Scroll To Top

Woman Begs Pope to Save Wife's Catholic School Job

Woman Begs Pope to Save Wife's Catholic School Job


After her wife was fired from a religious school for being a lesbian, Andrea Vettori wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking him to reconsider the church's views.


A Pennsylvania teacher fired for being in a same-sex marriage is taking her case to the school's ultimate administrator -- the pope.

For eight years, Margie Winters worked as the director of religious education at Waldron Mercy Academy, a private, Catholic-sponsored primary school in Merion, Pa., before she was asked to leave.

Andrea Vettori, Winters's wife, says the reason for the popular educator's dismissal was the Catholic Church's antigay stance, which she appealed in a letter to Pope Francis.

"Her offense? She was asked to leave because we are married and, according to Church teaching, living in sin," she wrote in the document, which was published in the New York Daily News.

Philadelphia newspaperThe Inquirer confirms the reason for termination, reprinting part of an email sent to parents from the school's principal, Nell Stetser.

"In the Mercy spirit, many of us accept life choices that contradict church teachings, but to continue as a Catholic school, Waldron Mercy must comply with those teachings," Stetser wrote in June.

Vettori's letter is an impassioned plea to Francis, who will visit the United States for the first time this September, to reconsider the Catholic Church's stance toward gay and lesbian people.

"So I ask you, I beg you, I implore you to ask God to reveal to you the next steps. Not just for Margie and myself, but for the injustices that have been done in the name of our faith against gay and lesbian members of the Church throughout the United States and the world whose only 'sin' was to be true to the love God placed within them," she wrote.

Winters and Vettori married in May 2007 in Boston, after Massachusetts became the first in the nation to welcome same-sex marriage. But they have been discreet about their relationship since Winters took a job at the religious school later that year, even though Winters was up front about the relationship when she was hired.

The couple believes a parent of one of Waldron Mercy Academy's students filed a complaint with the Archdioece of Philadelphia, which led to Winters's termination. Winters says she was fired after she refused to resign.

However, around 200 parents have rallied in support of the same-sex couple. The coalition held a meeting July 10, a "brain-storming session" for how to respond to the firing and stand behind Winters.

"People are angry, but want to use that anger in a constructive way in our community. We support Margie," parent Catherine Califano told The Inquirer.

Jim Kenney, the Democratic candidate to succeed term-limited Michael Nutter as mayor of Philadelphia, has also spoken out against Winters's firing.

In addition to hoping the pope reads the letter, Vettori and Winters hopes to be able to meet him during his upcoming trip to the United States. Philadelphia will be one stop on his American tour, as it is this year's host city for the World Meeting of Families, the world's largest Catholic convention of families.

"We would love to meet [the pope] and let him get to know us and hopefully advocate for us as well," Winters told the Daily News. "This should never happen again."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.