woman in pink

September/October 2014

Grantee Highlight
Learning Opportunities for ESPERA Women in Haiti
by Katherine Wojtan, Executive Director

Ten women from the ESPERA program from the 
Mother's Club of L'Artiboliere, in Jeremie, Haiti had the opportunity to participate in a 3 day local conference, August 19-21, designed to support

participants of micro-lending 

programs. The conference was

sponsored by the Methodist Church of Haiti for groups in the local area.


The women attending are

entrepreneurs in small family
businesses, agricultural workers, etc. In addition, they take care of most of the work in their households.  Women are often vulnerable and marginalized in Haitian society. The conference goal was to improve their technical capabilities, and encourage local markets and diversification of products. Business workshops covered general business kills, budgeting and administration.  Also included were sessions on mental health, community health, and food security. Women shared their products and their business experiences.


Additionally, the women of the Mother's Group, Mary's Pence ESPERA group in L'Artiboliere once again asked for funding for their successful literacy classes.The women are enthusiastic about continuing their studies!


Meet our Newest Grantees!

Mary's Pence completed a grant funding cycle in September and we are pleased to announce our newest grantees. Our grantees are responding to a variety of needs including the re-entry of former female prisoners, the lack of medical doctors and women in medicine in Nicaragua, and the need for a living wage. Click here to read all about our newest grantees.


JusticeIssue of Justice   

Understanding the Violence, Poverty and Immigration in Central America


Pat (on the right) learns a local dance while visiting El Salvador

Just like you, we've been grappling with the news of the unaccompanied minor crisis - that thousands of children have been making the perilous journey to cross the U.S./Mexico border. We know that as the violence spreads, more and more of the ESPERA women are affected. Sister Pat Rogucki, Mary's Pence board member, spends much of each year in El Salvador and frequently travels to other countries in Central America where we have ESPERA partners. She has been spending time in El Salvador for over 30 years, and has many stories, both sad and inspiring, about the lives and circumstances of the women in Central America. She has shared her learning in several blog posts that are well worth reading. They help us to grow in solidarity with the women we partner with through a deeper understanding of the current situation in Central America.


Voices from Honduras, Board Member Pat Rogucki Reports on the Situation on the Ground

The women in Honduras are facing increasing violence and poverty, and it is driving the migration of unaccompanied minors.


Understanding the Roots of the Current Unaccompanied Minor Humanitarian Crisis

This post includes three great book recommendations to help us grasp why so many children are fleeing their homes and risking border crossing into the United States.


Finding Inspiration from Isabel

We talk a lot about alternative economies.  Pat remembers a dear friend from El Salvador who spent her life supporting women and working for an "economía solidaria." 


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Actions Mary's Pence News


Remember the Women of Mary's Pence in your Faith Community's Advent Traditions 


Does your faith community have a giving tree tradition? Would you like to start one? We invite you to include the women of ESPERA in your Giving Tree plans and request a Giving Tree packet from Mary's Pence. The packet includes beautiful gift tags for your Giving Tree, a sample proposal for your Giving Tree committee, and church bulletin announcements. See our website for more information or contact Anna at anna@maryspence.org or 651-788-9869.

Giving Tuesday is December 2!


Mark your calendar and get ready to celebrate Giving Tuesday. Ask your friends to join you and thousands of other individuals to celebrate this powerful day of giving! With each donation to Mary's Pence you make it possible for women to work for empowerment, justice, and economic autonomy in our communities. 


2015 Calendar of Women Available 


Our beautiful, newly-designed calendar is now available for 2015! Each month features an ESPERA group or Grantee with a description of their work. As always, each day of the year offers the name of an inspiring women who has advanced the cause of justice around the globe. Some are well-known, but many are among the unknown "las Marias" who have tirelessly fought for justice! 


Calendars are free and sent automatically to our monthly Compañera donors and anyone who makes a gift of $500 or more. We are happy to send you one, just contact the office. Ask for two - our calendar makes a great gift and is the perfect way to introduce a friend to Mary's Pence.


Mary's Pence on Huffington Post - Healing Central America Starts with Women


Recently Ana Grande, Mary's Pence board member from Los Angeles, visited El Salvador with a community group.  Read about her trip on Huffington Post!


Find Mary's Pence Out and About!


We love to meet our supporters! Join us at one of these upcoming events! 


Board Sponsored Meet and Greet

October 25, 2014, 4:00pm - 6:00pm 

2249 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 

RSVP to  anna@maryspence.org or 651-788-9869


Call to Action 2014 Conference

November 7-9, 2014 - Memphis, TN 

Join us at our workshop, "Making Moral Economic Systems" 


Vigil at School of the Americas

November 21-23, 2014, Forth Benning, GA


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We envision a world where empowered women and their communities flourish in solidarity and justice. Mary's Pence invests in women across the Americas by funding community initiatives and fostering collaborations to create social change.

Imaginamos un mundo en el cual, las mujeres empoderadas y sus comunidades, florezcan en solidaridad y justicia. Mary's Pence invierte en iniciativas comunitarias de mujeres en las Américas y fomenta la colaboración para crear cambio social.


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In This Issue


Meet our Newest Grantees


Issues of Justice:  Responding to Violence, Poverty and Immigration in Central America

Mary's Pence News 






  Prayer to Jesus,
the Immigrant

Jesus, as an infant you fled to Egypt with your mother Mary and Joseph.
You were a vulnerable family in a foreign land, looking for shelter and sustenance.
Help us to welcome those like you who cross our borders today.
Give us hearts of compassion, humane response,
and laws that respect the dignity of all immigrants.

-Adapted from
Education for Justice











Mary's Pence

 Contact us: (651) 788-9869