Originally from Kentucky, Clements moved to the Fox Valley 20 years ago and worked at Lawrence University for 16 years. “One day, out of the blue, my job was eliminated. A friend of a board member at Womankind called me and asked if I would come here. I always prayed, ‘I can’t wait to retire so I can go to daily Mass.’ God answered my prayer. God made it happen that I didn’t have to retire and I can go to daily Mass. It’s a great way to start the day.”
The executive director position Clements holds at Womankind is paid, but she puts in many hours above and beyond her required time, spreading the word about respecting life. While she tries to save time on the weekends to spend with her three grandchildren, in her outreach role educating the community she gives tours of the facility after hours and does speaking engagements promoting Womankind when needed.
Her other volunteer work is also geared towards life issues. She is on the respect life and social concerns committees at St. Pius X Parish. Recently she helped with the pro-life rally held at St. Joseph Middle School, where Ryan Scott Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, spoke, and she was the liaison for the annual diocesan Respect Life Mass celebrated at her parish by Bishop Ricken. Whenever help is needed in the pro-life area, Clements is more than willing to step forward.
Both of the parish committees on which Clements serves are quite active, even if the number of volunteers is small. “Each September the respect life committee puts on the eucharistic procession. It’s very powerful to see those people walking and praying. We participate in the 40 Days for Life. We do the rose sale at Mother’s Day. We help fund the trips if our priests go to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. We maintain the pro-life brochures and everything in the church.”
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: M.J. Clements
Parish: St. Pius X, Appleton
Favorite saint: Blessed Mother Teresa
Words to live by: “God doesn’t call us to be successful; he calls us to be faithful.”
The social concerns committee focuses on helping the poor, said Clements. “It’s mostly educating our parish about the different organizations we support. Our parish takes up a social concerns collection each month. We want to educate the parishioners where the money is going. The social concerns committee will ask for information from the organization to make sure it’s all in line with our mission and Catholic teaching.” A few of the organizations they’ve helped include COTS, Catholic Youth Expeditions, and Mother and Unborn Baby Care.
Clements is also an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and has been an RCIA sponsor three times at St. Pius.
A quote from Blessed Mother Teresa, “God doesn’t call us to be successful; he calls us to be faithful,” helps sustain Clements’ work in the pro-life arena.
“I have to think of that here. It can be very trying when you know a baby’s life isn’t going to be saved,” she said. “But (it’s great) to be at a place that you can start your day in prayer. We pray for these women who come in here. That is what they truly need: to have Jesus in their lives. There are days that you feel defeated but there are days that are just wonderful. It’s so rewarding.”