Henehan, Mary Pat 1942-

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HENEHAN, Mary Pat 1942-


Born July 20, 1942, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Thomas P. (a lawyer) and Rita C. (a homemaker and community volunteer; maiden name, De Vry) Henehan; married John Renard (a professor), June 2, 1990. Ethnicity: "Irish; German; French." Education: Marillac College, B.S.N., 1965; University of Michigan, M.P.H., 1971; St. Louis University, M.A., 1983; Eden Theological Seminary, D.Min., 1989. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Playing hammered dulcimer, writing poetry, dance, yoga, competitive swimming, reading, looking at art, attending theater.


Home—16 Bon Hills Dr., St. Louis, MO 63132. E-mail—[email protected]


St. Paul's Hospital, Dallas, TX, head obstetrical-gynecological nurse and adjunct faculty at St. Paul's School of Nursing, 1965-69; City of St. Louis, MO, chief maternal and infant care project nurse, 1972-76, maternal and child health consultant, 1972-74, director of public health nursing, 1975-76; Seton Medical Center, Austin, TX, director of nursing, 1976-79; St. Vincent's College, Cape Girardeau, MO, affiliate of pastoral ministry and parish missions programs, 1979-81; Daughters of Charity, St. Louis, formation counselor, 1981-85; De Paul Health Center, St. Louis, vice president for mission services, 1984-87; Care and Counseling, Inc., St. Louis, counselor and psychotherapist, 1987-90; Counseling and Educational Associates, Inc., St. Louis, president and therapist, 1991—. Missouri Baptist Health Center, psychiatric home health nurse, 1988-96; Appleton and Associates, counselor in private practice, 1988-92. St. Louis University, adjunct faculty member, 1974-76, adjunct assistant professor, 1996—; University of Texas, adjunct faculty member, 1976-79; Aquinas Institute of Theology, adjunct faculty member, 1997-99; Washington University, St. Louis, adjunct faculty member, 2003—.


American Association of Pastoral Counselors, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (clinical member; president-elect for Missouri), Federation of Christian Ministers, Employee Assistance Professionals Association, Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment, American Professional Speakers Association, Coalition in Addictions.


Merit award, Missouri Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.


Integrating Spirit and Psyche: Using Women's Narratives in Psychotherapy, Haworth Pastoral Press (Binghamton, NY), 2003.

Contributor to Journal of Women and Religion.


Women's Narratives and Transformations, completion expected in 2006; God's Healing through Parish Nursing, 2007; Organizational Coaching, 2008; a research project, "Sound Minds, Sound Bodies"; research on systems theory applied to the organization of parish nursing.


Regarding her motivation for writing, Mary Pat Henehan told CA: "My aunt's killing at Luby's cafeteria in Killen, Texas, forced me to examine negative attitudes toward women. The man who shot her and other people in the cafeteria hated women. Pain and creativity are closely connected.

"I facilitated a number of women's therapy groups and saw patterns developing the movement from negative scripts to more constructive ones. Reflecting on the dynamics of the groups provided a stimulus to write.

"I like the clarity that writing fosters. Expressing myself is useful to me personally. As a therapist, I encourage my clients to do the important work of articulating their thoughts and feelings. The idea that others find my writing helpful inspires me. People have told me, 'You have an important message to communicate.' Writing engages me in life on a deeper level. If I am writing on resilience, for example, stories on radio and television grab me because my writing has become a window, helping me frame things in new ways. Programs like Fresh Air and The Diane Rehm Show are two of my favorites.

"Influences on my writings include my parents, who were lovers of books and education. Curiosity was instilled in me from an early age. I still have my five-year-diary, which I began writing when I was twelve years old. My writing gives me a connection to myself and others. My husband Jack and I discuss the ideas about which I am writing. My mother-in-law, Virginia, is my editor and gives me feedback on my writing. I discuss my work with students, writing groups, and colleagues. I have enjoyed the works of Kate Chopin, Julia Cameron, Michael White, and Froma Walsh.

"My writing process is characterized by 'chaotic theory': grab time when you can. I write every morning. I keep a pen and paper in the car and make notes when I travel back and forth from work and errands.

"Inspiration? My own therapy was an encouragement because it let me become comfortable with making public my thoughts and feelings. Observing my husband write twelve books inspired me. My students and clients inspire me in our conversations. I love to read, look at art, and go to the theater. Life is a source of inspiration.

"I wrote poems in college which were published in the school paper. I liked the experience. I recall sitting in the library and seeing displayed on the circulation desk, an article of someone I knew. The thought came to me that I could do that and would someday.

"When I was in graduate school, I had a professor who encouraged me to publish my writings. I tried a few presses at that time and received rejection letter. Later, I joined a writers' group. The group support was great and I realized everyone gets rejection letters. Weekly meetings provided structure and the feedback was most helpful.

"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is how generous writers and those in the service profession are. Everyone I asked to read my manuscript said yes. That blew my mind because I thought people would tell me they were too busy.

"I hope that my books will help people learn about the discrimination that women experience. This knowledge can lead to reflection and the making of positive changes to allow women to be treated with dignity and equality. I hope to add to people's knowledge and build skills in understanding organizations and effective leadership for the future."

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