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Bridget Flood

Bridget McDermott Flood has been the executive director of the Incarnate Word Foundation since its inception in 1998. Her passion is bringing the Sisters’ relational vision of the world to the Foundation’s work in neighborhoods and community. She is the author of Blue Hole Wisdom: My Journey with the Sisters. Current Incarnate Word Foundation initiatives include STL Youth Jobs, a summer youth employment program; place-based work using the Neighborhood Enrichment Trust model; RECON, an on-going program to promote civil discourse and racial equity; Food Innovation, a collaborative to promote new products related to food access; and Shut It Down, a public schools/juvenile justice collaborative to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system by preventing school suspension.

Bridget graduated from St. Louis University with a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs. Under the Obama administration, she served on the White House Task Force to Reform the Neighborhood and Faith-Based Office. Bridget has also served on national review panels for HHS, the Dept. of Justice and the Department of Education. She also serves on the board of Headwaters, a nature sanctuary in San Antonio sponsored by the Incarnate Word Sisters, and on the executive committee of FADICA, Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities. Prior to serving at the Foundation, Bridget led the Today and Tomorrow Foundation of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and she also worked at the Catholic Health Association.

You can access Bridget’s writings on her blog, www.blueholewisdom.org. She is a life-long South St. Louisan and also a ceramic artist at Carondelet Pottery, her studio in South St. Louis, as well as a beekeeper and quilter. Her email address is: bridget.flood@iwfdn.org

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?

I am called by NETWORK’s mission of justice and peace.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?

  • Beekeeping
  • Ceramics
  • Fiber Art

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Jennifer Owens-Jofré, Ph.D.

Jennifer Owens-Jofré, PhD, currently serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of San Diego. She is a Catholic theologian and lay ecclesial minister whose academic writing has appeared in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology, Anglican Theological Review, and the International Journal of Practical Theology. Dr. Owens-Jofré is crafting a manuscript based on her dissertation research with lay Latina leaders at Dolores Mission Parish, the working title of which is Taking Up la Virgen’s Mantle: A Theology of Accompaniment (Convivium Press, forthcoming). She co-edited From the Pews in the Back: Young Women and Catholicism (Liturgical Press, 2009), and more of her popular pieces can be found at Commonweal, the Political Theology Network, and America. Drawing on ministry experience in Catholic communities across the United States, Dr. Owens-Jofré also teaches in parish settings and offers professional development workshops for those in ministry, especially for those who would like to work with young adults, develop cultural competency skills for Hispanic ministry, and cultivate spiritual practices that root our commitments to anti-racism.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
NETWORK’s ongoing practices of communal action and reflection call me to this work, as does its rich history of Catholic women’s leadership. Collaborating with others at NETWORK is one way to live into our baptismal commitments to be priestly, prophetic, and regal.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?

  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Making music
  • Dancing
  • Spending time outdoors, especially near the water.

Hometown: Cypress, California
Ancestral Place: Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Rachelle Reyes Wenger, MPA

Rachelle Reyes Wenger began serving as Chair of the NETWORK Lobby Board of Directors in 2020, after co-chairing its Development Committee. She is wife, mom, daughter, sister, and companion to family’s 12 year old German Shepherd. As an immigrant from the Philippines, the journey to discover the meaningfulness of home and family continues to expand. Love of Earth and humankind at the core of what calls her to a vocation in advocacy.

Ms. Wenger is the System Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Engagement for CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest, private, not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation with 140 hospitals across 21 states. She is primarily responsible for advancing the organization’s Public Policy & Advocacy Priorities at the local, state, national, and international arenas. She manages policy issues core to CommonSpirit Health’s commitment to its foundational priorities focused on social and environmental determinants of health. Her portfolio includes: health equity, economic and racial justice, immigration, housing and homelessness, climate change and the environment, food security. She serves on various hospital and community boards and committees. Through strong collaborations and speaking platforms, Ms. Wenger has worked to successfully provide the healthcare voice in support of landmark legislation and strategic initiatives while inspiring community and industry engagement to raise their voices in solidarity on common ground issues. Her work with CommonSpirit has led her to NETWORK and has enjoyed the many years of collaboration.

