Patricia M. Bombard is a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Dubuque, Iowa. She has a doctorate of ministry, has worked in various capacities in the areas of business, politics, journalism and higher education administration, and taught at St. Xavier and Loyola Universities in Chicago. Having taught or traveled extensively in Australia, China, Ecuador, India, Ireland, Kenya, South Africa, and the Philippines, she is currently directing DePaul University's Vincent on Leadership: The Hay Project, which conducts research, training, and education furthering the leadership legacy of Saint Vincent de Paul.
The pope's appointment of women as full members of the Vatican office for religious orders includes Sr. Kathleen Appler, of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The Daughters continue a legacy of pioneering leadership started by co-founder St. Louise de Marillac.
Stop and think about what makes a person "authentic." Now, do the same with "spiritual." Finally, think of what characterizes a good "leader." Are there any traits in common? Keep them in mind as we explore scriptural passages about Mary.
At age 65, and as one of the "younger" members of an aging and shrinking congregation of women religious in the United States, I have found myself called and gifted to be part of emerging programs in leadership development for young sister leaders in China and East Africa. These experiences are part of my work at DePaul University in Chicago as director of Vincent on Leadership: The Hay Project based on the leadership legacy of St. Vincent de Paul.