Inspiring Women Calendar: October 2023 - Mary's Pence

Mary's Pence

Inspiring Women Calendar: October 2023

Asociación Coordinadora Salvadoreña de Pequeños Productores Organizados

Santa Tecla, El Salvador

Thriving while keeping ancient traditions.

Sandra, Maritza, Francisca, Edith, and Marta are part of a group that makes clothing dyed in indigo, a native plant of El Salvador. They call their business Añil Los Pinos, or Indigo of the Pines. In addition to making, dyeing, and selling beautiful clothing, three of the women also run a pizzeria, selling natural juices and a variety of fast food. Their shop and restaurant are situated on the shores of Lake Coatepeque, in Santa Tecla, El Salvador.

Calendar of Women – October 2023

1 | St. Thérèse of Lisieux

(b.1/2/1873 d.9/30/1879)

St. Thérèse of Lisieux is known for her ‘Little Way’ – the faithful following of the Carmelite rule in the spirit of a continuous search for the gift of charity. She died in 1897 at the age of 24 and would probably have remained unknown were it not for her writing The Story of a Soul, which was edited by one of her sisters. The phenomenal success of this work established it as a kind of fifth gospel. Thérèse described her life as “a little way of spiritual childhood.” She lived each day with unshakable confidence in God’s love and the assurance that what matters in life is “not great deeds, but great love.”

2 | Käthe Kollwitz

(b.7/8/1867 d.4/22/1945)

Käthe Kollwitz, was a German artist, who worked with painting, printmaking and sculpture. Her most famous art cycles, including The Weavers and The Peasant War, depict the effects of poverty, hunger, and war on the working class.

3 | Penny Lernoux

(b.1/6/1940 d.10/9/1989)

Penny Lernoux began working in Latin America in 1961, just before the Second Vatican Council. She worked in Rio de Janeiro and Bogotá for the USIA until 1964 and then moved to Caracas to write for Copley News Service. By this time Lernoux had grown aware of the contrast between the wealth of Latin American politicians, businessmen and landlords and the poverty of the people. She adopted a view of Jesus Christ as liberator and related his teaching to struggles against economic and political exploitation. She adopted a radical view of Jesus Christ and tried to relate his teachings to Latin American struggles against economic exploitation and military dictatorship. As she became a freelance writer, Lernoux gravitated toward new Latin American expressions of Catholicism, notably base communities and liberation theology.

4 | Kek Galabru, MD


Dr. Kek Galabru became a doctor in 1968 in France and immediately began working in underprivileged countries such as Brazil, Angola, and Cambodia. Dr. Galabru has supported and stood for human rights in Cambodia for many years. She started the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and worked with the UN to ensure a better government. She and the LICADHO have worked to stop child prostitution and child labor, have helped to improve the conditions in the prisons, and have provided medical care for any and all who need it in Cambodia. They provide food and representation for those serving sentences or the wrongly accused. LICADHO continues to monitor and watch for abuses of human rights.

5 | Mayo Lin


Maya Lin is known as the architect who designed the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial when she was only 21 years old. She ignored controversy and negative feedback regarding her heritage and the aesthetics of her design to create one of America’s most well-known attractions. Since then she has developed other monuments as well.

The memorial has since become an important pilgrimage site for relatives and friends of the American military casualties in Vietnam, and personal tokens and mementos are left at the wall daily in the casualties’ memory. 

6 | Rosalie Muschal-Reinhardt

(b.4/16/1905 d.10/6/2013)

Rosalie Muschal-Reinhardt was a founding board member of Mary’s Pence. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights especially the women’s ordination movement. She was also a national leader of the Sageing Guild in support of elders. Muschal-Reinhardt was always an advocate and supporter of poor and marginalized persons, and above all, her family came first.  

7 | Our Lady of the Rosary

According to a Dominican tradition, the rosary was given to Saint Dominic in an apparition by the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year 1214 in the church of Prouille. This Marian apparition received the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.

