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October 11, 2022, Alexandria, Virginia – Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, recently announced her plans to retire as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) in the summer of 2023. After serving on its board, she became CEO in 2015, the first woman to lead CCUSA in its 112 years of service.

Currently, CCUSA serves more than 15 million people every year through local agencies across the United States. Ministry areas include food and nutrition, affordable housing, disaster relief, immigration and refugee services, advocacy and social policy initiatives, and social enterprise initiatives. 

Sister Donna led CCUSA through periods of challenge and innovation, as well as during the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her leadership role at the national agency gave Sister Donna numerous opportunities: to accompany Pope Francis during his tour of New York and Washington, D.C., in 2015; to visit the California-Mexico border to learn of the situation and to support Catholic Charities workers; to participate in a meeting of faith leaders with Vice President Kamala Harris; and to speak out on a variety of issues and government policies that affect people living in poverty.

Sister Donna served in numerous leadership roles in the past 40 years. A certified clinical psychologist, she held leadership positions in mental health agencies: the Behavioral Health Institute for Mercy Health, serving Ohio and Kentucky, and Southdown Institute, based in Ontario, Canada, and offering residential treatment for clergy and religious. She served on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council from 1986 to 1992 and as Prioress of the Congregation from 2004 to 2010.

Read more about Sister Donna’s retirement and her ministry at CCUSA

May 2, 2022, Washington, D.C. – Pope Francis’ message of the need to reach out to people on the margins is “spiritually exhilarating” to those who work directly with people suffering from poverty and marginalization. That was the perspective of Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, who, as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, has dedicated her own life to reaching out to people in need.

Sister Donna Markham, OP

In an article in a recent issue of Our Sunday Visitor, Sister Donna said Pope Francis’ message was credible because of his own work with people in poverty. “His whole life in Latin America has put him face to face with people in abject poverty,” she told Our Sunday Visitor. “He knows how to engage with them.”

Sister Donna experienced the pope’s dedication to struggling people first-hand when, in September 2015, she accompanied him on a tour of agencies that serve people in poverty in New York and Washington, D.C. She was present for his visit to Catholic Charities, when he visited people who were homeless; for his address to the United Nations; and for his visit with immigrants at Queen of Angels School in Harlem. 

Read the article about Pope Francis and his concern for people suffering from poverty.


Feature photo: Pope Francis addresses dignitaries on the White House Lawn during his 2015 tour of the United States, including New York and Washington, D.C. The photo was taken by Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, who was invited to several events during the pope’s visit. Adrian Dominican Sisters File Photo



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