Giving Tuesday Helps Mark the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. And now Giving Tuesday.

Giving TuesdayThese days have become markers of the holiday season – they draw us into this time of food and family, and for some…shopping. #GivingTuesday, which began in 2012, reminds us that giving is also an integral part of the holiday season.

#GivingTuesday was created as a worldwide effort to have a day to celebrate giving back, and as a way to encourage more folks to give generously. At Mary’s Pence, we rely on the generosity of our donors, like you, to fund women’s organizations working for justice and peace. And this year at Mary’s Pence we are inviting you to celebrate this kickoff to the holiday season with a special gift  to help us reach our matching goal of $2,000!

The first $2000 donated on Tuesday, December 2 will be generously matched! Your doubled gift, means double the impact across the Americas:

Giving for healthy communities

Did you know that on the East Coast of Nicaragua, there is only one doctor for every 3,000 persons? Mary’s Pence grantee Adelante Mujer grants University scholarships to young women who aspire to become medical doctors in Kamla, Nicaragua. Adelante Mujer helps students secure their right to an education and meaningful work and strengthens communities by increasing the availability of health care.

Giving for safety

Did you know that Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or Partner for Women's Equalitysexually assaulted than other US women? Partners for Women’s Equality, a grantee based in Minnesota, was funded by Mary’s Pence to connect Native American women to indigenous women in Guatemala, who also suffer from high rates of abuse, in order to create a curriculum for training sexual assault/domestic violence advocates based on shared indigenous wisdom.

Giving for education

Did you know that women account for nearly two-thirds of the 780 million people worldwide who cannot read? Haitian Connection, a partner of the ESPERA program, is strengthening the literacy education of one Haitian community.

Giving for change

We hope you will join us on Giving Tuesday with a special holiday gift. On December 2 the first $2000 donated will be doubled through our matching donation and will help to support inspiring programs like Adelante Mujer, Partners for Women’s Equality, and Haitian Connection!

Together, we create a better world for women everywhere. By funding women, we fund change.

Giving Tuesday

 

 

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Remembering Those Silenced by SOA Violence

“We who have a voice must speak for the voiceless.” – Archbishop Óscar Romero

SOA WatchLast Sunday, November 16th, marked the 25th anniversary of the University of Central America Massacre— in which six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter were murdered by gunmen trained by the School of the Americas (SOA). The SOA is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers located in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and is responsible for numerous human rights abuses. Every year, to commemorate those martyrs and to speak out against these acts of violence, a protest and vigil is held. The vigil honors the people who have suffered or died as a result of the SOA institution and seeks to fight back against its corruption, violence, and impunity.

I went to my first nonviolent protest when I was nine years old. It was shortly after September 11th and the country, still mourning from this tragedy, was already contemplating going to war in Afghanistan.  My nine-year-old brain could understand the logic of why my parents opposed this war—why answer death and destruction with more death and destruction? But what I couldn’t quite grasp was how standing outside on a cold morning would do anything. It wasn’t like the president would be there. How would my little voice ever make a difference? Couldn’t I just sleep in instead?

Two weeks ago, I had many friends who didn’t vote for much the same reason. Call it apathy or call it laziness, the result is the same—you have a voice, and you aren’t using it.

But while we’d like to think that any government that claims to be democratic should have a vested interest in hearing what the people have to say, that isn’t always the case. Historically, voting rights are among the civil rights denied to certain groups. If we counted on voting alone to make progress, there would be no civil rights movement, no suffragette movement, and the only voices we’d hear today would be the white, male property owners that were originally granted the vote. When I was only nine years old and opposed the war, I couldn’t vote but I could still speak out.

Raising your voice can take many forms, including and going beyond voting or protesting. Some people speak out through art, like Picasso’s Guernica, or through poetry or music. Picasso GuernicaSome people write essays or books, or make films. Some people graffiti. Some people don’t pay their taxes, while still others march in the streets. There are so many non-violent, non-destructive ways to raise your voice and actively fight for justice or peace.

