When life calls, listen. That’s the simple message Kathy Izard, award-winning author and motivational speaker from North Carolina, shared while discussing her faith journey with Mount St. Mary Academy’s theology classes during her visit on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
Kathy’s journey, detailed in The Hundred Story Home: A Memoir of Finding Faith in Ourselves and Something Bigger, is an inspirational one. In 2007, after reading Ron Hall and Denver Moore’s Same Kind of Different As Me, she pursued what she calls a “whisper” that changed the course of her life. Kathy quit her successful career as a graphic designer to join the staff of Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center, where she’d been volunteering for 10 years, and help launch the pilot program Homeless to Homes – a decision that led to her instrumental role in bringing about much-needed transformation in the areas of homelessness, housing and mental health in Charlotte.
The nearly 150 students in attendance were encouraged to listen for similar types of whispers throughout their lives. Kathy’s story demonstrated to them how those pesky thoughts one can’t seem to rid his or her mind of could actually hold the power to help awaken one’s true calling. “Pay attention to what won’t leave you,” she said. “Trust the whisper.”
During their time together, Kathy also shared with students sentiments mirroring the Mercy values that so distinctly permeate campus life at Mount St. Mary. Explaining that her father had raised her to believe that everyone has a responsibility to “do good” in this world, she discussed the importance of “faith in action” and challenged students to be kind and compassionate, and to seek ways to make a difference in their homes, school and communities. “The holiest thing we can do is help one another,” she said.
Kathy’s memoir has been featured on NPR and inspires people to be changemakers in their communities. She is the recipient of a Christopher Award, the Bank of America Neighborhood Hero Award, and the North Carolina Housing Coalition Volunteer of the Year Award, and recognized as a Clinton School of Public Service Distinguished Guest Lecturer.
Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.