 8 | Vilma Martínez


Vilma Socorro Martínez is a lawyer, civil rights activist, and diplomat who formerly served as the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. She was the first woman to hold this position. Martínez and one of her colleagues, Grace Olivarez, became the first women to join the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which was patterned after its counterpart at the NAACP. Soon afterward, in 1973, Martinez was hired as the advocacy organization’s general counsel and president. Thus began a new era in both her life and in the history of MALDEF.

MALDEF was founded in San Antonio in 1968 in response to years of discrimination and civil rights violations against Mexican Americans. When Martinez came aboard, the fledgling group’s mission was fairly clear, but its financial stability was in doubt. In fact, she and other MALDEF staff members wondered if it could stay solvent from month to month since there was no regular source of funding. Thus, one of Martinez’s most significant accomplishments as head of MALDEF was developing an operating framework that enabled it to grow and support a broader array of activities.

9 | Sr. Mary Joseph Rogers

(b.10/27/1882 d.10/9/1955)

Mother Mary Joseph Rogers was the founder of the Maryknoll Sisters, the first congregation of Catholic women to organize a global mission in the United States.

10 | Aparna Basnyat

Aparna Basnyat was born in Nepal but traveled throughout the world and the United States with her family, because of her father’s work with the United Nations. While attending Tufts University, she spent her summers in Nepal interviewing women and girls who had been sold as sexual slaves. After returning to the United States, she presented her research frequently and helped to bring about international focus to the issue of forced prostitution and how a newly developing nation can protect its vulnerable citizens.  

11 | Eleanor Roosevelt

(b.10/11/1884 d.11/7/1962)

Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, having held the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office, and served as United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 to 1952. President Harry S. Truman later called her the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.

12 | Anne Petry

(b.10/12/1908 d.4/28/1997)

Ann Petry was an American novelist who became the first black woman writer with book sales topping a million copies for her novel The Street

13 | Mary Williams


Mary Luana Williams is an American social activist and writer who penned The Lost Daughter: A Memoir about her life. The memoir details being adopted by Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden in her adolescence, as well as growing up as a daughter of Black Panthers before Fonda adopted her. Mary works with Sudanese refugees through the organization she founded, the Lost Boys Foundation.

14 | Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

(b.11/12/1651 d. 4/17/1695)

Sor Juana lived during Mexico’s colonial period, making her a contributor both to early Mexican literature as well as to the broader literature of the Spanish Golden Age. Beginning her studies at a young age, Sor Juana was fluent in Latin and Nahuat and became known for her philosophy. After joining a convent in 1667, Sor Juana began writing poetry and prose dealing with such topics as love, feminism, and religion. Her criticism of misogyny and the hypocrisy of men led to her condemnation by the Bishop of Puebla, and in 1694 she was forced to sell her collection of books and focus on charity towards the poor. She died the next year, having caught the plague while treating her fellow nuns.

15 | Teresa of Ávila

(b.3/2/1515 d.4/10/1582)

Saint Teresa of Ávila was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun and author during the Counter-Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer in the Carmelite Order of her time, and the movement she initiated, later joined by Saint John of the Cross, eventually led to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites, though neither she nor Saint John were alive when the two orders separated.

16 | Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins 

(b.1844 d.10/16/1891)

Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins was a Native American Educator, lecturer, tribal leader, and writer. Her writings described the Northern Paiute way of life and how they were impacted by the white settlers. She was involved in both the Paiute War of 1860 and the Bannock War of 1878. First, she attempted the role of peacemaker after she lost several family members during the war. Later the US Army used her skills as an interpreter and scout. After leading a group of Paiutes, including her father, to safety during the Bannock War, she was awarded tribal honors for bravery. In 1879 and the early 1880s, Sarah toured San Francisco and the East Coast, giving lectures that protested the official government policy toward Native Americans. She was promised that the land would be returned to her tribe but the promises were never fulfilled. Hopkins later returned to Nevada to found a Paiute school, but her attempts were cut short by a lack of finances and ill health.  

