Your Stories

Deb uses her gifts to lead and 'be the person God called me to be'

Deb Amato: First female chief of staff for the Diocese of Lansing

Trailblazer wasn’t a heading on any of the tabs in Deb Amato’s files of possible ministerial work. Yet, upon her appointment as the first female chief of staff for the Central Service Offices of the Diocese of Lansing, Trailblazer became the most prominent tab. No one was more surprised than she. “I questioned my qualifications, but I was open and trusted God’s lead.” With a chuckle, she adds, “I really thought I was called to be a theology teacher.’

Lisa Whiting Dobson - First producer of the televised Outreach Mass for the Diocese of Lansing

I have worked very hard to be an excellent television producer/director. The Outreach Mass adds a unique element, because my faith is the foundation of everything I do, and this program touches people in a way that has continued to amaze me throughout the years. I am proud to say that everything I have worked on in my television career has been life-giving, and that is quite a feat in this industry. With the Outreach Mass, I often believe that I am the vehicle, and when I begin directing there is a Spirit much more than me at work.

Lisa Kutas - First female Director of Human Resources, Diocese of Lansing

As the HR director, I get to know a lot about the people I work with. Not just how they perform as employees, but I learn about them personally and the challenges they face in their lives. I pray for my co-workers daily, especially when I know they have a specific hardship in their lives. The one thing we all have in common is that everyone is carrying a cross; some are heavier than others, but each person has one. The crosses we carry influence the way we interact with others and perform in our jobs.

Dr. Mary Healy - First female member of Pontifical Biblical Commission from Diocese of Lansing

Often in the last half-century, the Bible has been studied apart from a perspective of faith, as if it were merely an ancient document like any other. But thankfully, that is changing. In my work on the Pontifical Biblical Commission, I try to remain conscious that our goal is not just to offer the Church the best possible scholarship, but to interpret Scripture in a way that strengthens faith and draws people into a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Judith Stegman - First president of 
the U.S. Association 
of Consecrated 
Virgins (USACV) from
 the Diocese of Lansing

My work with the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins would have no meaning if the work was not founded on faith in Jesus Christ, Bridegroom of the Church. The consecrated virgin is “mystically espoused to Christ, the Son of God,” and her particular role in the Church is to be a sign of the Church’s spousal love for Christ.Each defining moment has involved my saying “yes” to an unexpected call from the Lord to move ahead, without fear, into an unknown. One such time was deciding to sell my accounting business in order to devote more time to the USACV.

Elizabeth Solsburg - First Female editorial director of FAITH magazine and
 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.


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