Thursday, February 6, 2014

Announcing National Catholic Sisters Week: to ignite a movement around the lives and the contributions of Catholic sisters by Sr. Joanne Gallagher

Sr Joanne Gallagher
Gathered from various online resources

 “Wherever good things are happening, there are likely to be Sisters involved,” states the proposal from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, calling for a national campaign to boost awareness of women religious. Rosemarie Nassif, SSND is director of The Catholic Sisters Initiative which was launched in February 2013 by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Rosemarie was inspired by her experience as a university president to fold that campaign into the well-established Women’s History Month.  She fashioned a three-year grant to propose a specific plan to raise the visibility of women religious.

This resulted in a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, which plans to bring national visibility to the contributions of women religious, whose far-reaching work on the frontlines of social change, women’s leadership, healthcare, education and the Church remains relatively unknown. A key initiative of the three-year project will be the launch of National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, 2014, as part of Women’s History Month.

The ultimate goal is to create “fertile ground” to help more young women consider a call to religious life. “Will this mean that thousands of women will enter religious life? No, probably not,” Sister Rosemarie says. “But we’ve got to offer a chance. Even if women are inspired to live their lives differently outside the convent, the effort will be worthwhile.”

The intent is to ignite a movement around the lives and the contributions of sisters in ways that inspire girls and women to picture themselves among the ranks of these women religious. Molly Dever Hazelton and Mary Soher, OP, were named co-executive directors. Hazelton is a professor of library and information science at St. Catherine’s University; Soher, of Henderson, NV, has been a member of the Adrian Dominicans since 1996.

During its inaugural year, all are encouraged to be part of igniting this movement by announcing National Catholic Sisters Week in schools, parishes, hospitals, and local civic arenas, and more. If you have ideas of ways to promote this week, you are invited to contact Molly Haxelton at or Mary Soher, OP, at  Visit the National Catholic Sisters Week  website at to learn more!

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