Interview with Jane O’Brien Reilly2020-03-17T16:15:56+00:00

THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT

Jane O’Brien Reilly

“My activism was born out of a sincere sense of mission and calling, rooted deeply in a bedrock of religious purpose.”

Interviewed by Mary Jean Collins, VFA Historian, November 2019

[Edited Transcript]

MJC:  Thank you so much for being willing to do this interview with the Veteran Feminists of America. We’re honored to have you. Your story is part of our story. Let’s start by just telling us your name and where you were born.

JOR:  Jane Marie O’Brien Reilly. I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was the first born of Bob and Jane O’Brien’s eleven children. We had a really fun large Catholic Irish family. My parents were from the area. Dad was raised in Milwaukee. My mom was from the Chicago area. She was raised in Evanston and her Dad came from Dublin. We had a real close tie to Ireland.

I knew Grandpa as the oldest of my generation up until he died. He died when I was about 20. He had a big influence on my life. He was a lot of fun. So that was the environment I was raised in. We lived in the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee area, which was a thriving and bustling wonderful place to grow up right along Lake Michigan. I had a beautiful childhood. Really very lucky, very blessed and wonderful.

MJC:  Some of your siblings have some challenges.

JOR:  Yes. Actually, my mom was approached by National Geographic at one point because, as far as they told us, there was no other family ever in the human race that had four people with albinism born to that family unit. Mom and Dad raised two boys and two girls with albinism and they’re legally blind and, other than that, their skin tone reaction to Sun has to be very closely monitored.

I think the main challenge, aside from the sight difficulties, was the social difficulties that came along with it. In many ways they suffered discrimination. In fact, I had to take them to school from the time we were little all the way up to driving them to college. And one of the first things that defined my life was in third grade. I will never forget.

There was a teacher and she was known as an extremely strict authoritarian teacher. You could hear her booming and pounding tables and whatnot. I didn’t have her as my teacher, but we went to a lunchroom where she was a monitor and some how I got in trouble. I don’t remember what it was, but some how I managed to get myself in trouble in the lunchroom and she told me I had to stay after school. I told her I was sorry, I couldn’t, because I had to walk my sister home and I’ll never forget. All she did was look at me with this voice and say you “bold” child.

That set the tone for the rest of my life. I’ll be a bold child if that’s what you need to do the right thing. Mom was very firm about mainstreaming. Everything I did, my siblings would come along and do too. I took them golfing, baseball, everything and they’re brilliant. Intellectually they’ve all succeeded beyond our wildest dreams, and it was quite an experience. A good experience, all total.

MJC:  Tell us a little more about your childhood. You were a sportsperson?

JOR:  I was extremely athletic, and we were raised on this wonderful block that had one hundred children at one point on one block. All Irish Catholic, Italian and Polish. Of the 100 children, everybody my age were boys. I was part of this little pack of boys and became a tremendous tomboy. I had an athletic ability. My mother was always athletic, but my dad loved sports and athletics. I was quarterback of the local football team, the pitcher for the local baseball team, and we played hard ball. And totally according to the rules. 

We were called the Shepherd Hawks because we lived on Shepherd. I played with the boys and enjoyed those sports tremendously. At that time, girls sports were just truncated versions. Basketball was just half a court rather than the whole court.

There was a major league pitcher who lived two doors down from us. This was in the middle of the ’50s when the Milwaukee Braves were contending for the World Series and actually won the World Series. He lived two houses away from us. He had little kids. At the time I was old enough to babysit for his children, so we became real close friends. His wife took me to a lot of the games. I sat with the wives right behind home plate. I learned a lot of the intricacies of pitching and calling balls and strikes.

His name was Dave Jolly and he took me under his wing and taught me how to pitch. This is a World Series professional major league hardball pitcher. I learned how to pitch really well. As a result, I really developed a love for sports all my life.

MJC:  Do you think it affected your thinking about the roles of boys and girls?

JOR:  Absolutely, no doubt about it. And working with boys too and playing with boys. A camaraderie that you develop that would stand me in good stead as I went through professional life, to working on teams. At the time we didn’t have women’s teams the way we do now. That whole sense that girls certainly should be able to perform at the level that male sports were demanding and weren’t demanding of girls at the time.