17 | Mae C. Jamison


Mae Carol Jemison is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first Black woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. Prior to joining NASA, Ms. Jemison worked as a physician in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Ms. Jemison is the author of Find Where the Wind Goes (2001), a memoir of her life written for children. 

18 | Violeta Barrios de Chamorro


Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro is a Nicaraguan politician, former president, and publisher, known for ending the Contra War, the final chapter of the Nicaraguan Revolution, and bringing peace to the country. She was the first and, to date, the only woman to hold the position of president in Nicaragua. 

19 | Ellen Malcolm


Ellen Malcolm founded EMILY’S List, which stands for Early Money is Like Yeast (it makes the dough rise), a grassroots organization that gives financial support to Democratic women candidates, helping them to create strong campaigns. EMILY’S List has become the means behind many minority women being elected into state and national offices.  Malcolm was the press secretary for the National Women’s Political Caucus and then joined the Carter White House staff. She was active in public service in Washington, DC for thirty years. She has been named one of the most influential women in America and one of America’s most important women.

20 | Mary Joel Kolmer, Shirley Kolmer, Kathleen McGuire, Agnes Mueller, Barbara Ann Muttra, Adorers of the Blood of Christ

In October 1992, five of our missionary sisters in Liberia were killed by soldiers in the army of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor during a civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead. Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra and Mary Joel Kolmer were killed on October 20 as they drove the convent’s security guard home to a neighboring suburb. They never returned. Three days later, soldiers shot and killed Sisters Kathleen McGuire, Agnes Mueller, and Shirley Kolmer in front of their convent in Gardnersville. We remember them as fellow sisters radically committed to their ministry. Their lives and martyrdom have left an indelible mark on us. Note: in 2017, the Adorers of the Precious Blood became active in protesting the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Lancaster County. Their statement:

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, an order of Catholic sisters with regional offices in St. Louis, remain opposed to construction of a natural gas pipeline underneath a strip of land they own in West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, Penn. Despite the Adorers’ refusal to cooperate with this endeavor, Transco has gotten approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granting them the right to construct, maintain and operate a pipeline on this land for the Atlantic Sunrise Project. The Adorers have a Land Ethic, approved by their congregation in October 2005, that:

  • Honors the sacredness of creation
  • Reverences Earth as a sanctuary where all life is protected
  • Treasures land as a gift of beauty and sustenance and legacy for future generations.

The Adorers received a request from the grassroots coalition, Lancaster against Pipelines, to install and use, and to invite other people of faith to use, a portable prayer “chapel” on their land. The hope is that the structure can draw people to prayer and reflection about just and holy uses of land. While the Adorers understand that the federal court order of eminent domain, once it goes into effect, can allow Transco to call for the removal of the “chapel” from the easement, they believe that having this structure on their land, for however long, gives tangible witness to the sacredness of Earth.

21 | St. Ursula 


St. Ursula and her companions are the subject of many legends. Most portray her as a young British princess who, with 11,000 companions, sailed up the Rhine River to make a pilgrimage to Rome. They left their ships near Cologne and when they returned from Rome, they were martyred by the Huns, who had captured the city. The story was popular in the Middle Ages and St. Ursula came to be seen as a leader of all women and a rousing teacher. When St. Angela Merici founded the first order of religious women dedicated to teaching children, she named the new community the Ursulines after St. Ursula.

22 | Barbara C. Harris


Barbara Clementine Harris is a retired bishop of the Episcopal Church. She was the first woman ordained a bishop in the Anglican Communion. Harris has long been active in civil rights issues, participating in freedom rides and marches in the 1960s, including the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. She spent summer vacations registering Black voters in Greenville, Mississippi. She dismissed the risks she took, saying only, “Everyone was in danger.”[2]

Throughout her various careers, Harris has been noted for her liberal views and her outspokenness. As early as 1989 she was reported as arguing for gay rights and lambasting the Episcopal Church for racism and sexism.[2]

 23 | Shahla Sherkat


Shahla Sherkat is a journalist, prominent Persian feminist author, and one of the pioneers of Women’s rights movement in Iran. Shahla Sherkat is founder and publisher of Zanan magazine (zanan means “women”), which focuses on the concerns of Iranian women and continually tests the political waters with its edgy coverage of everything from reform politics to domestic abuse to sex. Zanan has been the most important Iranian women’s journal after Iranian revolution.

