Catherine “Kitty” Madden

COUNTRY: Nicaragua
FOCUS: Health

Kitty was born in Lansing, MI on Memorial Day! From early childhood, growing up in a bi-racial neighborhood she has been committed to working for social justice and peace. She graduated from St. Mary Cathedral High School in 1958. She has B.A in Psychology and Elementary Education from Mercy College of Detroit, 1965. She has a MA in Religious Studies and Social Ethics from University of Detroit, 1968 and a MSW from Wayne State University, 1972 with concentrations in community organization and Group work. Field placements with PACT (People Acting for Change Together) and Downriver Community Mental Health in Employee Assistance Programing.

Her journey continued with 12 years in a religious community working in Japan followed by work as an alcoholism therapist in Employee Assistance and outpatient hospital programs. Later while teaching social work in an interdisciplinary Human Services program at Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI (1975-1986), she helped to found a Peace Group – 1,000 CRANES- and a volunteer Hospice program. While on educational leave in Nicaragua in 1986, decided to help the people of Nicaragua who so lovingly taught her even in the midst of their own suffering related to the U.S. supported Contra war. Her initial commitment of a few years became a life time commitment! In 1990, with a group of women from Nicaragua, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Holland, she was privileged to help found the Casa Materna Mary Ann Jackman.

Kitty’s primary ministry as a Lay Missioner was the work with the mothers and staff of Casa Materna Mary Ann Jackman to provide services for high-risk pregnant women from rural communities in the northern Matagalpa region, Nicaragua, to reduce maternal and infant death. She helped to develop a fund-raising group called Friends of Casa Materna to help channel funds from U.S. friends to support the Casa’s mission.

Kitty worked closely with the Maryknoll sisters after the Lay Mission program left Nicaragua in 1996.

She also helped to develop an Affiliate Chapter in Managua, Nicaragua and have keep active with many Affiliate chapters throughout the U.S. and in Guatemala… have regularly attended bi-yearly Gatherings.

Kitty states: “my most key learning was about the vital importance of “accompaniment” – walking with the people as I continue to learn from them day by day by day… I have also learned the importance of listening well, putting people before things and staying focused on the Present Moment. I think of my ministry as Being a Bridge”

In Nicaragua Kitty continues to work as a volunteer in social work and international outreach with Casa Materna. In 27 years, the Casa Materna has welcomed over 17, 750 mothers. She says: “A good image for my life and work is that of a bridge.”

Kitty’s Hobbies are: walking in nature, reading and writing, including letter writing. She participates with the Maryknoll Affiliates at large and she is a Co-member of the Loretto Community, Nerinx, Kentucky.