National Catholic Sisters Week
Nearly 1,000 Catholic sisters live and work in the tri-state area. With six motherhouses located within a 20-mile radius of one another, it’s no secret that Catholic sisters have been an integral part of education, health care, and helping those in need in the area since 1843. This March during National Women’s History Month, the week of March 8–14 will be recognized as National Catholic Sisters Week, bringing visibility to the contributions of women religious in the United States.
“Catholic Sisters have made countless contributions to the tri-state area for almost 200 years,” said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. “They have cared for the sick, founding institutions like Mercy Hospital. They have educated the young, establishing numerous schools, including Clarke University. These remarkable women continue to serve people today through ministries like the Presentation Lantern Center, Opening Doors, Stonehill Franciscan Services, and many other charitable endeavors. On this week dedicated to recognizing Women Religious, we thank them and draw inspiration from their tireless service and abiding faith.”
Women religious stand with the poor and vulnerable, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or religion through prayer and their ministry work in education, health care, criminal justice, social justice, theology, the arts, and even politics. Catholic sisters today are ministering at a variety of tri-state organizations, including the following:
- Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Mary Ellen Green, OP, serves as vice-president of the Board of Directors for Opening Doors in Dubuque.
- Dubuque Franciscan Sister Bertha Bonert, OSF, is the administrator for Stonehill Franciscan Services in Dubuque.
- Sister Carolyn Farrell, BVM, is director of the Roberta Kuhn Center that offers enrichment classes to more than 500 participants over the age of 55 in the tri-state area. The center is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Trappistine Nun Kathleen O’Neill, OCSO, is manager of the Monastery Candy factory at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque.
- Sister Lynn Mary Wagner, PBVM, director of the Dubuque Food Pantry, organizes volunteers, community workers, and civic and religious groups in the collection and distribution of food for people in need in the tri-state area. A faithful crew of volunteers assists Sister Lynn in daily and weekly preparation of food baskets.
- Visitation Sister Bernadine Curoe, SVM, is assistant in academic success at Loras College, Dubuque.
Religious congregations in the tri-state area include the Franciscan Sisters of Dubuque; the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque; Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque; the Cistercian (Trappistine) Nuns, Dubuque; Sisters of the Visitation, Dubuque; and the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wis.