Your Stories

Pat O’Hearn - First female Director of Development for the Diocese of Lansing

My faith helped me understand that fund development is, first and foremost, a ministry. In this role, I was able to offer the people of our diocese the opportunity to participate in the mission and vision of the Diocese of Lansing and the wider Church.

I am continually inspired by the people of our diocese. Their faith-filled generosity is incredible. I experienced a great release of joy seeing people invest in something they deeply care about. I always believed I was inviting people to invest their resources in the work of God.

Sister Donna Markham, OP, Ph.D - First president of Catholic Charities 
USA from Diocese of Lansing

While I have never aspired to be the “first woman” in any given position, in retrospect, I realize that I often have been. That began early in my religious life when I was invited to teach at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Mich. Another sister was working as the librarian and another as director of field education, but I was the first woman to actually teach courses at the seminary. Later, after serving on the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, I was invited to become the executive director of the Southdown Institute in Ontario, Canada.

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP - Co-founder and Mother Superior of a 
new order in the Diocese of Lansing

My parents inspired me in my youth, and continue to inspire me by the beautiful example they gave me. It was my parents who taught my two brothers, three sisters and me the priorities in life of faith and family. The Catholic education they gave us came as a great sacrifice to them but remains one of their greatest gifts to us.

Mary Jo Gillilland - First Female CEO of Liturgical Commission Publishings

In so many ways, my faith provided that touchstone – that certainty of God’s presence in this workplace – that led me through the difficult times. Faith and trust were behind every decision that needed to be made when responsible for publishing the words of authors attempting to break open the word of God. I knew that what my authors wrote would touch the hearts of exactly those who needed to hear them because it was God who delivered the message.

Theresa Marshall - First Consecrated Virgin in the Diocese of Lansing and Former principal, 
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School, Ann Arbor

Eucharistic adoration, holy Mass and daily rosary were the centers of our family prayer life. We experienced answers to prayer as a family like food and clothing multiplying, and healing occurred with us as we offered petitions for our family. Experiencing the miracles made it hard not to believe and trust God. Attending Catholic schools from second grade through high school, I learned more about the faith and found a more profound love for Jesus after reading the autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, my patron saint. I began to pray and read Scripture daily.

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