This week the Mary’s Pence team will be present with the tens of thousands of people standing in solidarity with those affected by the SOA, on the grounds of Fort Benning for the 25th School of the Americas Protest and Vigil. We value the opportunity for people to speak out against violence. Look for our table, or come to our workshop to hear about the work we do. We hope to see some of you there, and we hope even more of you will find other ways to speak out against injustice and fight for change.

ÓscarI started this post with a quote from Archbishop Óscar Romero, another martyr of the Salvadoran Civil War. “We who have a voice must speak for the voiceless.” The SOA Watch website states, “We will honor the martyrs from years past, but our hearts will also be heavy due to the continued ravages of U.S.-led militarization in the Americas.” This is why we must unite in solidarity and always keep fighting—in memory of those who are gone and in defense of those who are still silenced today. What will you do to raise your voice?

Dana Coppock-Peector

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Time to MAXimize your Giving!

GiveMNThis Thursday, November 13th, is GiveMN’s annual Give to the Max Day! Your donation can mean so much to the women we partner with at Mary’s Pence on this special day, and here’s why!

What is Give to the Max Day?

Give to the Max Day is sometimes called “the great Minnesota give together.” It is a day when generous givers from all across the state unite to raise millions of dollars for Minnesota based nonprofits working to make the world a better place. Last year, Give to the Max Day raised $17 million for Minnesota organizations in just 24 hours! Explore GiveMN.org today.

Why is Give to the Max Day important to Mary’s Pence?

At Mary’s Pence, we rely on the generosity of our donors to fund women’s organizations working for justice and peace. 88% of our income is provided by individual donors like you. By increasing your gift you can increase your impact, because on Give to the Max Day, your gift will go directly to the Mary’s Pence ESPERA Program and Mary’s Pence Grants – continuing to provide resources women can come back to again and again.

$2000 in matching grants for Give to the Max Day!

By giving to Mary’s Pence on Give to the Max day, your gift can have twice the impact, as it will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $2,000) by three generous donors who want to encourage you to support women creating justice and equality. Click here to help us reach our matching goal!

Leaderboard Prizes and Golden Tickets!

Every hour, GiveMN will select one donation to a nonprofit to receive an additional $1,000 prize grant. Your donation of any size could be increased by $1,000! There are also two special “Super-sized Golden Tickets,” of $10,000 prize grants, to be added to randomly selected donations made during the 24-hour event.

In addition, the 10 nonprofits that raise the most money during Give to the Max Day recieve an additional prize grant. Help us get on the leaderboard!

1st place: $10,000
2nd place: $7,500
3rd place: $5,000
4th place: $2,500
5th place: $1,000
6th through 10th place: $500 each

How Can I Give?

Giving on Give to the Max Day is both meaningful and convenient. Using  the online giving website GiveMN.org, you can donate to Mary’s Pence any time from any place. Furthermore, you don’t have to wait till this Thursday, schedule your gift now!

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Kelsey

Get to know our volunteers!

This continues our blog series focusing on our wonderful Mary’s Pence volunteers.  As an organization, we are so grateful for all the invaluable work they do for us. To learn about our  volunteer opportunities or other ways you can get involved with Mary’s Pence, visit Action for Mary’s Pence on our webpage. And check back on the first Tuesday of next month, we will spotlight a different volunteer!

 

Kelsey Tape Kelsey

What work do you do for Mary’s Pence? 

Everything from Facebook posts to writing and editing eNewsletters to data entry to the 2014 Calendar of Women to assisting with mailings. Since I started volunteering with Mary’s Pence in June 2012, I’ve had the opportunity to work on various projects and tasks that have been incredibly valuable experiences.

How long have you volunteered with Mary’s Pence?

I started volunteering with Mary’s Pence in June of 2012, so I’ve been here consistently for two years.

What draws you to the work of Mary’s Pence?  Why do you volunteer with Mary’s Pence? what meaning does it have for you?

