January 28, 2020, Oakland, California – Dorothy Ann Fernandes Castillo became an Adrian Dominican Associate December 16, 2019, at the Oakland, California, home of Sisters Marian Castelluccio, OP, and Evelyn Montez, OP – her mentors – and Sister Cecilia Nguyen, OP.
Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age – married, single, widowed, or divorced – who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters and live out the Dominican charism in their daily lives.
Dorothy met the Adrian Dominican Sisters when she was a student at All Saints Grade School and Bishop O’Dowd High School in her native Oakland. A member of the Holy Cross Crowd, she entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation and attended Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian. After teaching, she worked in Human Resources at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California, in charge of hiring nurses and keeping their records.
After leaving the Congregation, Dorothy met and married Edward Castillo. They have been married for more than 25 years. Dorothy is the stepmother of two adult children and a grandmother.
Dorothy and Edward have been involved in the American Legion, helping veterans and their families. Dorothy serves as the treasurer. She also ministers in several senior centers and in her parish.
As an Associate, Dorothy hopes to develop a closer spiritual relationship with the Adrian Dominican Congregation and Associate Life. She is willing to share her gift of deep spirituality with others.
If you feel called to be an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in vowed life as an Adrian Dominican Sister, contact one of the Co-Directors of Vocations: Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532 or email@example.com or Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, at 517-266-3537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 27, 2020, Washington, D.C. – Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) joined a coalition of organizations involved in the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign, focused on making affordable housing a national priority. Leaders of these organizations participated in a panel discussion during a special event, “Broadening the Movement: Housing as a National Priority in 2020,” held January 16, 2020, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO of CCUSA, spoke of her agency’s involvement in meeting the critical needs that are facing people today – including housing. CCUSA is charged with the domestic humanitarian work of the Catholic Church in the United States and its territories, serving 12.5 million people in need each year.
“As a faith-based organization, assisting vulnerable people claim a life of dignity is not just another part of our work – it is a moral imperative,” Sister Donna said. “Our long-standing Catholic social teaching says that we are obligated to make a preferential option for those who are poor and vulnerable. And we’ve got a [housing] crisis on our hands.”
Sister Donna became aware of the compelling need to address the housing shortage after a theological reflection process that involved 58,000 CCUSA employees from across the country. The issue of the lack of affordable housing “arose in every single Catholic Charities agency, in every state, and in every territory of the country,” she said. “We have been operating over 35,000 units of housing of all types when I came into this job five years ago. But now we really felt the imperative to ramp that up significantly.”
Other panelists were Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition; Irma Esparza Diggs, Senior Executive and Director of Federal Advocacy for the National League of Cities; Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center; and Dr. Megan Sandel, MD, MPH, principal investigator with Children’s HealthWatch and Co-Director of the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center. Mike Koprowski, National Director of the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign, facilitated the discussion.
“Opportunity Starts at Home is an unprecedented, multi-sector campaign with leaders from many fields working toward increased investments to house the lowest income people,” Ms. Yentel said. “We’re here because 2020 is such a consequential year for our work.”
Dr. Sandel said “the United States will spend $111 billion over the next 10 years in avoidable healthcare costs because of housing instability. When people say we don’t have the money to tackle the housing crisis, I say that we’re spending it now and getting bad outcomes. Why don’t we spend it better and get better outcomes?”
Mr. Koprowski emphasized that housing is an issue for all Americans, regardless of their party affiliation. “Housing isn’t a blue state issue or a red state issue – it’s a purple issue,” Mr. Koprowski said. “There is a growing recognition that housing is inextricably linked to nearly every measure of having a quality life."
Watch the panel discussion on the housing crisis. Sister Donna’s talk can be found at the 20-minute mark. Her description of CCUSA’s Healthy Housing Initiative can be found at about the 37-minute mark, in response to a question from Mr. Koprowski.
In addition, read the Global Sisters Report article by Dennis Sadowski of Catholic News Service about the panel discussion, beginning with quotes from Sister Donna about the housing crisis.
Feature photo: Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, right, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, speaks with Dr. Megan Sandel of Children’s HealthWatch during a panel discussion on housing. Photo Courtesy of Catholic Charities USA