There was definitely a sense in me that we should be able to accomplish what we can and go for the gold, and be allowed to do that – which we weren’t. I still remember my Mom coming up to me at one point and saying, “You’re not allowed to play with the boys anymore.” There were so many restrictions on women and our participation in sports that I was very eager to challenge.

MJC:  What do you remember as your first kind of challenging activity outside of those kind of neighborhood sports activities? When did you get involved in public activity having to do with the church or feminism?

JOR:  I think it actually happened in college. I went to Mount Mary College, an all-girls Catholic School. High School was co-ed. Humanae vitae came out when I was in college and we were wrestling with the encyclical and its teachings on birth control. At that point in time I was approaching the age to get married. I should back up a little bit.

In my youth I had a real affinity for the liturgy of the church. We used to play “priest” in the attic. I had this built-in congregation with 10 siblings to start with. And of course, we attracted all the kids from the neighborhood too. I was obsessed with the liturgy and the beauty of it. We replicated it down to the last little fold in the linens. It was really amazing.

Of course, as a youngster I was very taken with the Catholic teachings and was diligently praying for my vocation and wanting to be a missionary in Africa and really trying to toe the line as a Catholic. I loved the church. Absolutely loved the church. As a youth we’d go to daily Mass. We lived three blocks away from the Cenacle, which was a Cloistered Order of Women. I actually worked at the Cenacle for a bit just helping in the kitchen etc. as a young woman. I had this obsession with the church. I really did.

I was in college Humanae comes out. I’m at the age where you’re really grappling with issues of birth control and the teaching was interpreted as being anti-birth control. For some reason I got a spotlight shown on the part of the encyclical which focused on the primacy of conscience and how one could not counter a well-formed conscience. That you had to follow your conscience, which is a teaching of the church. We learned that in our Baltimore catechism in grade school.

But basically, this was embedded in the encyclical that whatever they’re saying about birth control, bottom line is a woman needs to follow her conscience. And that really struck home like a laser for me. What followed was a realization that no one respected a woman’s conscience. The church didn’t. Their teachings didn’t see women as able to make their own moral decisions. Men certainly, but not women. And this began my path.

We had a number of us in college that got signatures opposing it and we went to the bishop’s residence and taped them to the door. I think that was my first protest activity. I didn’t get involved with an organization per se for quite a long time really. I think as I got married and went into enacting my beliefs and using birth control and actually at one point I had a challenging pregnancy. I was told that the fetus would be tremendously, seriously malformed, and I grappled with the concept of having an abortion with Rod.

We went to the doctor for the counseling session and knowing our connection with the church he said, “Perhaps you should talk to your priest.” At the time I was active at the church, I certainly knew the priest well and when he told me that, I really understood in my heart that there was no way I could convey to the priest my circumstances and expect to get a truly applicable, helpful response.

The disconnect between the church and women’s lives was so evident in reality – that set the tone for my later decision making. I ended up going through with the pregnancy and thank God we have a wonderful healthy son as a result, but these were learning experiences along the way prior to getting involved with any particular organization. That kind of set the tone for where my life would end up.

But it also made me realize in the abortion debate, who has a right to have an opinion and who doesn’t. It was quite a tremendous learning experience. The point where I really started into serious activism was in those college years and around the reproductive health care issues.

MJC:  What organizations were you involved with?

JOR:  As I mentioned, the church was the first organization I was involved in. Challenging the church, first on my own and then I got subsumed I’d say in to the Women’s Ordination Conference.

MJC:   Tell us about that organization.

JOR:  It’s an organization that got started in 1975 in Detroit, Michigan. It gathered people who were supporting ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church and it came on the heels of the Episcopalian Women’s Ordination and the first group of Episcopalian women that were so-called illicitly ordained. I was doing reading and choir and cantering and working on liturgy committees at the parish level and very active. The Episcopal women, that group that were illicitly ordained in the beginning as they were labeled, came to Cleveland.

I went to the church and sat probably about two thirds of the way back. And they all processed in and the whole service was just stunning. I was blown away. It was spectacular. It really set me down a path of wanting to see that for the Roman Catholic Church. I think they had that impact on many women. In the wake of that, the Roman Catholic women gathered in Detroit in 1975 to do something similar as the Episcopal Church had done.

