Refurbishing an Old Tradition by Kaye Ashe, OP - Mary's Pence

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Refurbishing an Old Tradition by Kaye Ashe, OP

Kaye Ashe, OP served as the first Board President for Mary’s Pence.  In 1989 Kaye wrote an article discussing the foundations of Mary’s Pence.  Recently, we re-discovered it in the Mary’s Pence archive at the Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University in Chicago.  We are proud to share her prophetic words once again.

The first three paragraphs can be found below.  Click here to read the entire article as a pdf.

The women who initiated Mary’s Pence feel we are part of a new state in the story of human development and change.  We have a sense of being part of that delicious movement that is giving birth to a new sense of self among women and to a new sense of common bondedness.

This movement has touched every aspect of human activity and has unleashed energy and power in the arts, sciences, religion spirituality, business, media, and communication.  All have felt the transforming touch of women who have dared to question patriarchal assumptions, to reject damaging stereotypes, and to spin out a vision of humankind that bears their stamp and their seal.

Why do the women of Mary’s Pence fell part of this?  because we light up with feminist insights one small are of the old and revered custom of almsgiving – the sharing of gifts with the poor that is known to every culture and every religion.  Ours is not the almsgiving of the comfortable and condescending rich, however, of those who are happy and secure in a rigidly structured society in which they are on top and fell confident that the poor will remain safely in place at the bottom.  Our funds come father from people of every class who want to enable women to attain the education and the means to move out of  financial dependence and insecurity.

Have our times outgrown this simple, direct response to the needs of the poor?  Had we not better look to a reform of our economic systems, to government agencies, or to international organizations for solutions to the distressing, inhuman poverty that persists over the face of the  globe?  Yes, we should.  But while we work for and wait for a systemic solution to the growing gap between the small wealthy elites and the destitute millions in every nation, we can ourselves take action that brings hope and helps empower the victims of political and economic oppression.  The effects of this oppression fall disproportionately on women.  The “feminization of poverty” is the phrase that currently highlights this fact.  Put simply, it means that most of the poor of the world are women and most of the world’s women are poor. (Click here to read the full article as a pdf).

Mary’s Pence:  Refurbishing an Old Tradition by Kaye Ashe, OP; Loyola University Chicago. Women and Leadership Archives. Mary’s Pence Records.Box3. Folder 2.  Women and Leadership Archives may be found here:

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