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Justice at the Margins

Each year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops holds the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, bringing together hundreds of religious and lay people from across the country to learn together, pray together, and unite in advocacy for justice and peace in our communities.

Felician Sisters from Connecticut, New Jersey and Texas attended the virtual event held January 29 through February 1, attending presentations on the theme of “Justice at the Margins” that explored ways we can listen to and support the marginalized populations of our society, and obtain guidance in effective techniques to build strong relationships and influence with legislators.

Sr. Maryann Agnes Mueller, Justice and Peace Coordinator for Our Lady of Hope Province, was impacted greatly by one of the speakers. “For me, the highlight was Dr. Shannen Dee Williams.” Dr. Williams, an author and associate professor at the University of Dayton, spoke about her forthcoming book, Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle. “It struck me to hear about these women entering the religious life and being the first and only African Americans in the community, to hear what life was like for them, and to learn that so many left the community because of what happened to them.”

During a presentation by Catholic Charities, the Felician Sisters of North America were acknowledged for their key role in establishing the Francis Fund for Eviction Prevention during the pandemic to help those in danger of losing their homes.

On the third day of the event, the sisters met with their state legislators to advocate for the rights of pregnant women, international assistance and for legislative action to safeguard the human rights and dignity of our immigrants.

The sisters returned from the conference not only with renewed enthusiasm to carry on the work that Blessed Mary Angela began over 165 years ago, but with knowledge of emerging domestic and global challenges, and strategic advocacy tools to speak persuasively for all those in need.