Elizabeth is the editorial director of FAITH magazine and the vice president of FAITH Catholic Publishing and Communications.
So many women have been role models and mentors in my life that I could write pages. But I only have a few words – and when I think about my work here at FAITH Catholic, two women come into focus as influences on my career and ministry.
The first is my fifth-grade teacher from St. Francis School in Ann Arbor. Miss Heffern embodied W.H. Auden’s quote, “A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” From her, I learned the joy of playing with words, and shaping them into stories and poetry – to, I hope, inspire.
The second was the very first youth minister at St. Francis Parish, back in the days when Father Ray Rademacher was the forward-thinking pastor there. Sharon Emmerth came to Ann Arbor from West Virginia, by way of Fordham University. She was a revelation – a lay woman working in active ministry in the Church. I hadn’t even been aware that role was an option without a call to consecrated life, which I knew I didn’t have. Because of Sharon’s example, I went to graduate school to study theology. Because of Sharon, I ended up working as a director of religious education. Because of Miss Heffern, I never stopped writing.
Thanks to them – and the wonderful priest whose column is on page two, I found myself at FAITH in 2004 as the assistant editor of this magazine. When I interviewed for the job with our CEO, Patrick O’Brien, he promised me I’d touch more lives and hearts with stories than I’d ever been able to do as a DRE. Thanks to his leadership and his faith in me, I am honored to be the vice president of a company that publishes more than 50 magazines for Catholic dioceses and organizations. I hope I am making Miss Heffern and Sharon proud.