She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005
She says: I honor the path each person is on. I believe that all of our prayer paths lead to the Great Mystery, or Spirit, or God.
Rev. Mother Mary Elizabeth Thunder, founder of Thunder Ranch and the Blue Star Church in West Point, Texas.
She is known worldwide for her teachings on the power of women to achieve peace. She is also known for her own power to unite people of many faiths and cultures. Thunder has played key roles at various Wolf Songs, international gatherings of indigenous peace elders. She was invited by the Dalai Lama to speak about peace and women at the Spiritual United Nations, an international gathering of spiritual representatives, and is developing a survey about women’s roles in world religions. Rev. Mother Mary Elizabeth Thunder, founder of Thunder Ranch and the Blue Star Church in West Point, Texas, is known world-wide for her teachings on the power of women to achieve peace. She is also known for her own power to unite people of many faiths and cultures. She founded Thunder Ranch, a ceremonial land and spiritual university, in 1989, and since then thousands of people of all faiths have learned about spiritual traditions at the ranch. Blue Star Church, described as a “rainbow of wisdom,” is an intersection of ministers from all walks of life and levels of experience.
Thunder was named a peace elder at the first Wolf Song, a gathering of indigenous peace elders from the Americas, Australia, Africa, New Zealand, Egypt, India, Tibet, England, Ireland, Finland, and Holland. She was a central player in the seven subsequent Wolf Song gatherings, hosting the second and sixth, and serving as Master of Ceremonies for the seventh.
She was invited to France by the Dalai Lama to speak about peace and women at the Spiritual United Nations, an international gathering of spiritual representatives. “It is today that I thus celebrate all the women on earth,” she told an audience of 8,000. “I would like to ask my sisters to give up the thoughts and actions around the word ‘victim.’ We are no longer victims. We are strong! We have the power and that power is rising. Use it to preserve, teach, share, and raise our voices, to save our children, our planet, our people, our Earth Mother.”
She was appointed delegate to the next Spiritual United Nations and chair of the Human Rights, Human Relations, and Spiritual Concerns for Women Committee. She is in the process of developing a survey about women’s roles in world religions. In 2003, she was named Donna Di Pace (Woman of Peace), in Turin, Italy.
Thunder is a sundancer, trained to minister by using one of the Native Americans most highly esteemed prayer ceremonies, and she is also a vision quest guide. She has authored a book, “Thunders Grace”, and is currently working on another book, “Something Inside So Strong”.
Born on “D Day,” the beginning of the deliverance of Europe in World War II, Mary Elizabeth Thunder believes her birthday is significant. She was meant to lead people to peace. The path she has taken is one of learning, service, and enlightenment. Part Native American, Irish, and adopted Lakota, Thunder left a background of abandonment, abuse and family neglect to graduate from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis and to attend Indiana University. She worked as secretary to the Board of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis, served a liaison with the Human Rights Board and worked with Martin Luther King, Dick Gregory and others. She was subsequently awarded seven keys to the city and two Governor State Awards.
In 1981, a heart attack changed her course. What she describes as an “after-life experience” prompted her to work as a drug and alcohol specialist for an Indian center in Texas. Her year as a drug counselor would help shape future models of service, healing, and spirituality. She resigned her position as a drug counselor, and began her life on the road as an itinerant teacher. For the next seven years she lived in her van and taught, often using the sundance to minister to others.
Thunder’s ongoing quest for vision led her to a breakthrough understanding of a new way to heal addiction, merging Native American ceremonial traditions, modern addiction counseling and the 12-Step Program.
In 1989, she was led by a vision and the advice of her elders to found Thunder Ranch and the Church of the Blue Star. There, thousands of individuals have been taught a better way to live, to overcome addictions and abuse of all sorts and to live in peace and service.
Thunder’s spiritual leadership began at a time when both her race and gender defined her status. As only a partial Native American, her status as a sundancer – normally reserved exclusively for full-blooded Indians – was unusual. As a woman in a patriarchal society and a member of a religion described as one that “has no way to thank a woman,” she has never received honors reserved only for men.
Her message of peace and non-resistance, particularly in the 1970s, came at a time when Native Americans and African Americans were responding to the crush of oppression with anger and violence.
Thunder refused to be considered a victim in the face of personal abuse. She renounced her home and all her belongings at a time when homeless persons were considered society’s most powerless. Today, she preaches that people of faith must work together at a time when people of faith are at war.
Church of the Blue Star;