I wasn’t able to attend in Detroit. A couple other people from Cleveland did go and, following the Detroit conference, we all met together in Cleveland and started the group in Cleveland. The Women’s Ordination Conference, as far as I know is still going, but our local group, Cleveland Women’s Ordination Conference, became one of the most active local chapters. We had a lot of activities. I not only worked in the leadership of the local group for most of the ’80s, but I served on the National Core Commission with just spectacular women. (Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Mary Hunt, Diann Neu.) I felt so honored to be around the table with them.

We did so many things, so many conferences, so many public actions both nationally and locally. And in the process, so many people were educated and enabled in their own priestly ministry to not only open their minds to the idea, but to embrace the idea. And then to embrace women living out priestly ministries in so many different ways. That was just a tremendous decade in working both locally and nationally on that issue.

It was always ordaining women to a renewed priestly ministry. We never separated those two concepts. It was very critical that those two concepts were together, because it’s not just the visibility and the liturgy. It’s not just preaching and counseling or chaplain work, but it’s changing the mentality of the priesthood. Taking away the caste system, the clericalism, the hierarchical approach to your relationship with laity. I think expanding church teaching to be more inclusive of women’s experience and women’s outlook and insights and all that women bring to the development of church doctrine and church teaching.

These are, I feel the more important aspects of women’s inclusion in ordination. What that would do to opening up and expanding the work of the church in the world to be inclusive of women’s insights and experiences and ability to formulate moral judgments and concepts. I loved the work.

MJC:   That was kind of your major work.

JOR:  Yes, and along the way I worked in the diocese, part time work in the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Office in the Diocese of Cleveland. And as part of that we developed the Diocesan Subcommittee on Women’s Roles of the Diocese and Pastoral Council and created an Office of Women in Ministry. I headed that subcommittee and that office is still in existence and has done quite a good deal of work in the Diocese of Cleveland. And I think also portrayed for other dioceses throughout the country a good approach on how to develop Women in Ministry more fully within the diocesan structures.

MJC:   You had something to do with 60 Minutes.

JOR:  Yes. When I was working in the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Office. I was contacted by a producer of 60 Minutes having to do with the work that Cleveland Women’s Ordination Conference was about. I was featured in an article in the local Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper wanting to be a priest and having the involvement with the local organization. Somehow 60 Minutes got a hold of it and a producer contacted me and wanted to know more about it.

It took about a year of conversations with the producers and they setup an interview with Mike Wallace and he came to Cleveland and interviewed three of us over at St. Coleman’s Convent. They did a segment that was aired on Easter Sunday and I can’t remember exactly what year was, but it was probably around ’82. It was Sunday 60 Minutes and it was all about the Women’s Ordination in the Roman Catholic Church, the push for it then and all the work that was going on. It was really great. It’s a good segment.

MJC:   And then at some point, Catholics for a Free Choice. You became involved with them.

JOR:  Yes, when Roe v. Wade took hold and the church anti-abortion activity just skyrocketed right off the bat after Roe v. Wade, and the engagement with the evangelicals. Having had my personal experience, I was adamantly opposed to where the church was going with that. I just felt so strongly. I can’t even describe how I felt that the church was so wrong and so off base.

As much as I appreciate and respect people’s respect for life and certainly share a respect for life, the institutional intentions, I began to almost see as sinister, and in bed politically. It was a manipulation tied to a misogyny that I was horrified at. Especially having gone through the experience I went through. I’m sure there were a million other women too. One out of every four women that have abortions and so many women that use Planned Parenthood, birth control. All these teachings of the church were so detrimental to women. I almost felt it was abuse. It’s abusive, it really is. 

At the time I was involved with the Women’s Ordination Conference and not everybody in that group is pro-choice. I didn’t have any camaraderie in this battle, in the outrage. And all of a sudden somehow I got wind of Catholics for a Free Choice, and I felt like this is just what I need. The Conscience publication was spectacular. I started to receive that. The National Network coordinator at the time, you probably remember who it was better than I. I think it was Margaret Conway.

MJC:  I was the National Field Director.

JOR:  Margaret’s influence on me was – and yours – tremendous, because you enabled me to do so much. I began to speak out locally and write letters to the editor. The press at the time picked it up like crazy. They’d be on my porch for interviews and a lot of phone calls, so I became enabled. And I became very confident. I think the brilliance of Catholics theology behind and knowledge of history of the church, all the publications of Catholics for Choice. It was spectacular and very educational, as it is an educational organization.

