Once strangers, Mary Alice Dooley and I began the Sophia weekend program in the autumn 2002, a program into which she was instantly drawn. At the end of a long intense corporate career and series of cancer treatments, Mary Alice jumped into Sophia, found new life with restored vigor. The unfolding of Mary Alice inspired all who encountered her. Her winding-down and re-inventing process was one I was privileged to witness and partake. As she shared with me, Mary Alice went from the “consummate shopper, always trying to escape” to being deeply grounded in Earth and her beings.
The phrase ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ describes Mary Alice to a tee, as anyone attending a Summer Institute, where she has worked as a volunteer for the last 10 years, can attest. Since her 2004 graduation, her Earth-centered play/life is a creative, multi-faceted banquet upon which she feasts. Her master thesis on Creativity and her love of the Universe Story established a foundation from which she has soared. Without this base that “totally incredibly changed my life,” she knows that she “wouldn’t be singing or making cards or reading the books I do…it seems like my life would be so empty.”
So what is Mary Alice up to nowadays? In addition to creating and selling greeting cards, small books and other items that focus on the Universe Story, the Earth Charter and Thomas Berry’s The Great Work, she also creates rituals and liturgies that reflect and celebrate these subjects for others to experience. As an active participant in several Earth-centered groups including Sophia Center, Sisters of Earth and Carolyn McDade and Friends, she thrives with seemingly endless positive energy. In fact she is an active member of the Gaia Women of the Great Lakes Basin, a group of women from Canada and the US, that sings the music of Carolyn McDade, promoting social activism related to saving Earth and the children of all species. With all of this Mary Alice still finds time to learn the piano and the recorder. “With all my work in music, it is my effort to tap into the music of the Universe.”
When asked what is her most cherished memory in these last ten years, “My biggest thrill after graduation was meeting Thomas Berry six months before he died in 2009.” One of her Great Work cards graced the presence of Thomas who then invited her for a visit to his Greensboro, NC home. Clearly an ambassador for Earth, Mary Alice continues to incorporate the principles of the Earth Charter and the The Great Work into her own life – “most challenging of all.”
For more information about Mary Alice’s cards, please contact her firstname.lastname@example.org. Among her most popular are cards which unfold/open to reveal the Universe Story and blank cards with quotes from Thomas Berry and The Earth Charter.