“Here I am Lord, send me.” – Isaiah 6:8
I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 14, 1938. My father, Howell Ridley, a southerner, married my mother, Gladys Boylon, a northerner. My parents, older sister, younger brother, and I grew up in Grand Rapids.
From the age of five, Grand Rapids Dominicans have taught, inspired, and challenged me. I attended Marywood Academy K–12 and received my BA and MA from Aquinas College. I joined the Dominican Order in 1956. In all my ministries: charity and justice have been core to my being.
I have ministered as a Teacher, Elementary School Principal, Religious Education Coordinator, Pastoral Minister of Christian Service, Parish Social Action Coordinator, and Director of Christian Service for the Diocese of Kalamazoo (25 years). A priority in my diocesan ministry was to share the wisdom of Catholic Social Teaching and the Two Feet of Christian Service: Charity and Justice.
The ability to raise funds has been a blessing that allowed me to serve many populations in need. From 1987–2012, I worked on special programs with Michigan Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Home Missions, and Catholic Relief Services. As a grant writer, I contributed to raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund programs to assist migrants, raise scholarship monies, support heating assistance, fund Catholic Human Development projects, Project Rachel, Respect Life, and other Christian Service Ministries.
I’m passionate about raising awareness and advocating for human rights issues. I wrote for Charity and Justice Newsletter and The Good News about key issues including immigration reform, USCCB Faithful Citizenship, and more. I also worked with Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) advocating for key legislation to support human life and family, a more welcoming immigration policy, and to alleviate poverty.
In this 60th jubilee year I give heartfelt thanks to God, my family, my community, and the people who have accompanied me on my journey.