Mary’s Pence creates opportunities. After graduating from college, I was jobless.           And, Mary’s Pence awarded me the opportunity to continue learning and growing my skills, which was very beneficial to me in a staggering job market. I quickly learned Mary’s Pence was awarding opportunities to women all over the Americas. These women face economic and social injustices that are far greater than anything I have ever faced. And over the past few years, I’ve come to know the stories of these women. Despite their circumstances and injustices, these women persevere. Mary’s Pence is truly creating a network of women supporting women. I’m proud to call Mary’s Pence one of my support networks. Mary’s Pence empowers me to create change through collaboration at all levels. Everyone deserves a voice at the table.

What gifts do you bring to the work of Mary’s Pence?

A willingness to learn. An ability to collaborate on projects and brainstorm ideas. The gift of support. I am always willing to offer a helping hand to accomplish any project or task that must be met. And as we all know, there’s not enough time in the day, and that allows me to support Katherine and Anna and accomplish various tasks are on their lists that they may not get to each day.

What else are you up to in your life? What do you do for fun?

Staying active is one of my favorite things to do. Zumba, running, yoga, tennis, barre classes–you name it, and I’ll try anything once. But, just as much as I love working out, I love eating and trying new restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul, with some of my absolute favorites being Punch Pizza and Brasa Rotisserie.

 

We have many more volunteers who help with translation, data entry, writing, mailings, and so much more. Our work is possible because of your contribution of time and talents. Thank you!

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Solidarity at the Heart of Relationships – Bridgette Kelly

During the Mary’s Pence board meeting last weekend, one often discussed concept was that of solidarity. What does solidarity mean to us, to our everyday lives and relationships with those around us? In this blog post, Mary’s Pence board co-president Bridgette Kelly discusses what solidarity means to her.

 -Dana Coppock-Pector

Solidarity at the Heart of Relationships

by Bridgette Kellybridgette for website 2

In early October, Anna Zaros, the Mary’s Pence Development Liaison, gathered with a group of St Joseph Workers to facilitate a conversation about Solidarity. Solidarity is a big concept and has many manifestations in the world. Anna was there to facilitate a rich discussion and bring in some of the grounding work of Mary’s Pence. People shared their stories and thoughts about what Solidarity means, about what it looks and feels like. The meaning changes for each individual depending on your context, your relationships and your personal experience.

 

Board co-Presidents Bridgette Kelly (right) and Judy Molosky (left) at a gathering of Mary's Pence supporters.

Board co-Presidents Bridgette Kelly (right) and Judy Molosky (left) address a gathering of Mary’s Pence supporters.

Being involved with the Mary’s Pence board, this was not the first time I have been in a group of women and engaged in a deep conversation about the meaning and reality of Solidarity. At the last board meeting, board members shared the real importance of solidarity among the women of Mary’s Pence, and the day to day relational quality of solidarity.

 

I personally recalled the Solidarność of my elementary school days. That was the first time that I heard the word solidarity. It had a whole meaning unto itself in the early 80’s in Poland, but it is still relevant to the idea of unity: standing together in order to advance the common good, or in order to bring about real change.  I sometimes struggle with what it means to be in solidarity with those I am not in direct relationship with, but it is our mutual commitment to creating and maintaining a relationship that ultimately defines solidarity.

 

 

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Healing Central America Starts With Women by Ana Grande

Starting tomorrow, inspiring women will be pouring into Saint Paul from around North America for the Mary’s Pence biannual board meeting. As a newcomer to Mary’s Pence, most of the board are new to me, but I feel as if I know Ana Grande by reading her blog post “Healing Central America Starts With Women” featured in the Huffington Post last September. It tells about her recent trip to El Salvador with a partner organization to Mary’s Pence. Read on so that, like me, you can get to know this incredible woman of our board and the meaningful work she does!

-Dana Coppock-Pector

Healing Central America Starts With Women

By Ana Grande

Ana GrandeThroughout the summer months some media outlets focused on the high number of children crossing the border from Central America. There were many back and forth of what to do with the high number of children seeking asylum. While both sides argued what should happen to the children and Washington scurried to find a solution, none asked where the healing should begin.

