Rev. Mother Mary Elizabeth Thunder, founder of Thunder Ranch and the Blue Star Church in West Point, Texas, is known worldwide for her teachings on the power of women to achieve peace. She is also known for her own power to unite people of many faiths and cultures. Thunder has played key roles at various Wolf Songs, international gatherings of indigenous peace elders. She was invited by the Dalai Lama to speak about peace and women at the Spiritual United Nations, an international gathering of spiritual representatives, and is developing a survey about women’s roles in world religions.
Born 1944 on "D-Day", the beginning of the deliverance of Europe in World War II, Mary Elizabeth Thunder believes her birth date is significant: she was meant to lead people to peace. The path she has taken is one of learning, service, and enlightenment. Part Native American, Irish, and adopted Lakota, Thunder left a background of abandonment, abuse, and family neglect to graduate from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis and to attend Indiana University. She worked as secretary to the Board of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis and served as liaison with the Human Rights Board, working with Martin Luther King, Dick Gregory, and others. She was subsequently awarded Seven Keys to the City and two Governor State Awards. In 1981, a heart attack changed her course. She describes an "afterlife experience" that prompted her to work as a drug and alcohol specialist for an Indian center in Texas. Her year as a drug counselor would help shape future models of service, healing, and spirituality. She resigned her position as a drug counselor and began her life on the road as an itinerant teacher. For the next seven years she lived in her van and taught, often using the sundance, a Native American prayer ritual, to minister to others. Thunder’s ongoing quest for vision led her to a breakthrough understanding of a new way to heal addiction by merging Native American ceremonial traditions, modern addiction counseling, and the 12-Step Program. In 1989, she was led by a vision and the advice of her elders to found Thunder Ranch and the Church of the Blue Star. There, thousands of people have been taught a better way to live, to overcome addiction and abuse, and to live in peace and service.
Church of the Blue Star Thunder Ranch