Maureen came to the United States from Australia in the summer of 1986. She received her Master's Degree in Clinical Pastoral Counseling at Emmanuel College in Boston, MA in 1992. During and after her studies, Maureen worked at a community health clinic, where she ministered with clients through prayer and listening and pastoral care. Among her clients were families who had lost children to violence – through drugs, gangs, and drive by shootings. Maureen visited homes in the neighborhood, including one where she prayed with a 14 year old girl who had been left to die by a savage knife attack in a park near public housing where she lived. Over the years, Maureen developed a passion for issues related to social justice – advocating in her community for decent housing, affordable health care, quality education and enough for everyone to eat – as well as in nurturing the spirits of those she served. Maureen has served as Episcopal Chaplain for the Diocese of Boston, for members of their faith tradition living with the HIV/AIDS. Again, she visited clients in their homes and in hospitals; and ministered to their parents who, at this time in our country’s growing understanding of the AIDS epidemic, were filled with shame for what they considered to be their sons’ abhorrent lifestyles. Maureen continued her deep commitment to persons with AIDS, and to the LGBTQ community. As A Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Maureen’s ministry focused on serving as Outreach Minister to the LGBTQ Community on behalf of her faith community, The Spirit of Life: A Catholic Community of Justice & Joy. In this ministry, Maureen tended to the spiritual and pastoral needs of elderly men and women in the LGBTQ community who might not otherwise be open to the ministry of a Roman Catholic priest. Maureen’s gifts in the realm of grief counseling, compassionate listening, and heartfelt companioning to those who were lonely or isolated were a blessing to all she ministered to and with. Maureen shared her life and deep love with her spouse and companion of 29 years, Nancy Stephens. All who knew Maureen were touched by her passionate love of Jesus and all humanity, and her boundless sense of humor. She died in 2015 and is missed by all.
Judy Beaumont led her entire life in service to God's people. She entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago at seventeen and remained a Benedictine in loving service for 35 years. She was a teacher, director of religious education, refugee worker resettling Vietnamese refugees and a peace activist. She attained a bachelor's degree from Mundelein College and a MRE degree from Loyola University. In 1981 she left Chicago for Connecticut to participate in the anti-nuclear peace movement near Groton and in 1982 was a member of the Trident Nein Plowshares Action. When released from prison she also helped establish My Sisters' Place, a shelter and four tier program for homeless women and children and mentally ill women and men in Hartford, Connecticut. She and Judy Lee, (also a Roman Catholic womanpriest) and her partner in ministry and life since 1989, left Connecticut for Fort Myers Florida in 1998. Judy then began work in a mission parish and later served as Director of Faith Formation for a large parish. In 2003, she helped establish Good Shepherd Ministries of SW Florida and continues to serve the poor and homeless of greater Fort Myers. She was Co-Pastor of The Church of the Good Shepherd: An Inclusive Catholic Community and was active with the local chapter of Call to Action.
Judy Beaumont was loved by a large community consisting of her biological family – with many nieces and nephews who noted that she shaped their own lives of service and compassion – and extended family consisting of the "foster" children she helped to raise, their families, and her formerly homeless and church families in Chicago, Connecticut and Fort Myers, Florida. Judy’s legacy of self-giving service to Christ and the poor, the homeless and the brokenhearted continues on in the lives of those to whom she offered her full measure of love & compassion, concern & respect, welcome and inclusion.
Claire I. Gareau
Sadly, our sister, Claire Irene Gareau transitioned to a new life in March 2018.
Claire Irene Gareau, a cradle Catholic, knew in the third grade she would join the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Entering directly from high school, Claire, then Sister Marie Jean Gareau, SSND, continued her education at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland earning a B.A. in Biology, while teaching seventh grade, and subsequently high school biology. Like many other religious sisters shortly after Vatican II, Claire decided to leave the convent.
In 1970, Claire began a 25-year career with the New York Telephone Company. Even though, she enjoyed each of the positions she held there, in 1995 Claire took an early retirement package, which resulted from the divesture of AT&T and its operating companies.
It wasn’t long before Claire realized full time retirement was not for her. She volunteered for her town’s First Aid Squad and found being an EMT very rewarding. Claire also did volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity in Belize. Two part-time jobs followed which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Throughout her adult life, Claire traveled the world extensively with her longtime best friend, Virginia O’Sullivan.
In 2011, Claire decided to return to school full time to study theology, which she had wanted to do in the 1960s. She quickly earned an MA in Theology at Seton Hall University, where she attended many classes with seminarians preparing to serve in the Archdiocese of Newark.
While attending a Call To Action conference, Claire was introduced to Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP). When she learned that Mary Ann Schoettly, RCWP, founded an intentional eucharistic community, Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community, about 25 miles from her home, Claire began attending Sunday Mass there. Sophia quickly became Claire’s faith community.
After the sudden and unexpected death of its founder in 2014, the members of Sophia asked Claire to consider pursuing ordination through Roman Catholic Women Priests. Claire answered the call of the community. On April 23, 2016, Claire was ordained by Bishop Andrea Johnson, bishop for the Eastern Region of RCWP – USA, at the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, NJ. Claire served as co-pastor of the Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community, along with Michael Corso, until her death.
In addition to serving Sophia, Claire, a member of AA for 25 years, found creative ways to minister to those in 12 Step Programs and to those marginalized by the institutional church.
Mary Ann McCarthy Schoettly
Mary Ann McCarthy Schoettly held Masters Degrees in Theology, Administration and Supervision, and Biology. She was a life-long teacher - in high school classrooms, colleges, religious education programs (CCD, Confirmation, RCIA, Renew 2000), Stephen Ministry and retreat work. Mary Ann was the pastor of Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community in Sussex County, NJ, volunteered as a Spiritual Caregiver through the Chaplain's Office at Newton Medical Center, led a group in Spirituality at Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services, visited patients in hospice care and facilitated a small faith-sharing community in her home. She held certificates in Pastoral Care and Spiritual Direction. Mary Ann lived in Northwest New Jersey. She was married for twenty-eight years, became single, and had three adult children and two delightful granddaughters. She remained active in CTA, VOTF and her local Catholic Communities. She died after a brief illness in 2014 and is missed by all.