Yes, the violence in Central America has escalated to levels usually seen during a civil strife. As in many cases, gang violence has a solution — but are we willing to invest in these? Educational and economic opportunities that allow children and youth to dream of a better tomorrow are integral to achieving peace. This is not to say that these are the only two solutions, but definitely part of a holistic approach to end the violence and begin the healing. Where do we start? Who do we start with?

In mid-August, a delegation of 16, myself included, ventured to El Salvador to work on a few projects, teach the children (ages 10) within the delegation that we are part of a global society, and as an organizer — to hear the stories of these afflicted communities. Our seven-day journey was more than we ever bargained and learned that the key to healing must start with women.

We found our projects with women-led co-ops through our partner organizations Mary’s Pence and SALEF. Our goal was to assess what they needed before our arrival, fundraise for these projects, and give the gift of self-sufficiency. We were not going to impose our own privilege as our desire was to replenish their wells so they could drink from them, a term and concept coined by the fathers of Liberation Theology.

Confecciones La ColoradaThe first Co-op, Confecciones La Colorada was made up of women who in order to survive their husband’s $3/day wages, decided to form a small business that could help their children succeed in life. Their co-op has raised funds to send over 10 kids to high school and a handful to college.

At La Colorada, we established a four-laptop & colored printer computer lab on their request. This would permit that their children don’t have to spend $5 to travel to the mainland and do their homework. In addition, it would become a small cyber-cafe for the locals, generating another source of income for the co-op. We ended that day by painting the co-op, breaking bread, and rejoicing in their stories of perseverance.

Our second co-op, Centro de Desarrollo Infantil, in La Libertad was heart-wrenching and heartwarming all at the same time. This is a community that didn’t give up on their children and strives to ensure quality education and better living conditions. This childcare center feeds the kids two meals a day and lets them dream of a better tomorrow. Their chalkboards barely have any trace of green on them and their playground is a semi-broken metal swing set. Prior to our arrival they requested funding to build a shelter over the playground, allowing the children to play even during the rainy season. We met the children, heard from their mothers and realized that women and members of the community want to find solutions to end violence and keep families together.

Delegation w First Lady Margarita

Yes, we met with the Vice Minister of External Affairs, Liduvina Magarin, and also with the First Lady of El Salvador, Margarita Villalta de Sanchez, and those meetings were the icing on the cake. Each, in their own way, echoed the sentiment of reconstructing communities through the emerging co-ops of the country and through the many infrastructural changes they are making to improve economic opportunities, good living wage jobs, and keep their country safe.

The women at each co-op told us of the many obstacles they have overcome, but more so the brighter future they are working toward. We walked away feeling welcomed into the lives of many and embraced by their humbleness in seeking the greater good. As partners in the journey of life, we were but a stepping stone in their progress and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Between Privilege and Knowledge

I’ve always had trouble with spelling. Considering how much I read as a child, this never really made sense to me. I can only hope to blame it on the prevalence of spell-check in my young adult paper-writing years. Both small typos and the blatant butchering of uncomplicated words could easily be remedied by the technology I had access to in my home.

Once, in elementary school, long before I was typing school papers, I have an incredibly strong memory of getting frustrated by my inability to spell “indigenous,” and going up to my teacher to ask why we were getting Monday off for “Indigenous Peoples Day” when the kitten calendar in my room said “Columbus Day.” I knew exactly who Columbus was, and that in 1492 he sailed the ocean-blue. His was an easy name to spell, and I had no idea what an “Indigenous Peoples” even was.

When my teacher sat me down and told me about the Trail of Tears, I don’t think she was trying to scare me, but to appeal to the shock value of this tragic part of our nation’s history. Whatever it was, it worked, and while I still couldn’t spell “indigenous” I was sure to never call it Columbus Day again.

