Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Donations Help Pregnant Women, Honor Saint

After years of donating Pay It Forward Funds to a North Dakota maternity home, some Bell Bank employees are using their funds toward the construction of an international center to honor the Italian saint the maternity home is named for.

“The support from Bell Bank this year and over the years is such a boost to us – not just a financial blessing (which it is!), but we truly feel like our Saint Gianna family also includes a bit of Bell Bank. We are truly grateful, and it is hard to find the words to adequately express how blessed we feel by Bell Bank.” – Mary Pat Jahner, Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home director

Bell Employees

Eileen Teberg, teller supervisor

Bernice Kram, human resources and training specialist

Chris Sinner, teller



Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home and St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family Life

The Need

Since Bell launched the Pay It Forward program 10 years ago, Bernice Kram and Eileen Teberg have given most of their funds to Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home in Warsaw, N.D., which helps women who are pregnant and need a safe place to live. In addition to offering shelter, clothing and help finding a doctor, the home also provides the chance to learn employment and parenting skills. Women are welcome at any time during their pregnancy and may also stay after their child is born.

“There are some mothers who are alone in the world and do not have support and love, who are afraid and don’t know where to turn,” Mary Pat stresses. “They don’t have the support of family who are able to give them the resources to choose life for this little one and to welcome them into the world. Saint Gianna’s walks with these women on that journey. We want them to know they are not alone and that they are loved by God and by others.”

Bell employees’ Pay It Forward contributions have made a big impact in helping the home fulfil its mission by supplying carpeting, beds, furniture, furnaces, water heaters, sinks, bathtubs, new sidewalks and other necessities to repair the home, along with personal items for the expectant mothers and their babies.

The home is named after St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian physician and mother of 4 who was proclaimed a saint in 2004. Gianna had a painful uterine tumor during her pregnancy with her fourth child, but to have it removed, her child would have died. She declined the medical procedure and died of multiple complications of the delivery a few days after giving birth to Gianna Emanuela Molla.

The Impact

Through the St. Gianna Foundation, Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla is working to honor her mother and raise awareness about her and her spirituality by building the St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family Life in the United States.

“St. Gianna and Pietro Molla are a tremendous example of the love of life, the sacredness of all human life, and the dignity and holiness of marriage,” Mary Pat notes. “Their example is especially needed in our culture today.”

After learning about the project, Eileen, Bernice and Chris decided to use their Pay It Forward funds to help.  

“Bell Bank’s Pay It Forward program enabled me to give money to a cause I believe in,” Chris says. “Gianna is a modern-day saint, mother and physician who gave her life to save the life of her baby. The St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center will be instrumental in spreading the news of St. Gianna’s life to a much broader audience.”

“Without the special gift Bell has given us in the Pay It Forward program, I would not have had the opportunity to be a part of so many special projects and help with so many needs,” Eileen remarks. “All of the recipients that I have chosen have held a special place in my heart.”

Eileen and Bernice also served on the steering committee for the La Bella Serata gala in Fargo to raise money for the center. Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American Vatican official, and John Folda, bishop of the Fargo diocese, hosted the gala, where Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla was a featured speaker.

“I am extremely grateful to have funds to give to a cause that I am so passionate about,” Bernice comments. “The Pay It Forward program has given me the means to support in a greater way than I could ever have imagined.” 

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