More than 1,000 years ago, the plight of three girls trapped in poverty caught the attention of a nearby bishop.
The father of the girls could not scrape together enough money for a dowry, so they could marry. Instead, the girls were heading for a lifetime of prostitution. Nicholas of Bari – a bishop from Myra in (what is now) Turkey – couldn’t let that happen.
The story goes that one night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney into the house; a dowry for the oldest daughter. The coins fell into a stocking which had been hung by the fire to dry out.
The following evening, he dropped another bag of gold for the second daughter. And the next night, a final bag for the third daughter. The father was lying in wait this evening – and at last identified the mysterious gift-giver.
From then on, whenever someone received a secret or unexpected present, they knew: Nicholas had paid a visit. Today, the legacy of St Nicholas lives on in the form of Father Christmas – the generous benefactor who drops gifts down our chimney, bringing delight on Christmas morning.
The legacy of St Nicholas lived on through generations. And you can have an impact in the future too, by leaving a gift in your Will to a Catholic cause.