For more than 250 years, Catholic sisters have been shaping the United States and ministering as a reconciling, life-giving presence to the most vulnerable among us.
During the American Civil War, sisters cared for wounded soldiers from both sides of the conflict, which helped lead to the establishment of Catholic hospitals. In the mid-19th century, sisters began teaching immigrant children in the American midwest, later moving to set up missions and schools in the western states. Sisters opened orphanages and senior homes across the country. Today, you can find Catholic sisters ministering in schools, parishes, hospitals and neighborhoods in communities around the globe. Through their works and prayers, sisters bring Christ to those whose lives they touch.
To recognize the contributions and raise awareness of Catholic sisters in the world, the first National Catholic Sisters Week will be held March 8-15, 2014, as part of Women’s History Month. In addition to highlighting the significant role Catholic sisters have held historically, the week will focus on a contemporary view of these women — their lives, their mission, and their works. The goal is to shed light on the impact Catholic sisters continue making today.
The effort, which is being launched by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, is intended to shine a national spotlight on sisters and their ministries. Hilton was deeply influenced by sisters and was guided throughout his life by the values they instilled in him.
Catholic Sisters Week follows a 2009 United States House of Representatives resolution commending sisters for their service and sacrifice throughout the history of the United States. The resolution was in support of the Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America Traveling Exhibit.
More just a “Catholic” story, sisters stand with the poor and those most in need regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status or religion. It’s been noted that wherever good things are happening, a sister is likely involved and making a tremendous difference.
National Sisters Week will kick off March 7-9 at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. The weekend will bring together teams of Sisters interacting with college-age women, inspiring young women to discern their own call to religious life.
Story by Dave Eck