IHM parishioner says, ‘God is my lead accountant’
By Walt Scaefer
For The Catholic Telegraph
Mike Desmier worked at the behest of others for years. Now he has found a personal niche in life.
As a certified public accountant, Desmier toiled for area construction companies, where owner demands sometimes conflicted with reality. He became disillusioned with the quest for the almighty dollar and prosperity. “I was often asked, ‘Can you do this or that because it is where the money is?’
“Today, I am no longer a company man,” said Desmier, 60. He now works his dream job as an accountant for Our Lady of Grace Consolidated School in Groesbeck and at St. Therese the Little Flower Parish in Mount Airy. He also counts the McDuffey Montessori School in Oxford as a client and operates a small income tax service primarily serving friends and acquaintances.
“There is an excitement in being in business for yourself,” Desmier said. “People came to Saint Paul because he had something to say and I was happy that people paid attention to what I have to say as an independent accountant and they pay to hear it. I found no separation, or disconnect, between Catholicism and accounting,” Desmier said. “Transparency — that need to be right, the need to be absolutely correct, ethical — is a key part of it.
“You see, I was only at peace when I was in full conformity with Catholicism. I could not be at peace at for-profit places. I couldn’t be fully at peace where there was politics involved. I can only be fully at peace when the ethics of the organization run with mine.
“I want people to come to me for the truth. If someone is going bankrupt, I’ll be honest and tell them the bad news. And, it feels liberating,” he said.
Finding his niche took time, said Desmier, a native of India. His family members were French colonialists who left India after the country achieved independence in 1947. His grandparents were first to leave in the 1950s later followed by his parents. Desmier arrived in the United States in 1984.
“My grandparents moved off to England. My family — my mother, my father and my brother and three sisters — now live in Australia. I came here. They went there. It’s a long way for a reunion, but we have them from time to time. We remain a close family and I pray with my parents every Saturday, every single Saturday. Their lives are pretty busy. I studied high school in a Carmelite convent and went to Loyola University in India for my undergrad accounting degree.”
In 1993, Desmier stopped his accounting work in the construction business for an opportunity at Springer School, a non-profit, independent school dedicated to serving the Tri-State’s children with learning disabilities. He stayed more than 15 years.
“I liked it but several things caused me to leave… I felt I had gained knowledge of non-profits and I wanted to pursue that” and he wanted occupational independence.
Desmier has another quest: chaplaincy.
He holds a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from the Athenaeum of Ohio. During his studies, “I was exposed to fieldwork as a chaplain at Mercy Anderson Hospital and it was the best job on earth. So, I want to become a chaplain and I do a little of that now at Anderson Nursing Home,” near his Anderson Township home. He belongs to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.
“I like talking to people. I like comforting them. There are about 25 Catholics at Anderson Nursing Home. The ministry is not fully restricted to Catholics. I give Catholics Communion, but I talk to others and pray with others. I’ve been doing that since 2008. I really love that time. I’m there every other Sunday, twice a month. I don’t think I’ll ever give up accounting fully, but I think there will be shared time,” he said.
Desmier’s hobby also complements his faith.
“The Lord has given us gifts and He has given me the gift of endurance. I run ultra-marathons of 50 miles or more. A marathon is 26.2 miles and the ultra-marathon exceeds that I have run 60 marathons five of 50 miles, one 80 mile. They have taught me patience, discipline and tolerance. God has given me the body and the support. He has taught me not to sweat the little things when you run for 24 hours little things fade away. I’m not an elite runner. I’m a recreational runner, but this is nothing about me. It’s the unusual way that the Lord has taught me certain things — such as discipline, such as tolerance for pain — so that when little things that happen in my day they are well within my threshold.
“God is my lead accountant. I’m accountable to Him; not some guy in the background.”
This Everyday Evangelist feature originally appeared in the May 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.