Equity and Inclusion


In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters begin by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.

Our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters are collaborating on a Black Catholic Project that begins on January 18, 2021, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This project seeks to provide information on prominent Blacks and Black Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.

 

Equity and Inclusion Project

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'Mother' Mary Ann Wright

Mother Mary Ann Wright

Mother Mary Ann Wright (1941-2009)

Oakland Wiki says Mary Ann Wright was “a humanitarian activist” who lived and worked in Oakland, California, and fed East Bay residents for nearly three decades. To those she served, she was simply “Mother Wright.”

Born into an African-American Catholic family in New Orleans, Mother Wright married at age 14 and had nine children with her when she fled her abusive husband and moved to California. There, she worked picking the valley’s crops and as a domestic helper during the day and in a cannery at night.

In 1980, God told her in a dream “to feed the hungry.” She started out using her $236 Social Security check to buy food for a weekly dinner in Jefferson Park. She expanded to other areas of town, trudging beneath overpasses to deliver meals “with dignity,” she said, spreading out table cloths and wrapping forks in napkins.

Eventually Mother Wright secured a warehouse out of which she fed more than 450 people a day on a annual budget of $137,000. On holidays, long lines formed outside and Mother Wright was often on the sidewalk, bullhorn in hand, leading a prayer as people picked food, toys, and Christmas trees.

Her foundation also has helped people in Russia and Vietnam and founded a school in Kenya. In 2005, Mother Wright was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans, by the Caring Institute.

When she was 86 she said of her life’s path, “It’s a miracle,” and “I’ll be here until the Lord comes for me.”

The Lord came for Mother Wright on May 7, 2009.

 

Resources

Oakland Wiki article on Mother Wright
https://localwiki.org/oakland/Mother_Mary_Ann_Wright

Information on Oakland’s Mother of the Year Award, given to Mother Wright in 1989
https://localwiki.org/oakland/Oakland%27s_Mother_of_the_Year_Award

"Mother Wright, tireless advocate for poor, dies," SFGate article by John Coté, 2009
https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Mother-Wright-tireless-advocate-for-poor-dies-3242674.php

"'I Heard That': Remembering Mother Wright – Oakland’s Mother Theresa," BeyondChron article by Rochelle Metcalfe, 2009
https://beyondchron.org/i-heard-that-remembering-mother-wright-oaklands-mother-theresa/

"Mother Wright, Angel to the Hungry, Dies at 87," East Bay Times article by Angela Hill, 2009
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2009/05/08/mother-wright-angel-to-the-hungry-dies-at-87/

Mother Wright and The Iron Souls Motorcycle Club – YouTube video (photos by Hogphotog, Dianne Lukash Ray)
https://youtu.be/upcVyEiC2l4

The Homegoing Celebration for Mother Wright – YouTube video
https://youtu.be/RjHHMwevzoE

Congresswoman Barbara Lee tribute to Mary Ann Wright – YouTube video
https://youtu.be/7BIfQGAtMf0


Reflection Questions

1. Are you aware of food resources in your local community?

2. How might you assist?


Prayer

O God, you who fed the hungry and tired have gifted the people of Oakland and beyond with the life and love of Mother Mary Ann Wright.

You called her as you did St. Catherine of Siena, from the walls of her large family into the lives of families seeking food and welcome. She brought the love of your Son through her cooking and hospitality; you were made manifest in the breaking of the bread.

Inspire us to love our neighbor through word and deeds, filling hearts and minds and bodies with the gifts of your creation freely given where needed.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Amen

 

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People of African Descent on the Path to Sainthood

 

U.S. Black Catholic History Links

Black Catholic History page by Seattle University

Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series

News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois

 

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