Farewell Remarks for Gloria Perez

Message from Michael O’Connel, Jeremiah Program Founder

“Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you in exile. Pray for it to the Lord. For in seeking its well-being, you are seeking your own.”

This quote from the 29th chapter of the prophet Jeremiah marks the conception of an idea in the fall of 1991.

The idea that was conceived then, is now a national, if not an international, beacon of hope for lower-income, single-parent families. The idea had a long seven-year gestation, aided and guided by hundreds of eager and generous female and male “midwives”, “doulas”, until it was born on New Year’s Eve 1998 in Minneapolis

This child called “Jeremiah” was born to a mother named Gloria, who like her own mother, had to struggle to raise her own family, having lost her husband at an early age. But Gloria did it, with the help of a village, an ever-growing village of generous volunteers here locally in the Twin Cities and nationally; spreading to Fargo, North Dakota, Austin, Texas,  Boston, Massachusetts, New York and soon too Rochester, Minnesota—and destined to be in many other places in the US and beyond.

Gloria is a leader, I believe, chosen by God, a “b’shert”, a Yiddish word that means “meant to be.”

Gloria helped to rear this child with her undying belief that mothers always struggle to raise their children and never do it alone, but always with a village of relatives and friends. Some single mothers with very challenging circumstances must have special help to enable them and their children to have a future full of hope.

Gloria has always believed that these special mothers—whom we call sheros—and their children could succeed with the support of her equally struggling sisters—known as the “sisterhood”.

Gloria never saw herself as the indispensable leader. She always understood that she had to seek out many other people with their vision and talents to accomplish this job. Jeremiah was created, at times with great struggles, and sometimes with competing ideas, but that is characteristic of the birth and rearing of all children.

Gloria has always understood that life is radically relational—that all human enterprise is interdependent. Any human endeavor must recognize that the sharing of many gifts is a fundamental determinant of success

Gloria is a gifted listener. She gets it why God gave us two ears and one mouth. She wants to know what you think and how that can make the greater good happen.

Gloria, after 20 years, it is time to let your child go and trust that she and her children will succeed in the world. We have now come to that time of turning that child over to others who will understand they too must give back of the gifts they have been given.

Gloria, you have been the valiant, gifted, generous mother of Jeremiah.

We thank you for all that you have done to raise your child, along with the village, to bring more hope to more struggling mothers and their children! In the future, thousands of Jeremiah children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will thank you for your loving care and dedication.

We end with another quote from Jeremiah the Prophet, and a prayer of thanksgiving to God for you and a blessed hope for your future:

For I know well the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your well-being, plans to give you a future full of hope. Jeremiah 29:11.

Via con Dios-Go with God, Gloria.