Why She’s Interesting: What some call coincidence, Sister Mary Eileen Boyle names divine providence. Twenty-one years and a heart attack later, Boyle continues to work at Esperanza Threads, her nonprofit dedicated to developing sustainable work skills in underserved individuals, including recovering addicts, nonviolent felons and refugees from as far away as the Congo and Nepal.
The Letter: Boyle returned to Cleveland from a Buddhist meditation center in Vermont seeking discernment. A letter awaited her from Maryland’s The Grassroots Cooperation. “Hmm,” Boyle recalls thinking. “I don’t want to sell clothes. But then I started thinking about the social justice aspect.” Since then, the ministry’s flown on the wings of the Holy Spirit.
Craving Quiet: Shaker Lakes is Boyle’s favorite place to romp. “At this point of my life I have become more hungry for the quietness of contemplation,” Boyle says. “I’m hoping it would be the future of everybody … to understand the spiritual aspect of their life and their oneness in the creator.”
Stressed Out: Since a heart attack in 2012, Boyle is mindful of her stressors. “Get out and walk. It’s amazing how things kind of melt away when you’re walking.”
Murder & Mercy: In 1980, one of Boyle’s fellow Ursuline sisters was murdered in El Salvador. The late 1990s saw another sister murdered in Cleveland. The tragedies solidified Boyle’s mission. “It was the death of those two sisters that broadened our understanding of what justice really meant, and so it was just a natural thing, then, for me to want to do something for justice for the people.”
Picture This: Boyle holds close the photographs of her late parents. If she could speak to one of them again, it would be her mother. “This is the thing: I know that she’s with me all the time. I know that she knows what I’m doing. It’s not going to need any ‘catching up.’”
Eighteen: The age Boyle left to be a nanny in France for two months the summer between high school and the convent.