Our History




Mary Ann Finch, Executive Director

Mary Ann Finch was born in Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University where she majored in education and the dramatic arts. She subsequently completed her MA in Communications at Arizona State University. In 1973, she made her way to the Bay Area to begin a Masters Program in Christian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology in the Graduate Theological Union Seminary. While pursuing her degree, she studied health psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, movement therapy at Mills College in Oakland, and massage therapy at the Gefion School of Massage in Berkeley. She pioneered an area of study called Embodied Spirituality and taught as an adjunct professor at the Jesuit School of Theology.

In 1983, Mary Ann established a non-profit organization called the Center for Growth in Wholeness as a way to integrate her studies and instruct others. In 1989 she founded the Care Through Touch Institute, a professional school of massage with special emphasis on pastoral care. In 1990 she traveled throughout India teaching and offering massage therapy in leprosariums and street clinics. She concluded her journey by spending some time living in a Christian/Hindu Ashram in the foothills of the Himalaya mountains. Here, Mary Ann committed herself to Mother Theresa’s challenge given the day she left Calcutta: Go home and do there what you’ve done here – TOUCH the ‘poorest of the poor’ with your CARE. After many years of doing just that, Mary Ann says, “I intend (and pray) that I will do this sacred work until I draw my last breath.”

Care Through Touch was my bridge to the world of the poor…
— Mary Ann Woodward

See the full CTI Story

As told by Founder and Director, Mary Ann Finch.
This heartwarming video tells the story of the origins of the Care Through Touch Institute in Founder and Director, Mary Ann Finch’s own words, including Mother Teresa’s mandate to her to serve the “untouchables” in our community.