September 26, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, has always been seen as a competent, hard-working Sister, from her years as a high school principal to more than 25 years as Secretary of the Adrian Dominican Congregation and, currently, as Director of the Office of Information for the Congregation. For years, she wore the dual hats of Secretary of the Congregation and Director of Information – a daunting load for most people.
But, before 1982, Sister Rose Celeste carried an added burden – unknown to most people – of addiction to alcohol. Since taking her last drink in 1982 and entering into recovery, she has trained to serve as a chaplain for people facing addictions, and currently leads an annual Serenity Retreat for Women at Weber Retreat Center in Adrian. Read Sister Rose Celeste’s story, as told in The National Catholic Reporter’s Global Sisters Report by Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans. A related article tells of the addictions and other mental illness problems that women religious have faced and the recovery and treatment programs available to women religious and clergy.
September 26, 2017, Washington, DC – For the second year in a row, Sister Donna Markham, OP, was recognized by The Non-Profit Times (NPT) as one of the Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders of non-profit organizations. She and the 49 other leaders were feted September 14 at the 20th Annual NPT Power and Influence Top 50 Gala at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The top 50 leaders are chosen from 300 top executives by a committee of NPT staff members, contributors, and other executives in recognition of the impact that the leaders have had on society in the past 12 months.
Sister Donna, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), was honored for her efforts to serve immigrants and refugees – a service named by CCUSA as a top priority. In its program, the NPT describes Sister Donna as a “national strategic thinker for combatting the impact of the expurgated federal budget.”
Speaking of her efforts at CCUSA, Sister Donna said, “Our commitment to care for those who are most vulnerable resides at the core of our faith.”
The impact of CCUSA was felt in a strong way in August when the agency, the U.S. Catholic Church’s official domestic relief agency, launched a Disaster Mobile Response Center vehicle to bring relief to victims of natural disaster. The vehicle was dispatched to San Antonio, Texas, to bring relief supplies to Houston after Hurricane Harvey.
Sister Donna, former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is the first woman to head CCUSA, a national network of 164 agencies that serve people in need. Services include disaster relief, food banks and pantries, emergency shelter and a variety of housing options, educational and training opportunities for adults and children, and advocacy on behalf of those who are in need.
Feature photo at top: Sister Donna Markham, OP, poses with two other Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders, Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way (left) and Kevin Washington, CEO of YMCA.