MJC:  And the leadership of President Francis Kissling.

JOR:  Oh my gosh, Francis. Just outstanding. I became much more confident in the substance of what I was believing and knew through my own personal experiences, combined with what Catholics was making possible for me to do. And then of course you brought me to D.C. for some trainings on occasion. Eventually, Margaret moved on and I think Liz Seton took over. I worked with Liz, and this was all as a volunteer.

At some point the position opened up, and at that point in my life as a career, I had gone into sales and marketing roles. I left the diocese, and ended up doing franchise marketing, which was very interesting. Working with people all over the country and developing franchises. When the National Network position opened at Catholics for a Free Choice, I saw a similarity in the kind of work that I was doing, except it would be not selling franchises, but selling this beautiful belief and concept that meant so much to me. I did apply for the job and was able to be hired, which was just a beautiful moment.

MJC:  You remember what year that was?

JOR:   It was around 1990. I worked there for three and a half years and then went on to Planned Parenthood.  

MJC:   Did you travel with Catholics for a Free Choice and meet other people around the country?

JOR:  Oh yes. Yes. Thank you very much. I had tremendous experiences working with people around the country. We had people in – I believe it was every state. I got to meet some tremendous people and get into their localities and work with them locally. That was just a spectacular experience. I think the first travel I did was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

I did go back there later with Planned Parenthood too, but to Wichita, Kansas. The Operation Rescue people had labeled it the “Summer of Mercy” and Catholics sent me down there. One of the first things, and I think that was my very first trip. The chaos that was ensuing was astonishing.

Dr. George Tiller’s clinic was being surrounded by, I don’t even know the numbers, but to see it was just amazing. The national guard was there. The police had cordoned off blocks and blocks around his clinic and when I got down there to work with the woman who was trying to organize, they wanted the Catholic voice, the Catholic presence.

My car was surrounded by protesters so they wouldn’t let me drive in. I had a stick shift that was a rental car that I wasn’t even familiar with. They laid down around the tires. They called themselves non-violent but they’re using physical force to constrain you. And in a sense that’s violence. You’re not able to proceed and the patients weren’t able to proceed. They probably thought I was a patient to begin with, trying to get in. It was just a shocking experience.

When I finally did get into the clinic, Dr. Tiller came up, and he was so wonderful, so loving, so darling. He gave me a big hug. He had a bulletproof vest on. The pro-choice folks were organizing a counter rally and they asked if I’d speak. It was just astonishing to be able to speak to that rally in the face of that Operation Rescue activity. Dr. Tiller was killed later in his church. That was an experience that I’ll never forget.

MJC:  You talked about doing some activity, lobbying the bishops.

JOR:  Yes, it’s kind of a blur. With Women’s Ordination Conference we did. We lobbied the bishops, but Catholics for a Free Choice, Francis had set up in the hotel. She was so tremendously organized. She had receptions and rented a suite. It was a much more formal integration of the work that we were doing into the activities of the bishops. Women’s Ordination Conference did things like have trumpets and marched around the building.

But with Catholics, Francis had the suite and interfaced with so many people on a really intellectual wonderful level. There were other bishops and of course with my work with the diocese I knew a number of the bishops and so we’d visit here and there. But I’ll never forget, I don’t remember the name of the bishop, but he was this big fella. He looked at me, and it was the Women’s Ordination issue and he just laughs and said, “That’ll never happen in your lifetime.” I said, “Depends on how you define my lifetime.”

The idea is you work for these things, and as we’ve talked about over the years, social change happens like waves on the beach. You’re going to have moments when you have a response or reaction, like we had with Obama. Now we have Trump. As a Catholic, you think in terms of centuries, you don’t think in terms of decades. I always felt you’re called to this work and you just do what you can. The seeds are planted, and the waves are going out and it’s going to happen. I know it’s going to happen.

What I found interesting – and I want to mention two women. One of them is Dagmar Braun Celeste. When we first started organizing in Cleveland for the local Cleveland Women’s Ordination Conference, we came up with protesting the Ordination. Every single time there’s an ordination in Cleveland, there’s the prayer vigil protest next to the steps. And we’ve got Ordain Women to Renew Priestly Ministry and it always gets covered.

