Elizabeth Morancy

Inducted: 2021
Born: 1941

Elizabeth “Liz” Morancy’s life is a blueprint of service for others. As a graduate of Salve Regina, Liz was then known as Sister Michael Mary, a Religious Sister of Mercy. She taught at St Xavier’s Academy, and then returned to Salve as a member of the political science faculty.

Her love of political science stretched far beyond theory. In 1971, Liz was one of 47 religious sisters who met in Washington, D.C. to discuss how Catholic religious women could best respond to Pope Paul’s letter, ”A CALL TO ACTION” in which he urged their involvement in the political and economic places of power where decisions are made that affect people’s lives, especially the poor. Her path took a turn, and she left the classroom to minister to the poor and work for social change. This original group created NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby whose membership today numbers in the thousands and includes men and women of all faiths.

In Rhode Island, Liz worked for social change through several initiatives. She was instrumental in repealing the state’s death penalty law through her creation, along with others, of the Rhode Island Coalition Against the Death Penalty, a cause with which she is still involved on the national level. A co-founder of McAuley House in 1975, Liz can often be found, even today; volunteering for this South Providence hospitality house, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, that serves homeless and low­ income residents.

In 1978 Liz was elected state representative for the Elmwood and South Elmwood neighbor­ hoods in Providence. Thus began ten years of legislative advocacy for society’s most vulnerable.

Christened by her colleagues as “the social conscience of the legislature” she focused her efforts on affordable housing, homeless­ ness, domestic violence, sexual assault, and children in state care. Liz also served as the social services coordinator for the Southeast Asian Hmong refugee resettlement team centered at
St. Michael’s Church in South Providence helping those immigrants who were victims of the Vietnam War.

In 1984, another Pope, John Paul, reversed the earlier Papal decision which encouraged religious men and women to be in public office so Liz, along with others, made the difficult decision to leave religious life.
However, she never left the governing charism and purpose of the Sisters of Mercy which was to be of public service. Liz became the executive director of the Rhode Island Protection and Advocacy System, where she worked to provide free legal representation to developmentally disabled children and adults.

Thereafter, she served for eighteen years as executive director of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Liz continues to participate fully in the community and was chairwoman of the State Ratepayers Advisory Board. She is a grant reviewer for the Federal Victims of Crime Act. In her ‘free time;’ Liz is a tour guide for Newport’s International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum, an easy “job’ since as a high school tennis champion and lifelong player she was, and is, well versed on its inductees!

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