The National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper that describes itself as being Catholic publication led by laity, has released a list of what it describes as “12 Catholic women under 40 who are making a difference in the church.” The left-leaning publication has long been one of the premier outlets among Catholics in the U.S. and has considerable influence. One of its leading reporters, John Allen, is a widely known must-read journalist for his reporting, books, and insights into the Vatican and Church affairs. Other leading NCR writers are retired Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and Sister Joan Chittister.
In a blurb describing the list of influential and young Catholic women, NCR writer Zoe Ryan noted “we asked contributors and readers to nominate Catholic women in the U.S. under the age of 40 whose work has greatly impressed them.” According to a news release, Ryan led the team of advisors who looked at the many nominations received to then finally select the twelve. Said Ryan, “We looked for a diversity of ministries, interests and careers to really showcase the impressive work of women who are passionate about their faith. I believe we found outstanding people.”
Described as among the 12 women “making a difference in the church” is Heather R. Mizeur, a delegate to Maryland’s General assembly for Montgomery County, near Washington D.C. Mizeur’s website notes that she is “a dynamic force working in Annapolis to implement progressive solutions to the challenges Maryland faces. In her time as a state legislator, she has led successful efforts to improve family planning services for women, expand …and secure marriage equality and other protections for LGBT families.” Mizeur previously worked for three Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was also Senator John Kerry’s domestic policy advisor and, according to her website, was “the principal architect of his 2004 presidential campaign’s health care reform agenda.” She also managed the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign in Maryland, and was appointed to the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee by President Obama in 2009.
Her website gives an insight into her personal life. It notes that she lives in Takoma Park MD with her “spouse,” Deborah Veres, along with a dog named Chester. In a video, Mizeur describes Veres as her “wife.” Besides their consulting business, they also run an organic herb farm in Maryland.
In the bio provided by NCR about Mizeur, some of the above information was not noted. The NCR bio, says that Mizeur “has a passion for service, connected to her love for Christ and the social justice teachings of the church. As a teenager, she was respected by elders and given leadership roles as a eucharistic minister and lector, chair of the Altar and Rosary Society, and member of the parish council. She keeps a commitment to the Catholic beliefs of love, peace and social justice.”
The bio describes Mizeur as a lesbian and a “leader in the debate over same-sex marriage in Maryland. In March, the bill to legalize same-sex marriage passed.” The bio goes on to quote Mizeur: “Build a church with open doors, not folded arms.” Mizeur says, “A church as enlightened as its Creator. A church whose greatest commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself.”