About 300 people joined us when Jim and Mary Towey spoke about “Sainthood & Service: Our Relationship with St. Teresa of Calcutta & Our Time in the White House” during St. Alphonsus Parish’s Faith on Fire evening on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the Ryan Center.

Jim Towey is the president of Ave Maria University in Florida. He and his wife Mary were friends of St. Teresa of Calcutta, and Jim served as her legal advisor.

Jim is also a former senior advisor to President George W. Bush. As director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2002 to 2006, Mr. Towey tracked billions of dollars in federal grants that were awarded annually to faith-based charities serving the poor. His bipartisan collaborations led more than 30 governors to open offices to assist religious charities in their states, and he staffed presidential initiatives to assist drug addicts, prisoners re-entering society, and at-risk youth.

In 1985 Mr. Towey became personal friends with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and served as her legal counsel in the United States during the last 12 years of her life. He was a full-time volunteer for her for two years, living with her order of priests in their seminary in Tijuana, Mexico, and caring for the dying in her home for people with AIDS in Washington. Mr. Towey was a member of the official U.S. delegations sent to Mother Teresa’s funeral in Calcutta in 1997 and her beatification at St. Peter’s Basilica in 2003.

At the urging of Mother Teresa, Mr. Towey founded Aging with Dignity, a non-profit organization that helps families plan for and discuss end-of-life care. He created the widely popular advance directive Five Wishes, which has sold over 20 million copies and is available in 23 languages.

His frequent media appearances include The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the PBS News Hour and Fox News’ Fox and Friends.

Jim and Mary have five children and reside in the town of Ave Maria, Florida.

Also During Faith on Fire …

We also heard a witness talk from Mike Lukacs, who went through our RCIA program last year and came fully into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Barb Griffith spoke about our parish’s Bethlehem Haven Shelter Ministry that serves homeless women in Pittsburgh.

Music was performed by Annamarie Lovre (keyboards) & Friends with solos by Father Kevin and parish cantor April Shanahan. 

Refreshments for Faith on Fire were provided by the parish’s Hospitality Committee, which is chaired by Jenna Shanahan.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this event! Special thanks to Louis Bosco for filming and editing this video.