Catholic Sisters: Celebrating Tradition, Changing the World

A Celebration of Catholic Sisters Week 2024

This year during Catholic Sisters Week (March 8-14, 2024), we celebrate the role of Catholic sisters in CMN’s founding, as well as the thousands of sisters who are helping us end the death penalty, advance justice, and begin healing.

Catholic Sisters have always been treasured collaborators in CMN’s work to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice. Ever since our founding in 2009, when Sr. Helen Prejean and members of the Congregation of St. Joseph first helped set our work in motion, we have relied on sisters’ wisdom, witness, and treasured accompaniment.

Read about some of the sisters who are advancing the kind of justice that honors human dignity. Join us in gratitude for their service.

Sister Cathy Doherty, SSND

Sister Cathy Doherty, a School Sister of Notre Dame, was surprised and a little nervous when she received the request to testify at the sentencing hearing for a young man that she knew from her previous parish. But Cathy rose to the occasion and spoke convincingly about this man’s tragic background. Since the judge delivered a sentence of life imprisonment rather than the death penalty, Cathy now has a very grateful pen pal who writes from prison at least once a week.

Cathy, thanks for your courage and for your faithfulness to your new pen pal.

Sister Rita Ann Teichman, CSJ

Sister Rita Ann Teichman, a Sister of St. Joseph, serves CMN in a very important — and almost invisible — way. She is the liaison from the Congregation of St. Joseph (CSJ) Mission Network. CMN has been a member of the CSJ Mission Network from its beginnings 15 years ago. In her role as liaison, Rita Ann talks of her deep admiration for the commitment of CMN to Catholic Social Teaching, especially the respect for life she sees embodied in CMN, which is consistent with the CSJ mission “to bring all into unity with God, with one another, and with all creation.”

Rita Ann, you might work behind the scenes, but you are a star in our eyes.

Sister Georgia Christensen, FSPA

Sister Georgia Christensen, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, is one of the sisters leading her congregation’s efforts to promote truth and healing with the Bad River Band of the Ojibwe Tribe. The FSPAs had a school for the tribe in Odanah, WI. Today they acknowledge that they are located on Ojibwe land. Georgia recognizes that cultivating a healing relationship with the Bad River Band can be challenging — and that is good. As she says, “it keeps us alert.”

Georgia, your witness to restorative justice inspires us all to promote truth and healing.

Sister Louise Micek, CSJ

Sister Louise Micek, a Sister of St. Joseph of Orange, California, responded to a simple invitation over thirty years ago to participate in a Mass with those in the Santa Ana Women’s Jail. After the service, the women were invited to sign a form if they would like to have a visitor. One of the women, Rosie, signed that form, and Louise began to visit her. Louise describes her role as simply “presence and listening.”  She accompanied Rosie through the days of her death penalty trial and through all the following years as Rosie lives out a sentence of life in prison without parole — what some call “death by incarceration.”

Louise, your presence has been a gift to Rosie and is a challenge to us to go do the same.

Sister Dolores Chepiga, SSJ

Sister Dolores Chepiga, a Sister of St. Joseph, volunteered to help another sister with a prison GED program for a week one summer, and her life has never been the same. She says she knew immediately that prison ministry was her call. She responded to that call for forty years. The many facets of that ministry as a prison chaplain gave her a new sensitivity to people who are incarcerated. Sister Dolores has continued writing to them for many years and recruiting others to do likewise. 

Dolores, thanks for your willingness to be open to such an important ministry and for sharing it with so many others.

Sister Christina Fuller, OSF

Sister Christina Fuller, a Franciscan Sister of the Sacred Heart, has discovered a unique way to celebrate her birthday on February 6. She set up a birthday fundraiser on her facebook page — and designated CMN as the recipient. Her “Facebook Friends” were then invited to celebrate with her by donating to CMN. This small gesture resulted in several generous donations and hopefully some enduring connections to CMN. 

Christina, thank you so much for modeling this unique way to celebrate your birthday and hopefully inspiring others to go do likewise.