Celebrating her diamond jubilee this year, while continuing to lead and serve where needed, we are excited to honor Sr. Mary Pezold this month for our sister story highlight. As a woman who strives to be a living witness for peace and justice in our world, she has touched many lives over the past 60 years serving in both educational as well as pastoral settings.
Sr. Mary first worked as a teacher when she entered the Congregation, serving at St. Francis of Rome in Illinois, and later at both Incarnate Word Academy and Incarnate Word High School in various teaching and administrative positions. She spent over 20 years as a pastoral associate at St. Anselm parish in St. Louis and St. Joseph parish in Cottleville. She has also generously given of her time and talents to serve in leadership of the Congregation both provincially and in the Generalate, as well as on the US Ministry Council which she chaired up until last year.
Whether it’s working with students, faculty, staff, or families, Sr. Mary sees her ministry of teaching, leading, and accompanying as intimately connected to our collective work for peace, justice, and the care of creation. In her words, “I have had so many opportunities to share God’s presence. It is an incredible privilege to journey with others.”
Working in educational administration, she can see how a culture of peace, justice, and concern for creation permeates the whole curriculum and environment in our CCVI educational institutions. She has worked with faculty and staff over the years to help educate and train them to also be living witnesses to the peace and justice work they in turn encourage in the students. Everyone works together when it comes to service projects and social justice initiatives. She particularly enjoys getting to see the passion and energy that young people have for engaging in peace and justice work.
Sr. Mary Pezold currently serves as the Interim President of Incarnate Word Academy (IWA) in St. Louis, MO. She shared about the great work going on at IWA related to the area of JPIC. IWA has a diversity club, dialogue around issues of justice and peace is facilitated by the school’s guidance counselor, and they just recently started a book club inviting parents, students, faculty and staff to gather together to discuss Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. They also work to care for creation by recycling and caring for the beautiful campus and land around the school. Sr. Mary says, “We have to take every opportunity to help the school community be a light that radiates peace, show we can work together in our diversity, and promote a deep respect and inclusion for all.”
Incarnate Word Academy is blessed to have the leadership and living witness of Sr. Mary Pezold guiding them during these challenging times in our communities and country. As she prepares to celebrate 60 years as a vowed woman religious, she continues to give of her time, talents, and love to all she encounters. For a life and ministry that embodies the values of peace, justice, and the care of creation we offer our gratitude to Sr. Mary Pezold!
Originally published in CCVI’s Justice, Peace and Care for Creation’s Congregational Office blog.