Nancy and Dick Bureson

COUNTRY: El Salvador and United States Border
FOCUS: Education, Civil and Human Rights

Nancy and Dick are originally from Montana, but came to MKLM from La Jolla, CA. There they were very active in their parish, Mary Star of the Sea in the Diocese of San Diego.

Nancy is a desktop publisher, landscape photographer and artist, who has owned and managed several small businesses. She is a community activist and has served numerous community organizations as a board member and committee chairperson, including the La Jolla Town Council. Dick has nearly 30 years experience as a risk management consultant and international brokerage executive and is a Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). He and Nancy also served for 5 years as co-chairs of a shelter for homeless families. Dick has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Montana, did undergraduate work at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, France, and graduate study at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Dick and Nancy served their first three and a half years as Maryknoll Lay Missioners working with the poor in El Salvador. In El Salvador they participated on a parish pastoral team and coordinated the marriage preparation and developed marriage support groups along with other pastoral outreach.

After serving in El Salvador, Dick and Nancy continued their work with MKLM by creating a new and vibrant ministry on the San Diego/Tijuana border: Church without Borders. The project goal was to develop Mission Awareness through a Mission Education seminar, a short-term “Border Reality Experience” and a follow-up reflection leading to a Gospel Response. Their diocese, situated as it is along the U.S.-Mexico border, was in a unique position to build awareness and action about the challenges on the border. The Buresons, worked collaboratively with the Diocese of San Diego, they designed a program for parishioners of the local diocese, those of neighboring dioceses, and other people of faith to learn about and to participate in mission on the border.

The methodology involved awareness seminars, immersion experiences in Tijuana and follow-up reflection on economic and social justice issues, using the prism of Catholic Social Teaching. The program provided thousands of people, including principals of Catholic schools, journalists, and representatives of the Vatican, the opportunity to visit and hear from the most marginalized people on the border. In addition, Church Without Borders advocated for policy changes and facilitated much needed financial and material support to those most impacted by the poverty through their education program (Education Opens Doors) and through the blanket and home weatherproofing program (Project Under Cover).

Dick was an original member of the MKLM Board of Directors. He brought his business background and investment knowledge to the board as it was forming. Also both of them set up the current MKLM church date program.

They are now retired and enjoying family, especially their grandkids. After retirement, Nancy and Dick continued to do parish presentations and fundraising. They are both very effective speakers and promoters.