Patricia Macy

As Interviewed by Catherine Bircher, March 18, 2018

Patricia Macy: In Her Own Words

Do you know anyone personally who was a good friend of yours that was affected by lack of food or money?

Yes and no. When I was growing up my dad had an office -- he was a lawyer, and he had an office. And it was upstairs. And the next set of stairs was a couple of apartments there. And there was the man who was... He’d come down on the street and he’d shine shoes. And so when my sister and I weren’t in school, we’d stay with my mom. And my mom worked with my dad. And he had his little grandson -- was always there. And so they lived in poverty right next to where my dad’s office was. And so we played with them a lot and got to know ‘em, and got to find out how things were going and doing. And, his way of life -- you can’t know that unless you build a relationship with someone. And then there was somebody at our school that had a scholarship and we'd go over to their house and -- they're just like me.

And, kind of going back to the, did that lead your decision to work at the Social Justice Ministries? Did that give you, like, more perspective on things?

I think so because if you only know people living in poverty as “them,” or the other, or someone who's on the street, or someone who’s begging, or someone like that, and you never have a conversation with them and find out, they’re just like me. They just don’t have the money like me. The don’t have the skill set like me. They don’t have the education like me. They don't have a mom and dad like so many of us have. They don't have that structure of a family. But when you get to know them and get to talk to them. They're no different. They're no different than we are. And that’s where God comes in. Because that helps us to realize: I need to get to know them, because I'm not better than they are.

Does your faith as a Catholic impact your opinion on poverty?

Yes, it makes me work harder for it -- to stop it. To do advocacy work, that’s the other thing we do here at St. Austin’s and Social Justice. We do a lot of advocacy work both on the federal level and the state level. And the city level. We do that also at the state legislature. We fight against abortion. We fight against payday loans. We try to get people to understand that healthcare is a right. We need to be healthy. You can’t expect people to work when they’re sick. And that’s what’s happening -- is that people that don't have healthcare, they go to work and get everyone else infected with their flu or whatever else because they can't not turn up at work because then they'll get fired. So it's this vicious circle.

Okay, that’s it!

Okay, Cool!