MaryKay Meeks-Hank shares her journey from serving in sisterhood to servitude for the marginalized population of East Germantown, a suburb of Philadelphia.
About Mary Kay
Mary Kay Meeks Hank is a former nun who turned adjunct professor at LaSalle University where she taught on marriage and family, sociology of work, work and family and social movements.
She is now the Executive Director of Face to Face Germantown, human service organization offering free meals, health, legal and social services for the marginalized population. Her deepest passion is for creating and sustaining meaningful relationships.
Mary Kay started her adult life thinking she wanted to become a nun. She went to college for one year and then joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill. Growing up in a traditional Catholic family, she had a strong sense of faith and spirituality. She thought that joining the sisterhood was her path for life. Until, she was on assignment and met someone that changed her life.
Her now husband was a priest whom she was working for. As Mary Kay was working for him and at the same time teaching him what she had learned from a spiritual perspective that he had not been talk the two fell in love.
This was not something that either of them too, lightly. There was much discernment and a lot of consideration and advice seeking before the two decided to leave their lives as a nun and priest.
The two were eventually married and now have two grown daughters. During the first few years of marriage Mary Kay finished her degrees. She worked in the foster care system for many years and then became an adjunct professor at LaSalle University.
Thirteen years ago a friend from Sisters of St. Joseph reached out to her and asked her to interview for the Executive Director role at Face to Face. She got the job and is still their serving the marginalized population of East Germantown, a suburb of Philadelphia.
Thoughts from Mary Kay
Mary Kay leads the staff and volunteers of Face to Face to treat the guests with respect that is simply their due. “Mutuality is probably the least understood, but most significant of the values. We interact in a way that evidences our belief that the humanity we share far outweighs all the differences society may construct.”
“Just as Queen Elizabeth has no more idea of the lives we live than we do of the desperately poor.”
The guests at Face to Face are an array of people, some who have made poor decisions, have been victims of circumstances or have mental illness. Many of the lives are the result of inner generational poverty.
Many of the same bad choices are made in upper and middle class families but there is a safety net, there is family and there is money and resources. When you don’t have resources or access to good treatment you can’t move forward.
The crack epidemic ruined urban black America. Entire families were using crack, not just the young, but the parents, the grandparents and the great grandparents. It kept communities form functioning prosperously.
Now we hear about the opioid crisis. It doesn’t tend to affect black communities as much as white and Hispanic communities. The opioid crisis is considered a health crisis where the crack crisis was a criminal justice problem.
Mary Kay is an example that anyone can start a journey and then change directions while still fulfilling their passions and serving the population they are called to serve. She went from serving in the sisterhood to servitude, as an executive of a non-profit organization.
To learn more about Mary Kay and Face to Face Germantown
LinkedIn: MaryKay Meeks-Hank
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