Board of Trustees
Sister Eileen Boffa has been connected to Mercy by the Sea (MBTS) for many years in many capacities. She was at MBTS in formation as a Sister of Mercy candidate. She was the Principal at Our Lady of Mercy Academy that was located on the Mercy campus. Her current ministry is with those who are experiencing homelessness in Bridgeport, and she often brings men and women from her ministry for retreats at MBTS. Sister Eileen states, “I will take seriously my commitment to the Board and keep before the Board our critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy.” It is certain that Sister Eileen will continuously advocate with the Board and staff for MBTS programs that embody the critical concerns and core values of Mercy.
Brett has worked in the Financial Services Industry for more than 20 years. Currently, he is a Partner at Clearview Wealth Management in Guilford, Connecticut.
Mary Beth Federico was a member and Chair of the Board of Our Lady Mercy School, and served on the St. Margaret Church Parish Council. She was also involved in various community volunteer efforts. Although she and her husband currently reside in Clinton, they raised their family in Madison and enjoy this beautiful part of the Connecticut shoreline.
Lydia Forgetta-Sheffield was born in Hartford Connecticut and has spent the last 50 years living in Madison and Guilford. Lydia began her teaching career, here, on the property of Mercy by the Sea, at Our Lady of Mercy School. She remained there until her retirement after 45 years as an early childhood educator and Director of the school’s early childhood program. She still is active at the sister school, East Shoreline Catholic Academy where she serves on the Liturgy Committee. Lydia has been a member of many Boards and has served as President of the Connecticut Kindergarten Association, Vice President and Treasurer of the Connecticut Early Childhood Council, President of the Guilford Community Fund, and Treasurer of the Guilford Performing Arts Festival. She has also served on the Sponsor’s Council for the Sisters of Mercy of the Northeast. As a Mercy Associate, Lydia has been a friend of Mercy for over 57 years and teases that she is one of the “bricks” here at Mercy by the Sea. Lydia lives in Guilford and is an active member of St. George Church. She is honored to serve on the Mercy by the Sea board.
Jean Golicz is currently a UConn Master Gardener, lay minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church and retired teacher, who taught in Glastonbury, Connecticut, for many years. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a Master of Science degree in history and a post-graduate, sixth year in pastoral counseling. In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees, Jean volunteers her time working to make the vegetable garden and grounds thrive. She also contributes a Spirit and Soil monthly blog post for the Mercy by the Sea Soundings blog.
Carol Lyons joined the Mercy by the Sea (MBTS) Board on July 1, 2023. Carol has been involved with MBTS for many years and has attended many day and overnight programs. She is a proud graduate of the School for the Second Half of Life. Carol believes “MBTS is a sacred space that not enough people know about. It has provided a safe and nurturing place to grow in my spiritual life and I want others to enjoy the same care and love that is Mercy and I look forward to helping to guide MBTS going forward.” Carol is a retired Yale epidemiologist and a racial justice facilitator. She resides in Guilford with her husband of 48 years and has four children and five grandchildren, all of whom are her “treasured joys.”
Rabbi Stacy Offner is both the Rabbi Emerita of Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison, Connecticut and the Founding Rabbi Emerita of Shir Tikvah Congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A passionate community builder, Rabbi Offner has worked hard on the shoreline to strengthen the Interfaith Clergy Alliance and to create interfaith opportunities for religious and spiritual expression. Recognized as a pioneer in many ways since her ordination in 1984, Rabbi Offner is acknowledged for her many firsts, including: First female rabbi in the state of Minnesota (1984), First woman to serve on the Reform Pension Board (1986), First rabbi elected as chaplain to the MN State Senate (1998), First female Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism (2008), and First female rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah (2012). Rabbi Offner currently serves on the Ethics Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and on the Jewish Values Investing Committee of the Reform Pension Board. A Magna cum laude graduate of Kenyon College, Rabbi Offner earned both her M.A. and Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. Rabbi Offner brings a wealth of experience to the Board and will assist Mercy by the Sea to continue to expand interfaith alliances and programs to welcome all.
Denise joined the Mercy by the Sea (MBTS) Board on July 1, 2023. Denise has been involved with MBTS for many years and has attended many programs. She has also hosted and facilitated retreats and workshops at MBTS throughout her career. Denise brings her experience as a coach in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and recently founded UBUNTU (“I am because we are”), to further that work through story artists who, through the art of oral story, share the personal narrative of walking in their brown and/or black skin. Denise states, “Mercy by the Sea has served a vital role in my life. I believe the spirit of the intent of founding MBTS prevails- healing growth and discernment. I would simply like to give back in service to a tradition that has been so important to renewal in my life.”
Fran M. Rabinowitz is a lifelong resident of Connecticut. She was born and raised in Bridgeport and is still enjoying a long and rewarding career in education. Presently, she serves as the Executive Director for the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS). Fran was a former superintendent in Hamden and Bridgeport and Associate Commissioner for the State of Connecticut. Fran spent most of her career in her favorite city, Bridgeport, in a number of positions. Mercy Center has been part of Fran’s life for many years and she is thrilled and humbled to be a member of The Board of Trustees. Fran lives in Branford with her husband Mark. They have been married for 40 years and have three children and five grandchildren.
A close neighbor of Mercy by the Sea, Hank and his wife Gayle moved into the Moran home six years ago. The Moran’s had been devoted Mercy by the Sea groundskeepers and Hank immediately continued the tradition by working with the master gardeners to plant and maintain the vegetable garden! Before moving to Madison, Hank taught history for 32 years in public schools in both Hartford, Connecticut and San Diego, California. His life reflects a desire to improve the condition of others- children, neighbors, veterans, and all who are associated with Mercy by the Sea. Hank says: “I need to look no further than to the simple aspiration that is embedded in the Mercy by the Sea Vision Statement, that is: “to nurture a relationship with the Sacred in self, others, and creation that seeks to foster a just and compassionate world,” in order to find my interest in becoming a board member of this organization. It would be an honor for me to be able to bring my value, commitment, and skills to add to the collective effort to help Mercy by the Sea continue to thrive.”