Ordained Preist 2011 

Ordained Deacon 2010

Maria Thornton McClain 

Certificate in Pastoral Studies

 MA Religious Studies

BA English

I grew up mainly in Buffalo, New York and have a younger brother. Except for the beginning of first grade and the end of second grade when we lived in towns that had none, I went to Catholic schools. After graduation from high school I joined the Sisters of Mercy there and taught in Catholic schools. In 1961 earned a B.A. in English from Trocaire College, Buffalo, New York and in 1964 I earned my M. A. in Religious Studies, from Canisius College Buffalo, New York.

After leaving the convent, I moved to Indianapolis in 1977 to take a position as parish Director of Religious Education. During that time I met my husband, Ed McClain. Before I became a priest, I was Coordinator of Boards of Education for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, and I wrote and edited publications for the National Catholic Education Association. Later I served as consultant to religious and nonprofit organizations until I retired. I helped found a recovery home for women with drug addictions and served on that board for 11 years.

It was my passion for justice, especially for people on the margins, that led me to RCWP and to priesthood. I experienced my call to priesthood as a call to live a life dedicated to justice as a Catholic priest when I learned it was possible. After participating in a Call to Action Conference in Milwaukee in 2008, I decided to check to see if I really was called to priesthood. I had read about RCWP in the National Catholic Reporter and in books, because I had sought out information on women priests. I called the person whose name was on the back of a book about women priests, Women Find A Way. That led to conversations with the Midwest Region Program Coordinator, Alice Iaquinta. Gradually I discerned that priesthood was what fulfilled my sense of who I was and who I was meant to be. I applied and was accepted into the preparation program in 2009.

The community I founded came into being because, during the discussion with Alice, the Program Coordinator, she suggested that I get a group of people together who would support me in my discernment regarding priesthood. Together this small group of supporters decided to hold a celebration for the feast of St. Mary of Magdala in July at a local Catholic high school. Those who attended the celebration were then invited to meet again to decide if we were interested in forming a community that would meet regularly. At that second gathering I told those people that I was discerning a call to priesthood. Those who continued to gather with me formed the beginning of the Indianapolis Inclusive Catholic Community. We later changed the name to St. Mary of Magdala Catholic Community.

I was ordained a deacon on June 26, 2010 and a priest on April 15, 2011, becoming the pastor of our community. Now, as the retired founding pastor of St. Mary of Magdala Catholic Community in Indianapolis, it is good to remember the details of when and how I experienced my call to priesthood and how I fulfilled it.

I am a Toastmaster, love to sing, explore new places and ideas. I was involved in ecumenical efforts as part of my ordained ministry. For health reasons I am less active now. My email address: mtmcclain795@sbcglobal.net.

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