When we started, the governor of Ohio was Richard F. Celeste, and his wife Dagmar came and joined our protest, which was quite a thing for us publicity wise. It turns out now Dagmar is part of the Roman Catholic Women Priests group. I don’t know their numbers, but they’re in 30 some states in the United States with women who have been ordained in what they claim is that apostolic lineage like the Episcopal women did. Dagmar is one of those women priests.

I look back [to] when she joined us on the steps. And now she is part of this group which is international. It’s in Canada, North America, South and Central America, Africa, Europe, numerous locations throughout the world. There are women who have been ordained and trained and are practicing, not with the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church, of course, but in the Roman Catholic tradition and claiming apostolic succession.

The other woman is Dr. Nancy Wittig. I have to give these women credit. Their line, the thread that has gone through in my life from the beginning and watching them has been amazing. Nancy was one of the Episcopal women that came down the aisle when I went to that service as a young woman. Skipping ahead to current life, working with our little Fairview Park community where we live, our local Democratic Club, and the local Episcopal Church, Nancy Wittig is assigned at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which is where now my daughter and grandchildren and her husband go.

Before Catholics for a Free Choice, I was hired by the local Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland. I only was there for about a year before the opening came in Catholics for a Free Choice. After I was with Catholics for a Free Choice for about three and a half years, National Planned Parenthood needed a Great Lakes Field Organizer and it became a tremendous fourteen and a half year career for me, which was fabulous.

It started out being based out of Chicago. I was driving back and forth for a year. This was in the early days of telecommuting and before fax machines. Working with Planned Parenthood was amazing, because there were two field organizers for the country. I think Margaret was western region. India McCanse was east of the Mississippi and all of the affiliates. That’s all there was to the public affairs department. In the 14 and a half years that I worked with Planned Parenthood in public affairs, the public affairs became enormous and dynamite, which was a thrill to see and the work with the affiliates was outstanding.

I never lost a sense of the identity of the Catholics for Choice piece and the Women’s Ordination piece followed me along in dealing with patients doing clinic escorts, when we did messaging and media we always created a Clergy for Choice message. Clergy for Choice has always been a big interest of mine. Back when we were organizing in the local Planned Parenthood, before Catholics for a Free Choice, with Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland we created a Clergy for Choice group in Cleveland. And then we created Clergy for Choice Group for the State of Ohio. And it was various clergy.

It basically focuses on the fact that women’s right to reproductive freedom and reproductive and sexual health care and respect for women’s conscience has a moral piece to it. For Planned Parenthood to always have that front and center and to incorporate that not necessarily from a Catholic perspective at all but from a very strong moral and religious perspective, from all of the other religious denominations that supported women’s rights to make these decisions. And to pursue appropriate health care they need in the reproductive and sexuality arenas.

Don’t forget that there is a moral component to this. All the years that I was with Planned Parenthood we kept that front and center. Women need that. They come as both physical and spiritual beings. Every woman needs to have both components tended to. You can’t just ignore the fact that that’s a need for women to pursue the appropriate health care, and that they have that spiritual dimension. In fact, in the end that served me to do spiritual care volunteering at our local hospital.

MJC:  And that’s one of your activisms now?

JOR:  Yes. This thread has just continued through life and I’ve kind of followed the paths as they’ve unfolded before me. I’ve been so blessed and lucky to do this. I’ve felt this insight and this passion, and I don’t know how you’d not harness that. I would hate to have had lived a life where you would have had to just suppress those kinds of energies.

I’m so lucky to live in an era like we were, talking about where women can be so empowered. And thank you for helping me become empowered and enabling me to take those energies and insights and knowledge and pursue activities that are going to put those energies to some good work. You just really have to follow those passions and have the confidence that you are right and these battles need to be fought.

MJC:  Your activism now is a little bit in the Democratic Party.

JOR:  Right. We’ve been active locally in the Democratic Party. When I left Planned Parenthood, it was the middle of Obama’s campaign for presidency. I immediately jumped into that, which was great. A friend and I were the city leaders that organized in our city for him, for the Obama campaign. We worked like gangbusters. Of course, we were ecstatic with his success and his presidency. And the local party, it paled in comparison to the organization that Obama ended up creating in our area. We ended up doing the local club and passing that along in a much stronger form than we found it. I’m really happy about that.

