen Fay.

Eileen joined CNEWA in 1961, when she was still attending St. Anthony’s High School in Greenwich Village. She spent a few hours every week after school — filing, typing and answering the phone. Soon, she became a full time employee, and what started as something to do after school grew into a full-fledged career in our New York office — a career that has spanned, incredibly, six popes.

Today, over half a century later, she is still a fixture in the office, working part time as a Donor Relations Representative — serving others as the friendly voice on the other end of the phone, helping to answer questions, provide information and facilitate giving.

Ask her what she has found so satisfying, and her eyes brim with tears.

“It’s the people here that I met,” she says. “It’s the donors who would call and I’d become friendly with. It’s the work that we were doing to help those in distress.”

But the most rewarding part of the job, to her, has been helping people in need.

“The need is so great.” she explains. “It’s just overwhelming, the help that is going overseas. It’s amazing — especially for the children who are suffering over there.”

“This place is in my heart,” she adds. “I enjoy doing what I’m doing. I feel so strongly about Catholic Near East, about the people who work here, the jobs that they do. It gives me a good feeling at the end of the day to feel like I did a good job with our donors. It’s heartwarming, just knowing that you are in touch, talking to another person who’s donating to CNEWA.”

She’s seen a lot of changes over the years. “It was a different world,” she says. “When I first started, it was typewriters and boxes and boxes of work lined up to be done. No computers. You had to make sure everything lined up on the page when you typed.” She laughs. “And it didn’t always line up.”

But what has lined up is her life with the life of CNEWA. And, it seems, it’s been welcome and rewarding intersection. She has now been with the association for more than half of its 90 years — and has no plans to leave any time soon.

“To me, CNEWA means my home. It’s like my second home. I enjoy the work I’m doing, the people I work with, and I just enjoy coming into this building every day.”

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