I was both amazed and inspired when I read an article about the recent passing of a beloved Massachusetts judge at the age of 94. Positive role models are so important to career success, and they do not get much more positive than Judge Mary Muse. What a life! You will recall my last blog on women over fifty, well here is one woman over fifty who made every moment count and left an incredible legacy.
Mary Muse was a fierce advocate for women in the legal profession. She knew the challenges well. She raised four children during her years at Boston College Law, where she graduated in 1950, and three of those children were born when she was in law school. About the challenges to women in the law, she said, “There are no barriers, just obstacles. And obstacles are opportunities.”
Judge Muse had seven more children after graduating from law school — for the record, that totals eleven children — and seven of those children followed their mother (and father) into the legal profession. Her daughter said that “every one of us felt like we were the only one in her eyes when we needed her.” One look at Judge Mary Muse’s picture, and you can believe it. The loving kindness leaps out at you from the photo.
She was 62 years old when she first was appointed to the bench, and she went to great lengths to encourage more women to become judges. According to one contributor to the obituary, she spent years instilling the confidence in women to realize what they had to contribute.
A life like hers is hard to imagine. Most of us have two or three children today and consider it a lifetime achievement to combine that with a career. And it is. But, if there was a superwoman, who paved the way for all of us, it had to be Mary Muse. It does not diminish our own accomplishments to recognize that.
It is important to note that Judge Mary Muse also had a strong female role model. Her mother was a physician when that was a rarity among women. Dr. Mary Moore Beatty was the first woman to serve as a school physician in Boston and the first woman appointed as a trustee at Boston City Hospital.
Clearly, the apple did not fall far from the tree.