"The Mother, the Redeemer and the
Holy Spirit," is how Fr. William Gibbons
referred to the trinity in a mothers' day
mass last month.
This startling departure from the
traditional Catholic liturgy is not an isolated instance. Catholic clergy in Houston
are becoming increasingly aware of
women's issues, thanks to the efforts of
the local chapter of St. Joan's Alliance,
a Catholic organization dedicated to
securing equality for women.
Last May 30, the feast day of St. Joan
of Arc, the Houston group presented
"Joanie awards" to clergy who have
worked to advance the status of women.
Gibbons received an award, as did Fr.
A. R. Doga, Fr. John Keller, Fr. John
Perusina, Fr. Jerry Winkelman and Rev.
Perusina is the first priest in the
Houston-Galveston diocese to hire a woman as a pastoral minister. Winkelman, a
high-school chaplain, has encouraged girls
to participate in a variety of liturgical
All the recipients were judged to have
shown a sensitivity to women's issues,
particularly by their use of non-sexist
language in the liturgy.
"We hoped by acknowledging those
who are doing some positive work, we
could also prod the ones who are standing
still," said spokesperson Janis Ross.
"We'll be starting this summer with a
session on how to handle anger," said
Ross, "because we think the next two
programs will generate some. In July
we'll take up what the early church
fathers thought and wrote about women.
In August, we'll explore contemporary
manifestations of misogyny, including
the political implications of rape."
St. Joan's Alliance is open to women
and men who support the organization's
goals. For information contact: Janis
Ross at 529-3488 or Sydney Moroney at
The jury awarded $10 million in punitive damages and $500,000 in actual
damages to the estate of Karen Silk-
wood in a suit against the Kerr-McGee
Corporation of Oklahoma City. Kerr-
McGee was accused of negligence in the
plutonium contamination of Silkwood's
apartment in November, 1974.
The jury's decision against Kerr-
McGee could set a precedent that will
allow residents contaminated by the
Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania to take legal action of their own,
which could result in more jury decisions
against the nuclear industry.
Judge Frank G. Theis, commenting on
the jury's decision, said, "I don't think
it's fair to say that nuclear power is on
trial, but I think it's fair to ask the jury
to send the nuclear industry a message."
Silk wood was killed in a mysterious
one-car accident while en route to give a
New York Times reporter documentation
on safety problems at the Kerr-McGee
plant in Oklahoma. The documents were
never found, the evidence indicating
another car forced Silkwood's off the
road was presented at the trial.
Page Lawson, director of Volunteer Services at the University of Texas M.D.
Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, has been named the first recipient
of the Joan Hanlon Memorial Award for
Outstanding Professionalism in the field
of volunteer administration. This award
honors the late Joan Hanlon, former
director of the Volunteer Action Center
of Houston, who died earlier this year.
Since Lawson became director of
volunteers in 1973, she has increased the
number of volunteers from 250 to over
700 and has expanded the number of
department programs from 18 to 33. The
volunteers contribute over 6,000 hours
each week to provide service and care to
cancer patients at the Institute.
A graduate in psychology at Louisiana
State University, Lawson serves as president of the Houston Area Council of
Staff Directors of Hospital Volunteers,
and is a former board member for the
Volunteer Action Center. She is also a
member of the M.D. Anderson Chaplaincy Committee.
Former White House aide Midge Costanza
is coming to Houston to join in the celebration of Gay Pride Week, June 22-30.
She will appear at a gathering in Spotts
Park on Buffalo Bayou following the Gay
Pride Parade on Westheimer. Also appearing will be Jean O'Leary of the National
Gay Task Force, Houston Congressman
Mickey Leland, and San Francisco City
Supervisor Harry Britt.
As the first woman to hold the title
of Assistant to the President, her frequently quoted comments on women's
rights, human rights and the ERA provided much of the liberal veneer the current presidency enjoyed in its early
months. Costanza astounded the nation
by inviting gay leaders to her White
House office to discuss problems facing
gay Americans. She held the position for
20 months, resigning in the wake of a
power play among Carter's top aides.
Three Houston businesswomen were
honored on June 12 by the Greater
Houston Chapter of Women in Communications for outstanding contributions to
Hazel McKee and Marie Oser were
elected 1979 Matrix honorees and Susan
Bischoff received the Headliner award.
McKee is assistant vice president and
manager of women's services at First
City National Bank of Houston. In 1976,
she established the women's services
department, the first of its kind in
Oser is founder and executive director
of Texas Child Care '76 Inc., a nonprofit organization which promotes
public awareness of child care. She also
serves on the U.S. Commission for the
International Year of the Child.
Bischoff, a business writer for the
Houston Chronicle received the Headliner
Award given to a member of Women in
Communications for contributions in her
profession as well as to the organization.
Bischoff has been a reporter with the
Chronicle since 1974.
On May 17, following a trial in State district court, Family Connection counselor
Sue Bennett was found innocent of sexually abusing a child. Bennett is one of
four counselors at the halfway house for
runaway teenagers who have been cleared
of charges stemming from an investigation
by juvenile police officers. Bail bond and
legal defense for Bennett totaling $10,500
is being paid by donations raised by the
Sue Bennett Fund Committee. Donations
are ugently needed and may be sent to The
Sue Bennett Fund, 1390 W. Pierce, Houston, Tx. 77019. For further information
call 527-8712. Breakthrough will carry a
detailed report of the arrests and trials of
the Family Connection counselors in the
Rancher and E.R.A. lobbyist Norma
Inman Cude Schreiner is the first woman
ever elected (May 18) to the board of directors of the South Texas Longhorn Association.
Schreiner breeds registered longhorns
and quarter horses in Mountain Home,
Texas and has worked as a lobbyist for
the Equal Rights Amendment.
On July 2, Susan B. Anthony will become
the first woman to appear on a U.S. coin.
In her honor, the National Organization
for Women suggests that all feminists
pledge their first fifteen Susan B Anthony
dollars to the N.O.W. National E.R.A.
Ratification Fund—one dollar for each
Vol. 4, no. 5
Gary Allison Morey
Blanca Balderas, Melissa Hauge,
Barbara Karkabi, Thelma Meltzer,
Janice Blue, Dian Brown, Kit Van
Cleave, Gabrielle Cosgriff, Kathleen
Gresham, Judy Hopkinson, Virginia
Myers, Judith Richards
Janice Blue, Gabrielle Cosgriff,
Janice Blue, Melissa Hauge,
Daniel Bissonnet, Tony Bullard,
Bill Dennis, Theresa Di Menno,
Julie Heifetz, Melanie Mayeaux,
Janice Blue, Dian Brown, Gabrielle
Cosgriff, Gary Allison Morey,
Juliet Clarke, Gabrielle Cosgriff,
Judy Hopkinson, George Slanina
Andrea Bowen, Juliet Clarke, Nancy
•Lane Fleming (host and producer)
Margie Glaser, Judy Hopkinson,
Barbara Karkabi, Nikki Van Hightower
Mary Fouts, Lynne Mutchler,
Virginia Myers, Ernie Shawver
Second-class postage paid at Houston,
Houston Breakthrough USPS 413130,
is published monthly (except for the
bi-monthly issues of July-August and
December-January) by the Breakthrough Publishing Company, 1708
Rosewood, Houston, TX 77004; P.O.
Box 88072, Houston, TX 77004; Tel.
713/526-6686. Subscriptions are $7
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This publication is on file at the International Women's History Archive
in the Special Collections Library,
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
60201. Postmaster: Send Form 3579
to Houston Breakthrough, P.O. Box
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