Ms. Wenger received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in Public Administration at California State University, Northridge.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
While work has led me to the organization, this broader sense of calling to live in/through/out faith is what keeps me engaged in NETWORK. Raised as a Catholic, I’m learning that faith is not one to take for granted. It’s an invitation to be in relationship with creation, discover the meaningfulness of connection and common good, seek justice and proclaim the “Amen!” With where the world is today, the reality of systemic and structural racism continues and is heartbreaking. This time calls for leadership and prophetic voices, if we are to lift up humanity and live in faith-full-ness. I’m inspired by NETWORK’s commitment and the Sister Spirit that enlivens action.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?
This question comes at a time when we’re still making our way through a pandemic. I enjoy traveling and can’t wait to do more of that. I continue to love the visual, literary and culinary arts. I’ve surprised myself of late how gardening has awakened joy and peace. Even with tired Zoom eyes, I’m invigorated when looking out the window I see the butterflies, hummingbirds, and bunnies delight in the plants and flowers that were once in my hands.

Location: Los Angeles

John Noble

John is currently the development director at Pax Christi USA. Before his work with Pax Christi, John was a digital organizer working on issues of economic, racial, and environmental justice with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, where he was a proud union member of CWA Local 7102. Before that, John attended divinity school in Texas and served as the communications coordinator for Pastors for Texas Children, a statewide organization mobilizing Texas faith leaders to support robust public school funding and resist legislative attempts to drain public school funding through vouchers, charterization, and privatization.

John’s volunteer work includes participation in Catholic movements for LGBTQ+ inclusion, gender equality at all levels of church leadership, racial justice, and reproductive justice. He has also worked as a tutor, a food service worker, a barista, and a communications consultant for progressive ecumenical and interfaith organizations.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
I am inspired by the prophetic witness of Catholic sisters who have built transformative coalition movements with their fellow laypeople to change the church and the world for the better.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?
I’m a theology nerd, but when I’m not brushing up on liberation theology texts, I can be found jogging, organizing for justice in the church and my local community, and spending time with my spouse Quinn and our 2 dogs.

Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Michelle P. Scott

Michelle P. Scott is a New York attorney with extensive experience and expertise in taxation, corporate governance, financial and nonprofit law, and federal and state government relations. Early in her career, she practiced tax law with private law firms in Washington, D.C. and New York City and served as legislation counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress. For over 18 years, Michelle was Vice President & Corporate Counsel for Prudential Financial, responsible for significant investment transactions and tax planning for the international financial firm, and served as General Counsel of The Prudential Foundation.

Michelle subsequently was appointed Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary if the East-West Management Institute (EWMI), a NGO that conducts civil society, rule of law, and economic development programs in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. After leaving EWMI, she was elected to its Board of Directors and became the Board’s Chairman, a position she continues to hold. She also served as Vice President, General Counsel & Assistant Secretary of the National Audubon Society and General Counsel & Assistant Secretary of FAIR Health, Inc.

Michelle has spoken and written extensively on tax and nonprofit law and is a contributor on taxation, healthcare policy, and government affairs for Investopedia. A long-term member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section, she was appointed to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue’s Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt Organizations.

Michelle belongs to the National Steering Committee for the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School and has served on the Boards of Directors of The Transition Network and The Associated Blind. She has worked on political campaigns and voting rights teams in New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Harvard Law School.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
The energy, enthusiasm and effectiveness of Network members, staff, and leaders in translating spiritual and moral values and purpose into practical policy and programs to benefit the underserved and the greater community are inspirational.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?
An active volunteer for civic, political, and educational causes, Michelle is a frequent theatre-goer, avid tennis player, and above all, a very fortunate and dedicated sister and aunt.

Location: New York City, New York

Alice Gerdman, CDP

Sister Alice is a long term educator and advocate for peace and justice issues. Commitment to Catholic Social Justice Teaching is her inspiration for reflection and action. Through this lens, she has worked with religious communities of women and men, numerous faith-based groups, and caring individuals and groups on local, national and global concerns. Sister Alice has spread the message as an adjunct university faculty, through programs and workshops of a variety of issues, and in the media. As Coordinator of Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati for 22 years, she initiated and coordinated various efforts including peace camps for children, a dialogue process for teens and adults, and a bringing together of families with loved ones facing execution. By organizing educational programs, rallies, protests, prayer vigils, and lobbying opportunities she facilitated the efforts of concerned persons to learn about and become involved in efforts to bring about systemic change. Sister Alice works for immigration reform, an end to racism, abolition of the death penalty, and for nonviolence initiatives. Sister Alice is a member of the Congregation of Divine Providence of Kentucky and chairs their Peace and Justice Committee. She serves on NETWORK’s Development Committee.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
NETWORK’s educational programs and lobbying efforts continue to motivate Sister Alice. She has utilized NETWORK’S thoughtful, clear and value based information for many years. It just keeps being needed.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?
She loves reading, painting, cooking (especially desserts), and appreciates the many unexpected adventures life brings.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Alejandra Marroquin

