Maureen Callahan Smith
Maureen Callahan Smith grew up in Western Massachusetts, among the beautiful Northern Berkshire mountains. She was deeply formed by her roots in this close-knit area, surrounded by her extended family.
An avid reader all her life, Maureen credits her mom, the nuns who taught her in grade school, and the local children’s librarians for fostering her love of books. She has always had a strong interest in how people survive hardship, even as early as 6th grade when Marie Killea’s book Karen, the story of raising her spirited daughter born with cerebral palsy, arrived with her Scholastic book order. Her earliest jobs, both voluntary and paid, were at the local community hospital, which gave her ample opportunity to study the subject of human resiliency up close.
It also formed the basis for her lifelong practice of working out what she is thinking, feeling, and learning in handwritten journals. She considers her writing “godmothers” to be the poet May Sarton, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Mary Oliver, Julia Cameron, Annie Lamott, Rachel Naomi Remen, and Elisabeth Berg.
Maureen taught first grade at a Berkshire parochial school for several years, and later became involved in developing the first Early Intervention program for infants and toddlers in the Northern Berkshires. She moved to Boston for her graduate degree in clinical social work and has worked in that field in the Boston area ever since.
Her own history with perinatal loss and cancer only deepened her interest in helping others survive traumatic experiences, and she continues to reach for spiritual meaning and grounding, which has led to a reconnection with the faith of her childhood, along with longtime practices of yoga and meditation. In 1993, she joined the co-operative artist community of Turtle Studios, which helped her balance her professional social work with writing and artmaking. Working with numerous writing mentors and with her long-term writing group, she was able to complete her memoir Grace Street: A Sister’s Memoir of Grief & Gratitude (Gray Dove Press).
She continues to practice as a therapist on Boston’s north shore, specializing in trauma work, and is happy to balance this work with a continued engagement in creative writing and art. She also happily spends time with the growing pod of little ones cropping up, to her delight, in her extended family. She lives in the Greater Boston area with her husband, Tony.