November 11, 2015, University Center, Michigan – Sister Cheryl Liske, OP, community organizer and executive director of Gamaliel of Michigan, had the “distinct pleasure” of addressing some 425 delegates from 87 congregations of Community of Christ during their 2015 Fall Conference. Held November 6-8 at Saginaw Valley State University, the conference focused on “Liberating Disruption.”
The purpose of the 250,000-member Community of Christ Church is to “proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace,” with love as the “proper foundation of our relationship with others.”
In the first of three talks, Sister Cheryl spoke of her 25 years of work at Gamaliel, “founding and creating all five of the faith-based organizations in Detroit Metro, Saginaw, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Lansing.” In describing her membership in the Dominican family, she noted St. Dominic’s movement from serving as canon in the monastic community to the foundation of the Order of Preachers to serve “people who longed for the Church to reach out to them, come to them in their every day lives, and live like them…in their towns and villages.”
In her second, longer talk, Sister Cheryl focused on helping the Community of Christ delegates to understand the tools of community organizing that they could use in their own outreach to the world. “All of the trainings, issue work, and ongoing contact …creates in our member organizations a kind of ‘culture’ that enhances the work of the church,” she said.
Sister Cheryl introduced the delegates to a number of attitudes that are “foundational to community organizing”:
In a third talk, Sister Cheryl was invited to reflect on the Community of Christ as an outsider looking in. “I told them…that because of their team-like structure they were less like Superman – a single, solitary man of steel living in an ice palace – and more like Supergirl (in the new television series) – someone who lives in a little apartment [and] gathers a team around herself…in order to do the good things she wants to do.”
Adam Bouverette, part of the five-member Interim Michigan Mission Center President Team, thanked Sister Cheryl for addressing their organization and for learning about its purpose and mission. “We have no doubt that your affirmation and agitation will help us take steps toward abolishing poverty, ending needless suffering, and pursuing peace on Earth,” he said.
October 25, 2015, New York City, New York – The Wall Street Journal interviewed Sister Donna Markham, OP – former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and the first female President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA. The interview touches on an array of topics, including Sister Donna’s vision for Catholic Charities, funding and legislative challenges, female leadership within the Catholic Church, and Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States. Read The Wall Street Journal’s article by Melanie West.
Recently, Sister Donna Markham was also one of three panel participants at an October 22 discussion at Georgetown University. The panel discussion, titled “Women Taking the Lead: Acting on Pope Francis’ Message,” included Sister Donna Markham along with Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who heads the Catholic Health Association. Sister Donna Markham spoke to female leadership and the importance of collaboration. Read Mark Zimmermann’s article in the Catholic Standard.
June 18, 2015, Flossmoor, Illinois – Sister Norlee McDonnell, OP, who has ministered since 1971 at Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Flossmoor, Illinois, was honored by the Flossmoor Village Board for her years of dedicated service to the community. Originally a teacher at the school, Sister Norlee in 1975 helped to found the parish’s pastoral care program, which is still flourishing. Read the entire article, by Tom Houlihan, in The Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle.