“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!”
Those are the words of Saint Catherine of Siena – a woman whose feast day is celebrated on April 29th, which is – very intentionally – also the anniversary of the founding of Mary’s Pence.
Last Friday, April 29th, friends, donors, volunteers, board members, staff, and founding members of Mary’s Pence gathered together on Zoom to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mary’s Pence. During the event several guest speakers talked about Saint Catherine as they reflected on how Mary’s Pence has “set the world on fire” since 1987.
Mary’s Pence founder Maureen Gallagher talked about how the organization was born out of a response to her anger with the Catholic Church’s inability to recognize the gifts of women. Frustrated, but unwilling to give up her Catholic faith, Maureen was inspired by a message from God: “Stop complaining and do something.” The concept of Mary’s Pence was that something – a way for people to directly fund women and their work. We are grateful to Maureen and all the founding members of the board for following the call of Saint Catherine and making Mary’s Pence a reality.
In her telling of Saint Catherine of Siena’s life story, former Mary’s Pence Executive Director Karen Flotte shared that Catherine of Siena is a “Compañera of Hope.” Like Maureen and the founding story of Mary’s Pence, in the face of tremendously difficult times, Catherine of Siena responded to the call to do something. “Her life illuminates the power of Mary’s Pence.”
In the closing reflection, former board member Diann Neu invoked the spirit of Saint Catherine of Siena as she called forth blessings and gratitude for Mary’s Pence work to invest in women across the Americas, citing the Mary’s Pence Grants Program in the U.S. and ESPERA Program in Mexico and Central America. “For all of us as we work for justice in the world, we are powerful together…even in our small ways. The ripples keep going; the light keeps brightening. We are powerful together. … May our hearts be filled with loving compassion in the work of justice.”
In addition to Maureen, Karen and Diann, we are grateful to Katie Lacz and Sr. Judy Molosky, CSJ, for sharing your thoughtful words and reflections with all of us during our online gathering.