This is my first tangible memory of that rock in the bottom of my stomach that I would like to call empathy but more accurately felt like guilt. It didn’t matter that as a descendent of immigrants and Quakers, my ancestors were not directly responsible for this particular historical tragedy. Other people, just because of who they were, had suffered in a way I never would. It was an uncomfortable feeling, but one that would trouble me for years to come.

Flash forward about 15 years—yesterday was Indigenous Peoples/Columbus Day. For me, once again, it meant that I could sleep in late. For thousands of others I can only imagine it feels like a national holiday celebrating the slaughter of their ancestors, the loss of their homelands, and the long history of systemic, pervasive persecution against their people. And as I lay in my bed, I thought about this discrepancy: my own privilege, and the historical inequalities that enable me to benefit from it.

Recently, one of my closest friends reminded me to “check my priviledge.” And yes, she spelled privilege with a “d” like “knowledge.” This error is not uncommon among us of the spell-check-generation, but always struck me as an ironic combination of these two concepts that are inextricably connected: the knowledge of one’s privilege, and the privilege of knowledge.

The path of forced emigration along the Trail of Tears that relocated thousands of Cherokees to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

The path of forced emigration along the Trail of Tears that relocated thousands of Cherokees
across the Mississippi to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

 

 

My academic advisor’s favorite quote regarding empathy was: “If you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you’ll be a mile away from them, and you’ll have their shoes.” Well, what if I am standing still, while tens of thousands of Native Americans are driven off their land in the southeastern states and forced to move across the Mississippi to “Indian territory”? What if the federal government promised that their new land would remain unmolested forever, but then keeps cutting away at it, piece by piece, until there is nothing left? What if it’s even bigger than all that? What if it’s all of the Americas, North and South? When I did a report on Hérnan Cortéz in 4th grade, I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach again, the same one I got when I studied the colonization of Africa in middle school. From my position of privilege, it is impossible for me to understand what those people went through, what their descendants still endure. Does that mean I should stop trying?

This weekend, at a Mary’s Pence event, I engaged in conversation with a woman about the differences between the two feet of Catholic social action: charity and social justice. Whether we address the present systems of injustice, or the underlying causes. Whether we help people to survive their present crisis, or work towards societal change by restructuring unjust systems. Charity is important, but justice is vital. This woman wasn’t sure young people (who sometimes need spell-check to spell “privilege”) would be able to grasp the difference. I believe we can.

Just Economics Executive Director Vicki Meath at an event.

Just Economics Executive Director
Vicki Meath at an event.

And it isn’t about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes—even with one day’s blisters, I will never truly understand a life I was not born into. It is about walking a mile alongside that person, and on the way listening to the story of their journey. It is about knowledge: about learning my history and theirs, even though it sometimes makes me deeply uncomfortable. It is about feeling that discomfort, recognizing my relative privilege, and using the benefits it affords me to fight for justice. This fight can be symbolic, such as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious calling on Pope Francis to formally repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, or active, like Mary’s Pence grantee Just Economics, who advocate for living wages and systemic change by bringing together low-income people and people of privilege to advocate for the economic security of their community in Asheville, North Carolina.

Either way, it has to start with meaningful dialog. The ongoing struggles facing Native Americans, and everyone else touched by our society’s injustice, are deeply entrenched in social constructions and systemic inequality. Yet today, we have the theory and the means to speak out against it. There are always steps we can take, even little ones, once we know our direction. And beyond privilege, beyond knowledge, is action.

Dana Coppock-Pector

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Grace

Get to know our volunteers!

We are starting a new blog series focusing on our wonderful Mary’s Pence volunteers.  As an organization, we are so grateful for all the invaluable work they do for us. To learn about our  volunteer opportunities or other ways you can get involved with Mary’s Pence, visit Action for Mary’s Pence on our webpage. And check back on the first Tuesday of next month, when we will spotlight a different volunteer.

 

Grace Garvey-Hall: Summer Communications Intern Grace Garvey-Hall

What work do you do for Mary’s Pence? 

