St. Mary’s Dominican Connects Community for Catholic Sisters Week

St. Mary’s Dominican High School Alumnae Director Celeste Shelsey Anding (’82) finishes loading the car of fellow alumna Janet Emig with meals for Covenant House in celebration of Catholic Sisters Week.

In 2016, St. Mary’s Dominican High School alumnae observed Catholic Sisters Week by hosting a special dinner honoring women religious. The dinners continued through March of 2019. Then came COVID-19.  Due to pandemic restrictions, the Dominican sisters encouraged the school’s alumnae to honor them by serving the community.  Since 2020, the alumnae have brought meals during the year to the residents and staff at Covenant House New Orleans.  

This year, Dominican’s Alumnae Director Celeste Shelsey Anding (’82) reached out to alumnae directors at area Catholic high schools, inviting them to join Dominican alumnae in providing dinner for 75 people at Covenant House New Orleans during Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Covenant House provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness. 

“This community outreach is a wonderful way to honor women religious,” said Anding. “Joining Dominican and bringing a meal one day this week to Covenant House are Ursuline Academy, Archbishop Chapelle High School, and Mount Carmel Academy. Dominican alumnae look forward to this becoming an on-going and expanding collaboration as part of the annual celebration of Catholic Sisters Week.”

Maria Weidenbacher, Associate Director of Alumnae Relations for Ursuline Academy, is ready for their alumnae’s meal delivery at Covenant House.

“Our residents and staff loved your dinners that made it a very special week,” shared Emily Ross, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer and Development Coordinator at Covenant House New Orleans. “We look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”

 Stacy Spitler, Director of Communications for the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Chair of the Communicators for Women Religious committee overseeing Catholic Sisters Week, said organizers have worked to ensure events are not only about the legacy of sisters’ work, but what they do today. “Let’s take down the walls and engage with the charism and ministries and love vowed sisters bring to the world,” Spitler said. “Sisters are always about welcome and invitation, and I think Catholic Sisters Week is a call to the world to take a moment and pay attention to the wisdom and the experience and the inspiration sisters offer.”