Imelda Maurer is a Sister of Divine Providence, San Antonio. With experience as a secondary classroom teacher and later a community organizer with sugarcane farmworkers and later with textile workers in Appalachia, she brings this same passion for advocacy to her present ministry, In Service to Our Own, a nonprofit organization of which she is founder and director. Its vision is: "Bringing our rich legacy of ministry to others — competent, compassionate, creative, visionary and prophetic — to the ministry of service to our own." She holds a master's degree in gerontology and licensure as a nursing home administrator.
The one and only prejudice that every living person is subject to is ageism: judging, characterizing a person or a group based on age. This prejudice — based on false myths — is largely unrecognized in our society.
Sr. Ann Margaret O'Hara's story — living in her congregation's health care facility after a stroke, experiencing a nursing home as a patient — challenges us not to look away from her witness, or others' experiences in different settings.
Given the accomplishments of women religious in educating women, founding schools and creating a health care system, what if, now that we ourselves are largely older, sisters across the country started taking a serious look at aging, if we read and discussed and debunked the stereotypes of old age? We could help create a more age-equitable culture.