Leader Spotlight: Ginny Shrappen

Ginny Schrappen is a native of St. Louis and has been involved with the Catholic Church her entire life. She is a leader within Missouri Gamaliel affiliate, Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU). Ginny became active around social justice within the Church when she was in college during Vatican II. Ginny is a member of Mary Mother of the Church in St. Louis County, Missouri. 

How did your work with Gamaliel begin? 

About 10 years ago the MCU president at the time came to our church for a visit. Mary Mother of the Church was built after Vatican II to be an innovative and welcoming parish. Because of this, Gamaliel and MCU was appealing to us and to our vision as a Catholic Church. We held listening sessions to find where our congregation could fit within MCU. I was part of the core team at the Church from the beginning, as well as the human rights chair. 

How is Gamaliel’s Fire of Faith Campaign linked to Catholic social teaching? 

Everything that we do at Gamaliel addresses the dignity of each person. Helping our neighbor and doing what we do within Gamaliel is at the very core of Catholic Social Teaching. We are able to look at Catholic Social Teaching through many different lenses. For example, we look at the aspect of welcoming your neighbor through immigration. At our Church, we are welcoming other congregations to engage in conversation around immigration reform and learning from one another. Another important part of our work with MCU is providing shelter and basic needs for those in our community. We are also working for the rights of those with disabilities and for fair housing in Missouri. Everything we do revolves around caring for our neighbor just as we are taught to do within the Catholic Church. 

How has Gamaliel training supported your growth as a leader and organizer? 

I have been to multiple trainings and gained many skills from each experience. The very first training I went to was soon after President Obama was elected and there could not have been a better time for me to participate in a Gamaliel training. I was in the midst of a transition within my life and I was able to discover more of myself and my voice at leadership training. I was also able to share my story for the first time. I dragged my feet to go to training and argued that younger people should attend. I did not think that it was my time to be a leader, but looking back, I truly believe that making the decision to go to training was one of the most positive choices I have ever made. I encourage others to go and bring the tools they gain back to their congregations and communities.

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