Stella Baltazar is a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM). Born in 1952, she hails from the southernmost tip of India. Having earned her master’s degree in Sociology and Theology from the University of Mysore, Stella’s real learning comes from her involvement with the youth as well as women, especially widows. Baltazar had wide mission experience in the empowerment of women as women Development Officer at Coimbatore Diocese where in three years she helped establish 52 women’s associations in the diocese, and felt the power of women from the grassroots and their yearning for liberation from poverty, male domination and cultural oppression. This experience led Stella to seek ways to educate, motivate and mobilize women to emerge with self determination and take collective action for change. It was an experience that empowered her to reflect theologically and develop perspectives on Feminist Theology.
She was then invited by Caritas India to work at the national level with 64 dioceses in 1999 for four years, giving her enormous possibility to move around and learn within India and abroad, while creating networks of women’s organizations at the State level. She also served as consultant to Caritas Switzerland, a Member of Indian Theological Association, as well as president of EATWOT India. She has presented papers at theological as well as justice and peace forums.
Passionate about empowering women, especially widows, she is involved in inter-faith collaboration and also works on ecological concerns. She has moderated provincial chapters of several congregations and served at different levels of leadership in her own, and is presently the provincial of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Ootacamund Province, Tamil Nadu, India.
“My belief is ‘Every event of our life is sent by God for a very special purpose’ as said by our Foundress Mother Mary of the Passion and I am growing in the realization of that purpose. Women were my real life inspiration starting with my own mother.”