Washington D.C. Catholic Charities USA has awarded $2,010,000 to congregations of women religious based in the New Orleans area to help them restore ministries to the poor, severely diminished, or completely destroyed by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
The grant, approved by the Disaster Response Office of Catholic Charities USA, will be administered by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in Silver Spring, Md.
It forms part of a larger fundraising effort over the past two years co-sponsored by LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious), and FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities) a consortium of private grant making agencies.
The LCWR/FADICA New Orleans Recovery Project was begun in 2006 following visits by the leadership of the two organizations to view firsthand the storm damages to convents, schools, and ministries to the poor.
Notable during the visit was the destruction of nursing facilities, schools, community and daycare centers, and other services to the poor sponsored by religious women.
Subsequently, LCWR and FADICA joined forces to assist eight communities of religious women in New Orleans with their fundraising priorities.
With the leadership of the SC Ministry Foundation, and help from several additional foundation members within FADICA, as well as the Sisters of Charity of Cleveland Foundation and the Alleghany Franciscan Foundation of Florida, a fundraising office was opened in 2007.
Sr. Suzanne Hall, SNDdeN, an attorney, co-foundress of the Sisters Academy of Baltimore, and former Director of the USCCB Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, was appointed as the Project Coordinator and principal fundraiser.
About $5 million in grants for the religious communities had been raised by Sr. Hall over the course of fifteen months from private foundations in the FADICA network prior to the CCUSA grant. This past August, Sr. Hall developed and presented a coordinated application to CCUSA to benefit the religious communities in New Orleans.
Among the projects benefitting from the CCUSA grant will be two early childhood learning centers, one sponsored by the Ursuline sisters, and the other staffed by Carmelite sisters.
The Sisters of the Holy Family will receive help to rebuild a nursing home and daycare center, while the Marianites of the Holy Cross, will renovate and restore a community center serving low income residents of the Ninth Ward.
The Sisters of St. Joseph, who lost a major facility to flooding and fire, will receive funds to benefit a program that will offer counseling and guidance to low income residents of New Orleans who are navigating insurance and government programs to help them rebuild their lives.
Other grants will go to the Dominican sisters for scholarship help in their high school, St. Mary’s, which serves low income students from Girls Hope of New Orleans, and to the Sisters of St. Teresa for a Mobile Emergency Assistance Outreach program to assist families coming back to New Orleans.
The CCUSA funds are part of a national appeal made in 2005 that generated over $160 million from parishes, dioceses, corporations and foundations across the country.
With the receipt of the CCUSA grant, the New Orleans Recovery Project has realized close to $7,100,000 to date, all of which has gone directly to the sisters for their ministries.
Francis J. Butler 202/223/8233
Sr. Suzanne Hall, SNDden, 410-303-4872