Alejandra is a native of Guatemala, she has been living in the United States over twenty years. Over the span of fifteen years, she has been working in the non-profit sector serving low-income families and working closely with the Latino Community in Lackawanna County. Some of Alejandra’s recent passions are to work on issues of diversity and inclusion and access to mental health services. She works at Lackawanna County as the Adult Behavioral Health Coordinator, where she works with mental health providers. Prior to her current position, Alejandra worked at Friendship House in the children’s behavioral health department. She was the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator at Catholic Social Services. Alejandra holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Penn State and is a social work alumna from Marywood University. She lives in Dunmore, PA.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
The mission, the policy work and the sister spirit calls me to NETWORK. I find inspiration in listening to the people I served, I also find inspiration from the IHM (Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton) sisters.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?

  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Exercising
  • Trying out new restaurants

Hometown: Guatemala
Current Location: Dunmore, Pennsylvania

Sarah Marin

Sarah is a retired CPA and holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Denver and an MBA in Finance and Corporate Strategy from the University of Michigan. She has many years of experience in CPA firms supporting small businesses with audit, tax and management consulting. After earning her MBA, she spent 15 years with Hewlett-Packard and its spin-off Agilent Technologies working in Business Analysis, Acquisitions, Business Planning and Reporting, Corporate Communications, Project Management and College Recruiting. Upon leaving HP/Agilent, Sarah built a CPA practice serving nonprofits and small businesses. Her recently retired from her position as the Director of Finance and Human Resources for a small network of charter high schools serving at-risk students in Denver.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
The social and racial justice issues that NETWORK works to address represent the acute and immediate needs of people in our country who often do not have a voice. I feel called to help with the efforts to ease their struggles and their suffering.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?
I enjoy all that Colorado has to offer – hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting, skiing and snow hiking. I also enjoy gardening, traveling, visiting my family in Puerto Rico, reading and NFL football. But my favorite thing to do is spend time with my twin grandsons born in August 2020!

Hometown: Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Midwest.
Current Location: Denver, Colorado

Robbie Pentecost, OSF

Sr. Robbie Pentecost, OSF, has served the Appalachian region for the past 26years, providing tools and resources for the empowerment of women and their communities. Her commitment to God’s Creation flows from her Franciscan heritage and is evidenced by her organizing work to save people and their communities in Appalachia and beyond. She currently serves as Executive Director for the New Opportunity School for Women based in Berea, KY and is a Fellow with the Center for Women, Faith and Leadership which is part of the Institute for Global Engagement. She recently joined the Board of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice based in Washington, D.C. Sister Robbie has been a member of the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana for over 30 years and holds a B.S. in Finance and Accounting from Missouri State University and an MBA from St. Louis University.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
I grew up in the era of banner making religious education and like so many of my peers somehow the seeds of Catholic Social Teaching crept into my soul. As a young sister I was introduced to NETWORK and have been a member for over 30 years so service on the board came naturally. NETWORK creates a community seeking justice together and it is in this community that I find inspiration for this work.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?
As a Franciscan nature is where I can best pray, be restored and use my creative juices. It is also at the heart of Appalachian culture which is why I have rooted myself in the hills and hollows of eastern Kentucky for over 26 years. Protecting God’s creation comes as a priority for me, along with raising up women’s voices. Gardening, hiking, planting, mowing, watering all bring me great joy — along with cooking with the many fruits of the earth.

Location: Berea, Kentucky

Anne S. Li

Anne’s extensive experience encompasses both community-based, nonprofit and for-profit enterprises. As executive director for ten years of New Jersey Community Loan Fund, now New Jersey Community Capital, she was responsible for attracting and managing capital and deploying it into sustainable community-based housing, childcare, small business and other community-based projects. She led resource development efforts for Catholic Legal Immigration Network and Prosperity Now, formerly CFED. Previously she was a risk manager for a multinational corporation and an employee benefits consultant. Now retired from professional employment, she continues to be active in a variety of social justice, parish and interfaith efforts.

What calls you to NETWORK? Where do you find inspiration in this work?
NETWORK embodies God’s call for us to love one another in a most concrete and positive manner. It is a privilege and a joy to be a part of NETWORK’s community: building anew our shared body and letting the Spirit shine forth to all.

What do you like to do outside of NETWORK?
Anne and her husband, Ed Muldoon, enjoy the outdoors by walking the golf course and spending time with grandchildren and other family. Anne volunteers at the Naples Botanical Garden to learn about the precious flora and fauna of the Everglades region of southwest Florida.

Location: Naples, FL