This summer I helped design and write content for the 2015 calendar/annual report, and I also wrote a couple articles for the July/August e-newsletter. I’ve also helped on some more behind-the-scenes communications work.

How long have you volunteered with Mary’s Pence?

June-August, 2014

What draws you to the work of Mary’s Pence?  Why do you volunteer with Mary’s Pence? what meaning does it have for you?

I have done some travelling in Latin America, and that has opened my eyes to some of the economic issues and the inequality between men and women that occurs there. Upon returning home, I noticed that these same issues also exist in the U.S., albeit in different forms and to different degrees.

Also, service has always been an important part of the way I live out my faith. Mary’s Pence gave me the opportunity to use my talents to bring awareness to the wonderful ministry they do. Mary’s Pence also brought me into community with many wonderful, inspirational women who are working together to create sorely needed social change. Being part of this community makes me feel empowered to create change and hopeful for the future.

What gifts do you bring to the work of Mary’s Pence?

The main skill I’ve brought to Mary’s Pence this summer is my ability to write. But I also think I’ve brought a passion to my work, because I truly believe in the Mary’s Pence mission of creating social change through funding women. One of the best things I’ve done for Mary’s Pence is tell people about what I’ve been doing with them this summer.

What else are you up to in your life? What do you do for fun?

Travelling is one of my greatest passions but after a semester in Spain I am grateful to be at home, hanging out with my family, walking around the lakes, and reading some good books including Jimmy Carter’s A Call to Action, which was on the Mary’s Pence reading list! In September I’ll head back out to Tacoma, Washington for my final semester at Pacific Lutheran University.

 

We have many more volunteers who help with translation, data entry, writing, mailings, and so much more. Our work is possible because of your contribution of time and talents. Thank you!

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Strong Women

Dana Coppock-Pector spent the summer traveling through Mexico and Central America with Gilda Larios, our ESPERA fund facilitator, and now joins us in Saint Paul as our Development and Communications Intern. She shares with us her summer experience, and her evolving thoughts on the strength of women.

As a recent graduate from Whitman College, with a degree in Sociology and a passionate, perhaps idealistic desire to make a difference in the lives of others, I was drawn to Mary’s Pence from the tagline: “Funding Women. Changing Lives.” I was looking for an opportunity to travel, and hoped to revitalize the on-again-off-again Spanish I’ve been working to master for well over half my life. Mostly, I was looking to put my efforts into an organization aligned with my values, an organization representing the reasons that I chose to study sociology in the first place. As a young, progressive, amateur researcher, I absolutely love studying the complex, often unjust world in which we all live. Looking at what’s wrong, and trying to help fix it. Combating inequality with strength. I believe this is crucial for women everywhere as we face extreme systemic inequalities, worldwide. Although often perceived as weak, women have tremendous strength. We have to, in order to survive.

This summer was pivotal to my own appreciation for women’s strength, and not just because I began my work with Mary’s Pence. IMG_1579Weeks before I departed for my summer travels with Gilda, my grandmother died. I saw throughout my life that my grandma was a fighter. She fought and beat breast cancer, twice. She spent the last two years of her life fighting lymphoma, including undergoing chemotherapy at 87 years old. Like many others, she grew up poor during the Great Depression, and worked hard to assure that she and her family would lead more comfortable lives. Her love and generosity enabled me to pursue the education that she couldn’t at my age. To me, my grandmother was not just a fighter, she was, and continues to be, the strongest woman I know.

Still, her illness and subsequent death forced me to redefine my idea of strength. Despite my childish inclination to think of my grandmother as a superhero, it became clear to me later in life that in reality she was incredibly, and beautifully, human. She was fiercely proud. She hated showing weakness, and hid her adversity well, stubbornly suffering, often needlessly, rather than admitting that she required assistance. This was where her close friends and family, who could see the little hints of pain or fear or exhaustion in her eyes, would have to say, “let us help you” and she would graciously, if reluctantly, accept.

