Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Catholic sisters given ‘national week’ in their honor

Published March 7, 2014

ATLANTA—The first National Catholic Sisters Week will be March 8-14 to celebrate and honor the work of women religious.

St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., will kick off the inaugural observation as part of Women’s History Month.

Parishes and schools nationwide are invited to plan their own events recognizing the impact of women religious in their communities and to share photos and stories.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation provided funding for National Catholic Sisters Week and the programs to be held in conjunction with it at St. Catherine’s.

Sister Rosemarie Nassif, SSND, who oversees the foundation’s Catholic Sisters Initiative and its Catholic education programs, proposed the week.

The inaugural National Catholic Sisters Week offers an opportunity to highlight the work of more than 20 religious communities within the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Sister Margaret McAnoy, IHM, is Vicar for Religious for the archdiocese.

Sister Margaret hopes to have a speaker for next year’s observance of National Catholic Sisters Week. She noted that Pope Francis has indicated that 2015 will be a year of focus including prayer intentions for the consecrated life.

“We are all over,” said Sister Margaret about the scope and scale of the work of women religious in the archdiocese.

The Sisters of Mercy have been in Atlanta the longest, she said, coming after the Civil War with just two dollars. They were teachers and nurses, and still are today. Supported by donations, the sisters nurtured the first hospital in Atlanta, which became known as Saint Joseph’s Infirmary, and eventually Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta.

The sisters representing the various congregations in the Archdiocese of Atlanta work in the fields of hospice, social justice, provide retreats, religious education and parish ministries. They also work as volunteer tutors, as teachers, and in assisting Korean, Vietnamese, and Hispanic Catholics.

The Missionaries of Charity work to carry out the vision of Blessed Mother Teresa, their foundress, by operating the Gift of Grace House for women with AIDS.

The archdiocese is also home to one cloistered community, the Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary in Snellville.

“I just think they are a powerhouse of prayer,” said Sister Margaret. She said the community has three new novices and called the nuns “delightful.”

The National Women’s History Project, which organizes Women’s History Month, received four nominations of women religious whose lives are examples of the theme “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.”

The nominees are Mother Frances Warde, founder of the Sisters of Mercy in America; Angela Duke Hicks of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Ky.; Dr. Verna Fowler, founder of the Sisters of Genesis of the Green Bay Diocese and a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin; and Sister Marilyn Lacey, a Sister of Mercy who has worked with displaced refugees in war-torn countries.

For more information about National Catholic Sisters Week, visit St. Catherine University at