March is Women’s History Month
This month we are taking time to recognize the contributions, sacrifices, and leadership of women throughout our history. We spoke with some of the women from the Catholic Charities team who inspire us, about the women who inspire them:
Lauren Erchul McCabe, Resource Coordinator at St. Paul Opportunity Center:
“There are tons of women with a lot of achievements out there that go unrecognized, swept under the rug, or just looked at like an obligation. Women are consistently labeled the caretakers of society, but don’t get any of the credit.
When I think about inspirational women, you know, obviously my family comes to mind, but also Dolly Parton — a gem of America. She has always done the right thing, even when she hasn’t been obligated to. She has gone far beyond her role as a pop queen.
She’s done it all from science, to education, to helping people across communities. She never talks herself up or anything like that. She’s genuinely excited about making people’s lives better, and that’s what I try and carry with me. That happy, fun, excited energy every day.”
Shannon Logan, Client Advocate at Higher Ground Minneapolis Shelter:
“I’m not a big history buff. Growing up, I was in a predominantly white school. They didn’t really teach about Black History, and nothing about Black women in history. So, the people that I admire most were the women in my family. My mom and my grandmother were strong Black women—independent, nurturing women.
I used to look at my mom and think, ‘how do you do it?’ I don’t know, I just feel like my mom was really big. She taught me to have a high level of respect for myself. Now that she’s gone, I look back on things and realize, ‘wow, I had a really beautiful life.’ She was a dang good woman who loved her kids and grandkids.
The Black woman has had to work harder than most. Trying to get resources is harder for women of color. Black women are built strong—because we have to be. Now I teach my girls that.”
KaTina Cummings, Program Manager II, Coordinated Access to Housing and Shelter (CAHS)
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is one of my FAVORITE women because like myself, she was raised in Arkansas and though she struggled throughout her childhood, she did not let it stop her from growing, loving, and becoming one of the most powerful women I know. She is truly one of the reasons to celebrate Women’s History Month.
Brenda Beaulieu, Client Advocate Coordinator at Higher Ground Saint Paul Shelter:
“One of my sisters has health issues that restrict her from many things, but she is such a strong wife, mother and individual that those challenges don’t stop her from enjoying her family. She is always all-in for the people she loves. My other sister does anything she puts her mind to, and without apology. I think that she can accomplish what she does because of her work ethic and dedication.
I also admire my aunts, who were female pioneers in their small Alaskan town. An electrician, a telephone pole climber, and a business owner—and City Councilmembers to boot. In a nutshell, I’m proud that the women in my family are brave. Our daughters are strong willed, have something to say, and never apologize for what they want or feel.
Strong women have taught me to be independent and use my knockdowns to become stronger. It’s hard but it works—I would be in a world of trouble otherwise!”
Lynette MacCloud, Administrative Representative at Catholic Charities at Elliot Park:
“Let’s start with the word ‘History’—within this word, one finds the word ‘His’. America’s written ‘History’ is written mostly about Men – Men’s written history. Some may or may not know only 1% of American History is written about women. Why does American ‘History’ leave out so many amazing, brave, outstanding, courageous women who changed America?
I draw inner strength from Women of great representation and influence, both historical and current, including:
- Ida B. Wells: Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, Founder of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- Muriel Bower: Black Female Politician – Mayor of D.C. winning third term in Office
- Amanda Gorman: Young Black Female Poet and Activist
- Kamala Harris: First Black American / South Asian American Female Vice President
And many additional women that are not on this list!”
Danielle Horan, Aging & Disability Services
“Like KaTina, I think Maya Angelou said it best: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you say, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I have tried to conduct myself with that in mind and when I think about the women in my life who have made a difference, they helped me to feel good about myself:
- My grandmother, who before she passed, shared how proud of me and she was.
- My mother who challenged me to be the best at whatever I chose to do and helped me to not place limits on my dreams.
- My daughter, who inspires me to be a better person each and every day.
- The only female Commanding Officer I served under, who showed me that mistakes are opportunities for growth and strength can be kind.
I work to bring this intention to all my daily interactions and can only hope that I live up to the faith, love and kindness shown to me.”
Mekka C., Employment Services Specialist at Minneapolis Opportunity Center
“I genuinely appreciate and look for inspiration from all women around the world. However, there are two groups of women that keep me especially inspired. The first being great authors of African American and culturally-inclusive poetry and literature, like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Sandra Cisneros. They’re wordsmiths who represent people not known historically to have a voice. Yet somehow, they have utilized their talents to create a platform simply using their vocabulary and imagination to advocate, illustrate or educate their own wisdom and experience. This is much like content creators do now on social media.
The second group of women are those who come from underserved communities. From my own experience, this group of women possess a fire and resilience that should be admired. We should use their experience and knowledge to enrich different aspects of the world for the better. They conduct their day-to-day lives, simultaneously supporting and uplifting their families and those around them with grace and poise. I tip my hat to you with deep reverence this Women’s History Month, Thank You.”
Mary Bachman, Director of Volunteer Services:
“As I reflect on women’s history month, I’m thinking of all the strong women I have in my life and can’t help but smile. My mom is my most favorite of all.
She taught me to be thoughtful (she’s much better at that however) and kind and to be proud of who I am. I went out in the world and surrounded myself with other really strong and kind and wonderful woman. They are my daily champions and supporters.
I am grateful to all the women in my life. Cheers to each and every one of you.”
Community Engagement & Partnerships Manager