Supporters Like You

Read about supporters who are empowering our mission and serving our vibrant faith community through their generosity.

Mike Mense

As a Development Advisory Board member, Mike Mense, provides his time and expertise to help the Diocese of Salina most effectively serve God and our parish communities. In addition, he is a generous donor to the diocese.

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“As a board member, I have learned a lot about all the financial areas the Diocese either is responsible for or assists with every year. It was a real eye opener for me and my wife. We are convinced the Diocese needs and deserves our support,” Mike noted.

“My wife and I would like to thank you for joining us in your generous support of the Salina Diocese. God Bless!”

Mary Lee Graham

Mary Lee Graham and her deceased husband, John, believed in the power of their faith and the diocese. She explains why … “Our Catholic faith has enriched our family for more than 50 years. We are proud to continually support the annual appeal of the Diocese of Salina.”

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Our Catholic faith has enriched our family for more than 50 years. We are proud to continually support the annual appeal of the Diocese of Salina. Encouraging the continued strength of the Diocese of Salina we have chosen to include both the diocese and our Catholic Parish in our legacy plan.
Mary Lee Graham, Manhattan, KS

Susie Deges

“That girl is going somewhere.” When Father Kevin Weber thinks back to his high school classmate Susie Deges, it is only with the fondest memories. Memories of what might have been, as she was the type of person who seemed to succeed at anything she tried. You can still see pride in her father Leon Deges’ eyes as he talks about Susie’s accomplishments and the future she did not get to see. A future that was cut short the night before her high school graduation due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning that left everyone thinking about what might have been.

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The list is long when talking about the accomplishments of Susie Deges’ eighteen years here on this earth. Susie was senior class president at Wheatland High School in Grainfield, varsity cheerleader, district treasurer of the Future Homemakers of America and degree officer of the local FHA chapter. She was not only active in her school but active in her parish – St. Agnes Catholic Church in Grainfield. Her faith was very important to her. Susie shared her musical talents with her church community. On Sundays she was either the cantor and/or playing the organ or guitar. Her involvement in her faith did not stop there. She was also active in her local CYO serving as president –even chosen as the President of the Salina Diocese CYO.

On the morning of May 15, 1983, the rural communities of Grainfield, Park and Gove were looking ahead to the graduation ceremony to be held later that day for Wheatland High School Class of 1983. The feelings of excitement and anticipation quickly turned into shock and sadness. No social media or cell phones to text from in those days, so phone calls from landlines were used to communicate news– good and bad. Father Kevin recalls when he heard the news about Susie. He was doing chores on the farm before the family was heading to mass and his mother came outside to tell him. It’s the kind of news you just cannot believe you are hearing.

The graduates gathered in the local pizza place to try to process their emotions, grieve together and discuss how they would make it through the day. Roses would be placed in the chair where Susie would have sat amongst her classmates and friends. As class president, Susie was to give a speech during the ceremony. Susie’s sister Sheryl was a junior at Wheatland High School and had been previously chosen as one of the students to help lead the graduates in. Now Sheryl had an even bigger task as she gave her sister’s speech at the ceremony. When asked how she could find the strength and composure to stand in front of the mourning graduates, their families and the community, she stated, “God helps you through these things. Susie was with me.”

A day after Susie was to graduate, a wake service was held at St. Agnes Catholic Church. Bishop Daniel Kucera was in attendance. Her funeral service was held on May 17th with seven priests officiating – Reverends Raymond Karier, William Surmeier, Alvin Werth, Bob Schneider, Bob Reif, John Walsh, and Kerry Ninemire.

Upon news of her passing, memorial contributions from parish CYOs across the diocese poured into the chancery reflecting the reach of her impact and the lives she touched. These contributions formed the Susie Deges Memorial Fund. Over the years the funds have been utilized to obtain youth ministry speakers for the diocese. Recently Leon and Ellen Deges spent some time with Katie Platten, CEO of the Catholic Foundation for Diocese of Salina, and shared memories of Susie and their dreams for the future of this memorial fund.

Starting with the 2023-2024 school year, a $1,000 scholarship will be given from the Susie Deges Memorial Fund to honor Susie’s life and to help other young Catholics to achieve their educational dreams. Said Leon, “I want to help a young faithful Catholic, an active CYO participant, get the opportunity to attend college – an opportunity that Susie never got.” If you know a high school senior in the diocese that is active in their local CYO and would continue Susie’s legacy, they can complete a scholarship application here.

Leon and Ellen Deges have been building up this fund and invite you to join them in growing this fund to help young Catholics in their quest for an education for years to come.

The Catholic Foundation for Diocese of Salina is also accepting contributions to the Susie Deges Memorial Fund for scholarships.

Maybe you or a family member were impacted by Susie’s involvement in her faith or school? Perhaps her story has touched you in a way that you would like to help a young Catholic student get the college education Susie missed?Contributions to the fund are accepted in all amounts and will honor Susie and help carry on her legacy for future young Catholics.

If you would like more information on contributing to the Susie Deges Memorial Fund, or information on the funds available at the Catholic Foundation for Diocese of Salina – please contact Katie Platten at or 785-342-9826.

Share Your Legacy with Us

Please let us know if you’ve already included a gift for Catholic Foundation for Diocese of Salina. Providing us with documentation is the best way to ensure that your gift is used in the way you intend.

We are here to help

Heather Hartman

Heather Hartman

Director of Development

Catholic Foundation for Diocese of Salina

Corrina Hudsonpillar

Corrina Hudsonpillar

Donor Advisor

Catholic Foundation for Diocese of Salina