Mary P. Vincent – The Toast of the Town

Why would anyone want to toast or roast Mary P. Vincent?

If you have to ask that question you don’t know Mary. Combine the compassion of a saint with the free spirit of a coyote and you begin to get a sense of Mary. Throw in someone who loves donkey and penguin jokes, who hates injustice and war, who isn’t going to be silent about either of these passions and you have Mary Vincent.

The American Friends Service Committee has been blessed with Mary as a volunteer working with us to expose the human costs of war, chairing our fundraising committee, and enlivening our lives. At the September 12th toast honoring Mary’s service to our community she was toasted and lightly roasted by her family and friends. The 60 plus people there celebrated her with, “Mary stories,” penguin jokes, a KCMO proclamation naming the day, “Mary P. Vincent Day,” and uproarious laughter.

Here are a few comments from her tribute book and from the event:

Your light outshines the darkness. You shine like the sun and light the way for the rest of us.

– Much love, Linda & Jerry

Our sister may be roasted, but she’s sure no turkey! We’re proud of you, Mary!

-With love from, Louisa, Tom, Terry, Bill and Anola

Thanks for 18 years of weekly service to the poor as a kitchen supervisor in the St. James Place Community Kitchen.  …And Thanks for your giving and hopeful spirit. Congratulations on a life well lived (so far)!

-From All Your Friends at St. James Place.

Thank you for your long and faithful service and your shared commitment.

-Br. Louis Rodemann, FSC of Holy Family Catholic Worker House and a friend of Mary’s since her high school days.

Yes Mary shines, she serves, she’s no turkey and she has a hopeful spirit. AFSC and all of her friends are fortunate for her sharing herself with us.

————————

Mary was born the fourth of six children. She has two sisters and three brothers and lots of nephews and nieces. She is married to her delightful husband, Bob. She has two beautiful and brilliant children–her daughter, Jennifer, and her son, Matthew. She has three step-granddaughters–Christin, Taylor, and Hannah as well as her daughter-in-law, Amy. Mary often hangs out with her 97 year-old mom at Happy Hour at Grand Court.

Mary attended elementary school at St. James Catholic School and high school at Loretto Academy. She was graduated with honors with a degree in Psychology. She taught for eight years at Operation Discovery, ten years at St. Francis Xavier, and then subbed for a while. After “retiring” from teaching, she continued her education with art classes. She has become an accomplished artist and potter.

She was active in the Vietnam anti-war movement long before it was fashionable to do so. She was a founding member of the Iraq Task Force. She is a member of the KC program committee of the American Friends Service Committee and is fundraising committee chair.

The bulk of Mary’s time is spent helping others. In addition to her work with AFSC, she is a Monday Night Supervisor at St. James Place every Monday and shows up at Holy Family Catholic Worker every Wednesday. She volunteers at Ozanam’s greenhouse every Thursday afternoon. Around all of these things, she is the fundraising chair for St. James, one of the organizing forces of the bus-stop ministry and the knitting group at St. James.

She is a member of WOMEN OF THE DRUM. In the little time she has left, Mary enjoys throwing pots, practicing drumming, reading, gardening, yoga, taking Quincy Jones (her dog) on long walks, and cuddling with her cats, Newman and Weezie.

The guiding forces in her life are peace and justice for all. Her heroes are Dorothy Day, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Camille Pissarro and Cat Ballou.

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