MINNEAPOLIS – As the National Catholic Sisters Week team gears up for its fifth annual celebration, staff members are moving to a new home at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The location will allow for new collaboration on a national campaign that continues to gain momentum.
National Catholic Sisters Week was launched in 2014 as an official component of National Women History’s Month, which runs through March. The week is intended to raise awareness of the profound impact of women religious and, in particular, to connect them with young women through myriad cross-country events held March 8-14. Since its inception, Molly Hazelton has headed the National Catholic Sisters Week team, working alongside Media Director Garrett Tiedemann and Program Assistant Kjerstin Quinn. Now this talented trio will be based at the Twin Cities Campus of Saint Mary’s University on Park Avenue in Minneapolis, leaving its former location at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn.
“We are grateful for the warm welcome Saint Mary’s has extended to us,” Hazelton said. “The Lasallian tradition is alive and well here. Its emphasis on developing meaningful relationships in an inclusive, respectful community of learners is a natural fit for National Catholic Sisters Week and the bonds we foster among sisters and young women. The De La Salle Christian Brothers – like Catholic sisters – are known for their service and their tradition of excellence in education. It feels good knowing the brothers are dedicated to heightening awareness of the lives and work of women religious, their female counterpart in consecrated life.”
Leaders of Saint Mary’s, meanwhile, have voiced enthusiasm about hosting this national campaign. “Saint Mary’s is honored to collaborate with the National Catholic Sisters Week in celebrating the significant contributions of women religious to our Church and to our society,” said Brother William Mann, FSC, president of Saint Mary’s.
Among the many preparations underway, Hazelton has just launched an application process to receive mini-grants to help fund 2018 NCSW events. She, along with the members of the NCSW team, will award mini-grants in increments of $1,000 each, to be announced Nov. 15. The team is interested in supporting events that focus on the lives of women religious today: their lives of prayer and spirituality; the charism of their religious communities and how that is expressed on a daily basis; their varied ministries; and their work for justice.
The week is intended to honor the nation’s 47,170 Catholic sisters and all who have gone before – founders of schools and hospitals, artists and activists, leaders and spiritual guides for all walks of life. “Catholic sisters don’t seek the spotlight,” Hazelton said. “But we know that raising awareness of their ministries can inspire the masses, and that’s what we’re aiming to do. In a time when there isn’t much good news, we need more than ever to hear stories of how they help and heal a fractured country.”
Since NCSW launched in 2013, Hazelton has heard again and again from young adults amazed by the connections they have forged with women religious, voicing a deep admiration and natural kinship. “Many of the causes that animate Catholic sisters deeply resonate with Millennials – whether it’s sustainability, care for the marginalized, or building a life that reflects your core values, an authentic one. Sisters have so much to teach us.”
NCSW events also support young women who are considering religious life – whether they provide initial exposure or deepen relationships, with gatherings that range from a monastery tour to a Nun Run, including retreats and “Come and See” weekends. About 100 women enter religious life every year at an average age of 32.
National Catholic Sisters Week is a program of the National Catholic Sisters Project, funded by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and headquartered at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis.
About Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of leadership and service. At Saint Mary’s, students find in every classroom—whether in person or online—a relationship-driven, person-centered education. Through intense inquiry, students discover the truths in the world and the character within. Founded in 1912 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,800 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis but extending worldwide. Saint Mary’s offers respected and affordable programs in a variety of areas leading to bachelor's, bachelor's completion, master's, certificate, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Learn more at www.smumn.edu.
About National Catholic Sisters Week
National Catholic Sisters Week is headquartered at Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis and supported by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The week was launched in 2014 with the goal of connecting young women and Catholic sisters through national and local events. NCSW is an official component of National Women History’s Month, which runs throughout March. The week is coordinated by Site Director Molly Hazelton and celebrated each year from March 8-14. The project encourages and supports events that focus on the richness, diversity and contributions of women religious and that bring young women and sisters together. During NCSW 2017 more than 300 events occurred nationwide, including multiple online events. National Catholic Sisters Week is one of four strands of the National Catholic Sisters Project, a national initiative intended to recognize and celebrate the profound impact of women religious. Learn more about National Catholic Sisters Week at www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org and follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton's support for the work of Catholic Sisters. Following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants. The Foundation's current assets exceed $2.2 billion.
About Alverno College
Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis., houses the National Catholic Sisters Project, a national initiative intended to recognize and celebrate the profound impact of women religious. It is comprised of four strands: National Catholic Sisters Week, curriculum development, a Diocesan Partnership Program and Latina Women Outreach. Alverno College is a four-year independent, Catholic, liberal arts college for women that exists to promote the personal and professional development of its students. The college has earned accolades and respect internationally for its highly effective ability-based, assessment-as-learning approach to education and has consulted with three U.S. presidential administrations on accountability and outcomes in higher education. For the last seven years, Alverno College has been ranked one of the top five schools in the Midwest doing “the best job of educating undergrads” by U.S. News & World Report.