International Women's Day 2015

By Lois Shaw, Executive Director

In honor of Mary Douglas

This year my mother, Mary Douglas, turns 95 and today I honor her as a great, generous and godly woman. Here she is with Eliot, one of her five great-grandsons.

The theme of International Women’s Day this year is #MakeItHappen. And that pretty much sums up my mother. 

When she was 55 my father passed away. They were best friends and she grieved profoundly. But after a short time passed I remember her saying, “The only way to get on with life is to invest in others and stop thinking about myself.” And so she did. She gave of her time, her energy and her finances to help and encourage others. She visits and encourages “the elderly,” not perturbed by the fact that she is older than most of them! She prays daily for many, many people.

Her five children have travelled all over the world and have been engaged in missions, education, relief and development, and she never once made us feel like we had abandoned her. At one exciting point, three of her children and one son-in-law summited Mount Kilimanjaro together, and she was our cheerleader. 

Younger women love to be with my mother and there is a regular train of these women who come to her little apartment for tea and encouragement. She still loves to bake and serve. Although we grew up relatively poor, Mother somehow made us all feel privileged. I now realize how much she sacrificed so we could have a new boots or a prom dress. I’m not sure exactly how she did it, but for her family, her friends and so many others she simply #MadeItHappen.

She empowered the next generation and we hardly even noticed. 

I’m so proud of you, Mother!