I see Ohio as absolutely one of the most critical states in the country for the future political developments. Cuyahoga County where we live is such an important piece for where Ohio goes, that working in any way shape or form within the Democratic Party in Cuyahoga County, whether it be the Democratic Club or the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party level executive committee, I see that as really critical work. Rod and I both have been officers and on the executive committee and a couple of our kids are working in that arena now too. So that’s where we’re pretty much focused.

We ended up being active with the United Church of Christ and that’s been a glorious experience for us.

MJC:  Fantastic. Have we missed anything? Is there anything you would like to add or any other comments on the impact over the years?

JOR:  I don’t think so. I just really feel bad that I never excelled at women’s sports. I never got a golf trophy. I let that side go. No World Series championship. I think all total, there’s a couple of things that I came to realize. There was a moment, I forget which organization it was, it had to do with women’s ordination I think. We were going to do some kind of an activity and we went to Gloria Steinem’s Foundation. I think it was for some funding and she basically said, “No. All you have to do is leave the church.”

I remember at first, that I thought that was so much bigger than the flippant kind of approach it seems to come out of. But the challenge for women to leave the church is really a struggle. And at some point in time I began to kind of liken it to the challenge for women to leave a marriage that is not a healthy marriage for them. And it dawned on me at some point that it is important for women to leave the church for their own sake and for their own health. And it’s important for the church – for women in church – in a lot of ways.

Women’s Ordination Conference always kept the concept of women continuing in participation in the Roman Catholic Church in good standing. Whereas my sense was, eventually for me it was the right thing to leave the church. I began to realize in order for women to live out their calling and their ministry, be it priestly or whatever you want to call it, the blessing of the males in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is not a requirement. When you’re called by God to live out the fullness of your ministry, you just want to do that, and you don’t need a male to say it’s OK. And that was a huge learning.

And then the other part of it was when I was doing the spiritual care volunteer at the hospital, realizing the Catholic approach, and I had done that years before coming in as a lay minister. You walk into the volunteer office, you pull up the patient’s census and you look through and pick out all the Catholics. What about all those people whose names you passed over?

The beautiful approach that the Cleveland Clinic has for their spiritual care is you go to every single room. And you learn about all the various religious beliefs and practices and you respect those. You minister to the people from where they’re at. And you really listen. You do more listening than anyone can imagine. The whole idea is to tamp down your talking and listen and to encourage that with some well-placed little questions. So you’re spending time hearing their story.

When I realized [that] as a lay minister, I buzzed in, said a couple rote prayers, gave communion, which I still respected, spectacularly beautiful, made the sign of the cross and exited. The difference struck me so profoundly that the approach that the Catholic Church takes doesn’t listen.

Doesn’t listen to women, doesn’t listen to a lot of people and to open up yourself in your interactions with people in your serving people and in your ministry to people, to be more open to them is a learning that I’ve had over the years. Not that I perform in that capacity as fully as I should, but that’s definitely a goal – is to do that. I’ve learned a lot over the years and I think I’ve been better for my ability to open up a wave from the restrictions that the institutional church has had placed on us in so many ways.

MJC:   You think your involvement with other women in pursuit of trying to reform the church gave you a lot of satisfaction.

JOR:  Oh my gosh yes. I still see this day coming. Certainly now we’ve got the women who are functioning as Roman Catholic Women Priests without the blessing of the church and then you’ve got those still pushing for it within the church. But oddly enough the conversations that I’ve had with some of the women who are functioning as Roman Catholic Women Priests are parroting the church’s anti-abortion doctrine.

The whole concept of integrating women’s experience into the teachings of the church is not going to come overnight just by putting a robe on a woman. The whole concept of clericalism – and this is in some ways the ordination of women – still maintains that concept. So, there’s all of the nuances of all of that. But it’s such a long, centuries long, transformation and process. I’ve just been able to do whatever little bitty thing I’ve been called to do. And I do see it as a as a calling. That bold child thing. It was kind of funny because it made me feel like I was doing something wrong, but all the while I felt like I’ve been doing something right.

MJC:  Bold child turning into bold woman.

JOR:  I’ve been really lucky and able to have people like yourself and Nancy Wittig and even Dagmar Celeste and Margaret Conway. All the women I worked with when I was at Planned Parenthood. The younger women in the field department. Oh my gosh, the tremendous people I’ve met along the way. It’s been such a wonderful experience all total that I’ve been so grateful for.

MJC:  Wonderful. Thank you, Jane.