In fact, I find it is impossible to talk about the strength of women struggling, without talking about the strength of women helping. Here, I look to another female beacon of strength in my life— my mother. Her kindness, her patience, the inexhaustible pool of love and support she has shown me throughout my life, she also marshaled to care for her dying mother-in-law. This is one of the most important ways that women show strength: helping each other during times of need. Now when I feel strong and independent, which is most of the time, I think of my mother, and grandmother.

I redefine strength as the small voice in my head saying that it’s okay not to do everything alone. Sometimes, it takes more strength to ask for help than to try to do it all by ourselves.

This is, I believe, the core of the work done at Mary’s Pence; women helping women—motherhood, sisterhood, and solidarity. As I spoke with women of the Concertación in Suchitoto, El Salvador, so many of them emphasized the comradery and connection they felt as a result of the ESPERA funds they received. I heard the stories of trauma from survivors of the Salvadoran Civil War, of deep wounds, new or old, that can take years or sometimes lifetimes to heal. The women spoke about economic insecurity, abuse, the fear that they would not be able to support their families. IMG_0517In the Comunidad de Santo Domingo, the women we spoke to face the hardships of poverty everyday, yet they support each other in the community. These groups are working to generate economic independence and to be powerful role models for a new generation of female leaders. Every day they fight courageously for justice and every day they create hope. Their inspiration for me, so soon after my grandmother’s death, was profoundly moving.

In going through my grandmother’s office, my mother found a poem by Marge Piercy entitled “For Strong Women” which included the words:

A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other.

Mary’s Pence is not strong women helping weak women. On the contrary, it is strong women reinforcing other strong women as they help themselves, their communities, and their futures. Mary’s Pence doesn’t just fund support — it funds confidence, creativity, compassion, and change. The organization doesn’t console women who have suffered injustice in their lives; it assertively fights to combat that injustice, to empower the women, to change the world we inhabit, towards justice and peace.

I am excited and honored to join Mary’s Pence, and the strong women who are a part of it.

Dana Coppock-Pector

IMG_0591

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Mary’s Pence Founding Board Member, Sr. Teresita, is Featured!

Be sure to read the full article, here:

Bounced from St. Catherine-St. Lucy 23 Years ago, Sr. Teresita welcomed home

It’s always exciting for us here at Mary’s Pence when wise and inspiring women are featured in the news. This article hits particularly close to home, as it focuses on our beloved Sr. Teresita Weind, one of Mary’s Pence teresitapicfounding board members! Sr. Teresita’s story was recently featured in the Global Sisters Report, an independent nonprofit source of news and information about Catholic sisters from the National Catholic Reporter.

This article, written by Tom Holmes, tells the story of Sr. Teresita’s relationship with             St. Catherine-St. Lucy Church. Holmes describes the social and historical context in which she joined the parish staff in 1979 and the 12 years in which she preached, cared for the sick, and helped to foster a strong and devout community of faith. He emphasizes her spirituality, her positivity, and the lasting connections she made with everyone she touched. Sr. Teresita Weind was a “soul model” to the entire parish, regardless of race or gender. So when she was asked to leave in 1991 because a new pastor believed that a woman should not preach in the place of an ordained priest, she described: “it was painful. I regret what he did because he divided this parish and it was not divided before he came.” Still, this experience did not shake Sr. Teresita’s faith in God or humanity, but rather strengthenedteresitapic2 it. She explained, “I actually believe that you see the body of Christ in the people who are here who serve and share together.”

And so after over a decade of service, Sr. Teresita moved on. She has traveled the world, and is currently serving her second six-year term as the congregational leader of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. There are over 1,300 sisters in her order. The weekend of September 5-7, she returned to St. Catherine-St. Lucy  for its 125th anniversary celebration. To this day, Sr. Teresita Weind is an inspiring leader, a strong and wise woman, and a “soul model” to us all. Today, and every day, we honor her.

 

 

To read the other two stories in this three-part series, click:   Sr. Teresita listens long and lovingly and Becoming Sr. Teresita. Or check out Sr. Teresita’s bio in a past Mary’s Pence blog post.

 

 

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