The nuns behind the many
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CATHOLIC SISTERS have long been instrumental characters in American history, but today’s Catholics don’t need to dig far to see their impact. Not long ago
this fact was on display in a magazine for graduates of Dominican University in
Chicago (formerly Rosary College). A state Supreme Court justice in Washington
state credited Dominican Sisters at the university with
helping her move from impoverished underachiever
into her current role: “The sisters were revolutionary
women before their time,” Justice Mary Yu told a
reporter for Dominican Magazine. Another alumna,
acclaimed labor organizer Eileen Willenborg, noted that
her history professor, Sister Albertus Magnus McGrath,
O.P., often encouraged her female students to be
leaders: “Get off the pedestal and stay away from the
bake sales” was her advice.
A whole host of celebrities, intellectuals, inventors,and culture influencers throughout the country—fromcomedian Stephen Colbert to several Supreme Courtjustices—point to their beginnings with Catholic sisters in Catholic grade schools and highschools. Research has shown that Catholic education in the United States—built largely by sisterswho ran parochial schools but also by men’s religious orders—has a lifelong positive effect ongraduates, from higher levels of pro-social behavior to increased levels of faith engagement.
FRANCISCANS have long been known for their dedication to nature and love for thepoor. Little Portion Farm outside of Baltimoreaims to be a balm to both. The ConventualFranciscans of Our Lady of the Angel Provinceruns the organic vegetable farm with an intent to restore the formerly depleted soil, helppeople see themselves as part of nature, and
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FRANCISCAN FARM FEEDS HUNGRY FOLKS
funnel crops into a high-volume soup kitchenin downtown Baltimore. More than 115,000
people a year eat at the Franciscan Center.
The land is actually part of the groundsof a shrine to Saint Anthony that the Franciscan community oversees. “I came out andscratched into the dirt, and when I did that,it was actually like concrete,” farm directorFather Mike Lasky, O.F.M.Conv. told WJZ TVabout the farm’s beginnings. Sustainable farmmethods have started to improve the quality ofthe soil since the project’s beginnings in 2018.
The goal of helping people see themselves
as one with nature may be a little harder to
measure than soil improvement and crop yields,
but it is important to the Franciscans. “Drawing
close to nature puts us in the space needed to
allow nature to speak to us and teach us what it
means to be in relationship with her and all that
is living. Little Portion Farm is a space where
visitors come to touch, to smell, to hear, to see
and to taste what nature has to freely give.”
To learn more, visit shrineofstanthony.org/
MEN IN formation tojoin the ConventualFranciscancommunity show offa tomato seedlingduring the plantingperiod at LittlePortion Farm.
JUSTICE MARY YU of the state of WashingtonSupreme Court credits nuns with helpingher become a leader in the world of law.
SISTER ALBERTUS MagnusMcGrath, O.P. was a historyteacher at DominicanUniversity (then RosaryCollege) who encouraged herfemale students to realizetheir leadership potential.