Interview by Dan Lee
Karen Moyer — businesswoman, mother, wife and philanthropist — is the daughter of Digger Phelps, former Notre Dame men’s basketball coach and current ESPN analyst, and Teresa Godwin Phelps, an author and activist for women’s rights.
Moyer and her husband, former Seattle Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer, are past champions of the Fulcrum Foundation and were active in their parish and CYO while living in Seattle. They founded The Moyer Foundation, a nonprofit that has raised more than $20 million to serve children in distress.
The Moyers have eight children, including two adopted daughters.
Giving back is a big part of who you are. How has that impacted your faith?
There is no doubt that everything that I do in philanthropy is led by the Lord, and so whenever I have a bump in the road I’m very confident that the Lord leads us every step of the way in our mission. I have witnessed times where the Lord has opened doors or brought solutions that were unexpected.
What’s your daily prayer life like?
For me, going to daily Mass is the most settling, comforting way to start a day. If that doesn’t happen and I can find time — and it can be anywhere — to pray, whether it’s for people or situations or just to kind of toss it up there for some direction, I always seem to find some answers.
How do you live out your Catholic faith each day?
I really try to listen to the readings and the homilies of daily Mass. I also try to pay attention to nature and things around us. I live every day with purpose, and I tell my kids to make it a good day — instead of having a good day — because it’s in their power to make it a good day.
When your kids turn 16 you take them on mission trips. Talk about the one that brought a new member to your family.
My oldest, Dylan, and I went to Guatemala, and I had a dream about Yenifer before we got her. I’ve had a few very pro-found dreams and messages from God, and with this one in particular I was led to call the orphanage and just find out about these babies, and I found out about Yenifer. A family had changed their mind about taking her because she was diagnosed blind and extreme special needs. I had no doubt she was supposed to be ours, even though we had six bio-logical kids and I was discouraged by American doctors. I just knew that we were going to be able to handle whatever challenges she was going to face. Six years later, she is typically developed, she’s starting first grade, and there is no doubt this has all been the Lord’s plan for her journey.
How have those mission trips impacted your kids’ faith?
I have some amazing memories of my oldest as a 16-year-old passing out Bibles in the dump where people live in Gua-temala, and I really have this strong vision of him turning into a man, because he knows that the Bible is the word and it would help these poor, poor people to find some faith.
With all that you have going on as a mom, philanthropist and entrepreneur, how do you find time to pause and see God in the day-to-day?
Well, I think in busy lives it is difficult. I have it in my family when I look at my two adoptees and how they were brought to us and how we’re a part of their journey.
If you had only one last message to leave the people who are most important to you, what would that be?
Probably nothing new. I recently texted my daughter that living each day to the fullest is so important because there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. I really believe in living with a purpose. We’re here for a reason, and you have to find your pur-pose and your passion.
Do you have a favorite prayer or inspirational quote that you reflect on or like to share with others to spark their faith?
I’m a huge fan of Mother Teresa and the selfless life that she led. To serve others unconditionally is so remarkable and amazing to me. I carry a prayer from Mother Teresa that says, “The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.”
August 23, 2013