Sherkat has had to appear in court on several occasions when Zanan’s content was considered to be pushing boundaries too far. In 2001 she was sentenced to four months in prison for attending a conference in Berlin at which the future of politics in Iran was discussed following the success of reformist candidates in a parliamentary election.

Sherkat was born in Isfahan, Iran. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tehran University and a certificate in journalism from Keyhan Institute, also in Tehran. Since 2002, she has been working towards her master’s degree in women’s studies from Allameh Tabatabai University.

24 | Rebecca Rouse

Rebecca Rouse directs IPA’s Financial Inclusion Program, overseeing a portfolio of research initiatives and randomized evaluations to find effective solutions to help the poor manage and grow their money. Before joining IPA, she was Coordinator of the Regional Facility on Remittances and Savings of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. Prior to joining the MIF, Rebecca served as IPA’s United States Household Finance Initiative Program Manager from 2010 to 2013. Rebecca also worked at the Inter-American Dialogue, the International Organization for Migration, FINCA Peru, Banco de Ahorro y Crédito Unión in the Dominican Republic, and as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Philadelphia. Rebecca holds an MPA  (Master of Public Admin) from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a BA in political science from Bryn Mawr College.

25 | Irena Sendler

(b.2/15/1910 d.5/28/2008)

Irena Sendler  was a Polish nurse, humanitarian, and social worker who served in the Polish Underground in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II. She was head of the children’s section of Żegota,the Polish Council to Aid Jews,  which was active from 1942 to 1945. Assisted by some two dozen other Zegota members, Sendler smuggled approximately 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and shelter outside the Ghetto, saving those children from the Holocaust. With the exception of diplomats who issued visas to help Jews fell Nazi-occupied Europe, Sendler saved more Jews than any other individual during the Holocaust.

26 | Juliette Gordon Low (b.10/31/1860 d.1/17/1927)

Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA with help from Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. Low and Baden-Powell both shared a love of travel and support of the Girl Guides. In 1912 Low established the first U.S. Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia In 1915 the United States’ Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts, and Juliette Gordon Low was the first president. She stayed active until the time of her death.

27 | Carrie Chapman Catt

(b.1/9/1859 d.3/9/1947)

Carrie Chapman Catt was an American women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920.

28 | Elizabeth Cady Stanton

(b.11/12/1850 d.10/26/1902)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement. Stanton was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 until 1900. Unlike many of those involved in the women’s rights movement, Stanton addressed various issues pertaining to women beyond voting rights. Her concerns included women’s parental and custody rights, property rights, employment and income rights, divorce, the economic health of the family, and birth control.

29 | Maxine Hong Kingston


Maxine Hong Kingston is a Chinese American author and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a BA in English in 1962. Kingston has written three novels and several works of non-fiction about the experiences of Chinese-Americans. She has contributed to the feminist movement with such works as her memoir, The Woman Warrior, which discusses gender and ethnicity and how these concepts affect the lives of women. Kingston has received several awards for her contribution to Chinese American Literature including the Nation Book Award for Nonfiction in 1981 for China Men.

 30 | Abigail Adams

(b.11/11/1744 d.10/2/1818)

Abigail Adams was the closest advisor and wife of John Adams, as well as the mother of John Quincy Adams. Adams’ life is one of the most documented of the first ladies: she is remembered for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he stayed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the Continental Congresses. John frequently sought Abigail’s on many matters, and their letters are filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. In one of her more famous letters she implores her husband and his colleagues, all of whom were male, to, “…remember the ladies . . .If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation .”Her letters also serve as eyewitness accounts of the American Revolutionary War home front.

31 | Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi

(b.11/19/1917 d.10/31/1984)

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was an Indian politician and central figure of the Indian National Congress party. She was the first female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

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