April 8, 2016, Miami, Florida – Barry University continued its year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary on April 5 with a lunch-time mini-conference on Earth Justice: Ways of Caring for our Common Home. Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD, President, welcomed five Adrian Dominican Sisters who served as panelists. Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress-elect of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and founder and director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, facilitated the panel discussion. Also serving on the panel were Sister Judy Byron, OP; Sister Carol Coston, OP; Sister Elise D. García, OP; and Sister Mary Ellen Leciejewski, OP. Watch the video of the panel discussion.
April 8, 2016, Houston, Texas – Sister Maureen O’Connell, OP, founder and director of Angela House, has been named a Houston Hero for her dedication to helping women who had been imprisoned to turn their lives around. She founded Angela House in 2001 as a residential program to offer women the treatment, education, and support they need to leave behind prison life – and the behaviors that led to their imprisonment – and to transition successfully into life in the greater community. Read the Houston Chronicle article by Allison Bagley.
Sister Maureen has also been cited in two of the National Catholic Reporter’s Global Sisters Report articles, part of a series on the U.S. criminal justice system and the ministry of U.S. Catholic Sisters with current and former prisoners. The article on the “caste system” that former offenders face details the many programs that Angela House offers to prepare the women for employment and a new life in society. In an article on the changes in the prison system, Sister Maureen speaks of the need for prisons to include a “release program” that would help prisoners prepare for their release months in advance.