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Barbara and Ed Durkin to receive Merici Award

Posted January 10, 2022 in Articles
Author: Sister Susan Bremer


Faith and family were ever the guiding forces in the life of Barbara and Ed Durkin and their children Mary Beth, Kevin, Susan and Patricia. But it’s clear that philanthropy followed closely behind. Throughout 49 years of marriage, the couple demonstrated a strong belief in sharing the good fortune of their lives and, in the years since her husband’s death, Barbara has maintained that same generosity of spirit.

Owing to that philosophy and the couple’s unwavering generosity to the Ursuline Sisters and their ministries, the Ursulines have named Barbara and Ed Durkin the 2022 Merici Award winners. The award will be presented at Ursuline Derby Day, Saturday, May 7.*

Whether their alma maters, daughter Sister Susan’s various ministries, or other worthy causes, the Durkins have been consistently generous supporters, demonstrating particular passion for education and religious vocations. “Religious organizations and schools have been a priority in our giving,” Barbara notes, “because of the spiritual and educational foundation we and our children received from those institutions and the wonderful vowed women and men who served in them.”

Subscribing to a “time, talent and treasure” approach to philanthropy, Barbara and Ed endeavored to enhance their financial support with hands-on involvement in their charities of choice.

Ed gave of his time and expertise serving as co-chair of the capital campaign for the construction of the former St. Angela Center, a project he and Barbara also supported financially. Sister Rose Elizabeth Terrell, development director at the time, recalls his contributions: “Ed Durkin was a great guy! Everyone liked him … [When he] took on the responsibility of the campaign …  he brought his friends and colleagues to the table to secure many gifts for its success.” Ed was also the driving force behind the purchase of a 14-passenger bus for the sisters, seeking to support their ability to remain active and mobile.

Barbara, too, assisted Sister Rose Elizabeth in years past, helping with one of the earlier benefits and supporting others. In addition, Barbara was a regular among volunteers at the West Side Catholic Center and the North Olmsted Food Bank. She also gave her time and energy in assisting daughters Susan and Patricia in readying their classrooms at the start of each school year. “Wherever I ministered,” Sister Susan recalls, “my mom was there, cleaning and sorting, purchasing supplies and treats, helping with pretty much anything I needed. She was a great support!”

Since her husband’s death in 2009, Barbara has advanced the family tradition of support for Ursuline education at Beaumont School and, most especially, for the congregation itself, with funding of the annual Derby Day event and, most recently, the construction of Merici Crossings, the congregation’s residence and center which opened in February 2019.

Ursuline President Sister Ritamary Welsh, who earlier directed the Merici Crossings capital campaign, knows well the contributions of the Durkins. “Barbara and Ed have been a gift to the Ursulines in so many ways,” she says. “Over and above their generous financial support, they have been trusted friends and advisors. We have been blessed abundantly through them. For all they are and have done, we are pleased to honor them with the Merici Award.”

While recognition has never been an aim of the Durkins’ philanthropy, Barbara is grateful and humbled to accept the Merici Award on behalf of her family. “My husband and I tried to instill in our children the importance of a good work ethic and of each one’s responsibility to help others. We have been proud to see how they have given of themselves and their treasures to causes important to them.”

Sister Susan, former Ursuline President, is grateful to the congregation for honoring her parents for their years of service and support. “I am so proud of them for the love and example they shared with our family and so many others over the years. They always believed they were blessed, but I know how much of a blessing they have been to me and my family.” 

*The safety of our sisters and friends is our top priority. Changes in our event planning may occur as we keep an eye on the status of the pandemic. Please stay updated by visiting our event webpage @ www.ursulinesisters.org/ursuline-derby-day.