woman in pink

May/June 2012 

In this special 25th Anniversary Edition, we give thanks to the grantees, board members, staff and donors who have built and nourished Mary's Pence over the years. We move forward with confidence knowing we are standing on the shoulders of women of tremendous strength and courage. As a supporter of Mary's Pence, you are an essential part of our strength today. Thank you for moving forward with us into the next 25 years and beyond!   
This issue highlights entries from the Mary's Pence blog. You can find a link to our blog at the top of our homepage. We invite you to subscribe by entering your email address in the form on the right hand side of the blog page.  


Grantee Highlights 

Notes from the Archives  

An Early Grantee Remembers: Mercy Learning Center   

Sr. Eileen Boffa and Sr. Cheryl Driscoll


One of the projects funded in Mary's Pence's first year in 1987 was Mercy Learning Center, a start-up ministry seeking to end the cycle of illiteracy in Bridgeport, Connecticut by teaching mothers to read.  Sisters of Mercy Eileen Boffa and Cheryl Driscoll, left their Catholic grade school posts to start the new ministry the same year Mary's Pence was launched.


"We started with an idea - a dream really-and $5 that one of our sisters sent with a note that she was praying for us," Sr. Eileen remembers. They used the money to buy stamps, and sent off their grant application to Mary's Pence-at that time little more than an idea itself-after reading about it in the National Catholic Reporter."We were so excited about getting the Mary's Pence grant," Sr. Eileen recalls. "It gave us confidence that we were on the right track and that our idea had merit." "And it gave us inspiration to dream bigger," Sr. Cheryl adds.

As in many programs that address the needs of the poor, it became clear that more than academics was needed. Spirituality was integral from the beginning and retreats and enrichment programs were added, giving the women experiences that increased their confidence as well as their vocabularies.  

Read more... 


Pax Christi Metro New York - by Early Grantee Rosemarie Pace   

Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) received a grant to bring our conflict resolution program to women's shelters that would not otherwise have been able to pay for it. The grant enabled us to bring our workshop to 10 shelters. It was a wonderful experience for me to conduct many of those workshops for women whose lives have been so challenged, but who bear such strength and wisdom. Hopefully, the skills our workshop taught were equally valuable for the women, themselves.

A few years after receiving the grant, I was given the opportunity to write a reflection for Mary's Pence. At that time, Mary's Pence published reflections by many of its companeras for prayer and study. I was honored to write about my journey to becoming the Director of PCMNY, which came about through an almost mystical sense of calling. David Haas' song, "You Are Mine," guided my discernment and the reflection that I composed. Today I continue to be Director of metropolitan New York's regional chapter of the Catholic peace movement, and I continue to support Mary's Pence.

The two movements speak to me of what it means to be Christian-to work for peace and social justice as interconnected entities. Both promote life by raising up the dignity of the human person, especially women who can be so badly suppressed at the same time that they can be the true back-bone of their families and communities. Read more...  


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IssuesIssues of Justice


We Mourn and Celebrate Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Former Board Member   


We celebrate the life of Dr. Ada María Isasi-Díaz, distinguished academic, pioneering theologian, and former Mary's Pence board member. We give thanks for Ada María's deeply influential work of Mujerista theology - making explicit the Latina voice in Feminist Liberation Theology.  


Dr. Ada María Isasi-Díaz died on May 13, 2012 at age 69 after having received the Holy Sacraments. Ada Maria was born in La Habana, Cuba, on March 22, 1943, the daughter of Josefina Diaz de Isasi and Domingo G. Isasi-Battle (RIP 2005). She lived her youth in Cuba, studying in La Habana where she graduated from Merici Academy in 1960.

She moved to the United States in 1960 with her family, and soon after entered the Ursuline novitiate in Santa Rosa,California.  After finishing studies at New Rochelle College, NY, Ada was sent to Lima, Peru by the order to work among the poor in the "barriada de Miramar".  There she became passionate in caring for the dispossessed and building the "kin-dom" of God.    


After leaving the convent in 1969, she lived with her family in the United States.  Realizing that she had a continued calling to be an educator and a voice for the underprivileged, Ada Maria moved in 1975 to Rochester, New York where she served in two inner city parishes and became involved in the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC). Read more...   


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ActionsMary's Pence News


Giving Thanks and Moving Forward! Celebrating 25 Years!   

Maureen at 25thMary's Pence's 25th Anniversarycelebration was a perfect circle of the women and men of Mary's Pence-supporters who've given generously over the long term, newcomers to our work, founding women who had the vision 25 years ago, dedicated women who have served on board or staff over the years, and grantees-the women doing the transformative work in their communities.

Thank you for 25 years!  See more event pictures here. Read the National Catholic Reporter article about the event here. Check out the Event Program here


"Sisters, You Have Taught Us Well"      


Mary's Pence stands on the shoulders of women religious and their legacy of living Gospel justice in daily practical ways with all people but especially with the vulnerable, the economically poor, those living at the margins of society and those most oppressed in our world, in particular, women. Our work started with and continues to grow through Spirit-led collaboration between women religious and lay women who share God's love in ministries of every form throughout our hemisphere.  That same Spirit calls us to speak truth in love.


Mary's Pence Statement of Support for  

the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

April 28, 2012, Chicago, Illinois: 

As we celebrate 25 years of funding women and changing lives through Mary's Pence, we find ourselves appalled by the news of the Vatican's mandate directed at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The prophetic leadership of women religious birthed our organization based on the gospel values of justice and equality for all. Women religious, and in particular the leadership of LCWR, continue to challenge us to this day to keep alive the vision of Vatican II which defined our church as the People of God.  We give thanks for these women and for their congregations. We say to them: "you have taught us well."  We pledge our prayers and support as they discern their response to this mandate. Women around the world await the day when we can truly be an inclusive church with justice for all. 

What You Are Saying About Mary's Pence  


Mary's Pence donor survey results are in. Read more here.




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Mary's Pence - Who Are We?


We are a small organization with a big vision.  We want women in the Americas living in poverty to have a say and a hand in how poverty can be alleviated and social equity achieved.  Therefore we invest in local women who are creating models to increase women's economic status and improve their status in their community.  We look for models that foster women working together, to learn from each other, support each other, and explore new ideas.  We fund women in North, Central and South America.

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In This Issue

Honoring Early Grantees

Celebrating Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz

Mary's Pence News






Mary's Pence 25th Anniversary Celebration Closing Prayer:   


We look forward to the future in faith and hope,

working for the day when we and all our sisters

no longer have to fit a stereotype,

but are free to use all our gifts

and to share in all the benefits of human life and work.

We look forward to the age of peace,

when violence is banished,

when both women and men are able to love and be loved,

and the work and wealth of our world is justly shared.

We believe that our future depends on us,

but that all the forces of good, love, peace and justice,

all the creative powers of the universe,

work with us to achieve that vision.

May it come soon.

(adapted from Women's Creed by Norma Hardy)

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Mary's Pence  

275 East 4th Street #707

St. Paul, MN 55101 

 Contact us: (651) 788-9869