Editor's note: Introducing NCRonline's blog series "Reader's Retrospective": A special project that commemorates NCR's 50th anniversary by telling the stories of readers who have been faithfully subscribing to the National Catholic Reporter since its beginning. Read about the project's origins here.
When Mary Ann Hain's husband of 57 years, Bob, died in 2013, she and their six children planned three funeral Masses celebrating his life in different yet equally meaningful locations: with intentional eucharistic communities in Boulder, Colo., and Stirling, N.J., and at Mount Saviour Monastery Community in Pine City, N.Y., where Hain and her husband became oblates four decades before.
Discovering NCR on her own in 1964 and deciding "that it was the right direction for us [so] we never turned back," Hain explained that NCR was what kept her in the church "in the struggle for renewal after Vatican II." If she skipped an issue or two, she would find herself missing NCR because "you couldn't get the same information anywhere else."
Conceding that raising preschoolers for 18 years and pursuing a college degree later in life prevented her from being more active in social justice efforts outside the home, Hain managed nonetheless to participate in numerous organizations and movements focused on education and outreach. Her activities included forming or facilitating adult faith formation programs and study groups in Elmira, N.Y., coordinating Call to Action groups in two states, and volunteering at the St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth, N.J.
After moving to Boulder in 2006, Hain and her husband toured Vietnam, as part of a group with NCR publisher Tom Fox. During these retirement years, they also discovered the intentional eucharistic community in the area.
Describing women's ordination as an issue that has become increasingly important, Hain also reflected on her and her husband's shared experience witnessing the ordinations of women priests across the United States since attending a Women's Ordination Worldwide conference in Dublin in 2001.
When asked her opinion on the most significant events in the church's history over the past 50 years, Hain responded, "Vatican II was suppressed for so many years and Francis is trying to turn things around. That we are the people of God. We are the church. And what if we meant what we said."