Fall Open House 2024 is Sunday, October 27th

Featured Speaker: Mary Amorella Stanford ’93

Willows proudly welcomes back alumna Mary Amorella Stanford ‘93, author of The Obedience Paradox, as part of our Raising Great Girls parent speaker series. Her talk, “Made for Each Other: The Case for Complementarity” will explore the arguments presented in her book.

Catholics believe that marriage is fulfilling because human persons are designed to exist in loving communion. But because men and women are not replicas of one another, they do not tend to express love in identical ways. Using insights from Edith Stein, Mary will examine the sexual complementarity of the masculine and the feminine and the ways in which the natural gifts of couples prepare them for a truly fruitful union.

Join us Friday, October 20 at 7PM in the Willows Academy auditorium. Register now at the link below.


Mary Stanford is a proud graduate of Willows Academy and remembers her time here fondly. She graduated as part of the class of 1993 and treasures the lifelong friendships she made. In particular, she is grateful for the relationships she built during her time here. She references the friendships she made here that she still treasures as well as the teachers that made a deep impression on her with their dedication and example.

She credits the Willows environment for having a far-reaching effect on shaping who she is even to this day.

“The freedom I experienced being in an ‘all-girls’ environment gave me joy and confidence that has remained with me for life,” she says.

Most of all, she is grateful for the way that Willows laid the groundwork for her faith. The theology classes built a strong foundation that was enriched by opportunities for daily mass as well as frequent confession and Benediction. 

“Throughout my entire time at the Willows, we were encouraged–and given the opportunity to–develop habits of mental prayer, of natural and regular conversation with God,” she reflects. “That practice was foundational for my life.”

Mary is excited to spend time specifically with Willows students during her visit. She will give a talk examining the ways in which a woman’s physical dimension symbolizes her spiritual and psychological orientation toward nurturing persons and relationships. In addition, she will also touch on gender-specific wounds resulting from our fallen nature.


Mary graduated as valedictorian and went on to attend the University of Dallas. There, she graduated with a degree in Philosophy with a Concentration in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, along with honors including the Aquinas Medal for Philosophy and the Faculty Medal for First Honors.

She then returned to Chicago to work for Metro Achievement Center before pursuing a Master of Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. 

During this time, she met her husband, Trey. Mary and her husband Trey moved to Front Royal, Virginia during their first year of marriage and have remained there since. They have since had seven children–all of whom Mary has and continues to homeschool! Mary also continues to teach theology courses at Christendom College as well as speak in various dioceses on marriage, sexual complementarity, and theology of the body.


In addition, Mary has also authored The Obedience Paradox, a work that examines the relationship between husband and wife in marriage as an image of Christ’s relationship to the Church. 

Her choice to dive headfirst into the countercultural concept of “obedience” in marriage might seem like a risk, but Mary believes that is all the more reason to do so.

“I tackled it because good marriages are at the foundation of a healthy culture,” she emphasizes. “Our faith has given us a treasury of biblical and Magisterial wisdom on how marriages can mirror Divine love, but we have allowed cultural misunderstandings about power and freedom to cloud those insights.”

Willows Academy warmly welcomes back alumna Mary Stanford for her talk, “Made for Each Other: The Case for Complementarity.” We view it as a special privilege to welcome back an alumna who embodies our spirit of excellence and generosity in transforming society for the good.

The Raising Great Girls speaker series offers relevant, inspiring, and practical formation to parents to empower them as the primary educators of their daughters. The series is open to Willows families and the wider community with a goal of promoting friendship and community among parents with shared goals. Each event includes a reception in addition to a talk or panel discussion and time for questions and answers.