Go forth! NCSW ambassadors & mini-grant recipients building bridges

As February zips along, planning and preparations for National Catholic Sisters Week are in full swing. This year marks the most concerted effort by the NCSW team housed at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., to send forth allies across the country to advance the movement. They are busy forging partnerships and building bridges, all for the sake of celebrating women religious.

The 41 recipients of NCSW mini-grants continue to report on their progress.The California group creating a Little Free Library to honor the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have officially registered their library. They are now awaiting their charter number and planning their March 9 dedication ceremony.

Meanwhile, the Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence in San Antonio have sent out invitations for the Quincenera After-Party being funded by a mini-grant. Several professional women along with two Catholic sisters from collaborating congregations have agreed to share their story at the March 13 gathering, hoping to inspire the teens to lean on their faith and aim high.

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wis., are continuing to collaborate with Emily Dykman from Viterbo University as they plan an arts-and-crafts service project for local fourth and fifth graders. “These students, we have been told, will be studying the history of sisters in the community as part of their social studies unit this spring,” Dykman said. The service project will begin with a welcome from Dr. Rick Artman, president of Viterbo University.

From Houston to Boston

Notable progress is also being reported from the official NCSW ambassadors as they plan unique events honoring Catholic sisters in their communities. In Chicago, Dougal Hewitt has tapped his network of healthcare professionals to prepare celebrations of women religious. “The existence of Presence Health is the outcome of a vision and commitment of Catholic sisters, so participating in National Catholic Sisters Week and helping to honor the incredible work of sisters was an easy decision,” said Hewitt, chief mission officer of Presence Health. “The talented healthcare professionals that serve the people of Chicago and the entire state of Illinois are eager to demonstrate our gratitude in March.”

In Houston, Larry Massey, governor of Serra Club District 10 in Houston, has been busy! Massey has helped to coordinate five events in Houston that educate the public about the lives of women religious in a way that promotes vocations and recognizes sisters’ personal dedication to consecrated life. From hosting a “nuns luncheon” at the Houston Yacht Club to featuring sisters during the Houston Vocation Expo, sisters in the Lone Star State can expect an outpouring of gratitude and support from their community next month.

Massey graciously hosted Sister Mary Soher, co-executive director of National Catholic Sisters Week, as a special guest during his weekly Serra Club radio segment on KSHJ station with Joe McClane. Sister Mary shared her journey to religious life and promoted NCSW. (Check out her interview here.). Stay tuned to KSHJ for an interview with Sister Anita Brenek, CDP, on March 7 to kick off NCSW in Houston!

Claire McMullin, the campus minister at nearby University of Houston’s Catholic Newman Center, is also busy planning NCSW events. One of her ideas is to connect students on an alternative spring break trip in the Galveston area with local Catholic sisters to help them reflect on the experience. In addition, McMullin is hoping to bring a group of sisters to campus to talk to students about spiritual direction.  

Meanwhile, Boston ambassadors are hard at work too. A planning committee at St. Ignatius at Boston College is considering a number of events, including inviting a sister as a guest speaker or hosting a meet-and-greet with sisters who attend St. Ignatius and parishioners.

Stay tuned for more reports as additional NCSW planning unfolds! Don’t forget to search the website for an event in your area, and if you don’t see one, consider creating one of your own.

About Christina Capecchi

Christina Capecchi is an award-winning journalist from Inver Grove Heights, Minn. She is the author of the nationally syndicated column “Twenty Something,” which appears in more than 50 Catholic newspapers across the country. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, America, The Chicago Tribune, The Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press. She also provides contracted editing and writing services. She holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s from Mount Mercy University.