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Donna Markham, OP, speaking to USCCB

November 28, 2022, Washington, D.C. – Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, addressed members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during its annual assembly on November 15, 2022, for a final time as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA). The first female to head CCUSA, Sister Donna announced recently that she will retire next year.

CCUSA is a network of agencies through the United States that address the needs of vulnerable people. Sister Donna told the U.S. Bishops that her goal was to "help this ministry become more financially stable and nimble as the entire Catholic Charities network responds to increasing demands to care for growing numbers of disaster victims, migrants, homeless folks, hungry people, mentally ill, addicted people, and families and children in precarious socio-economic situations."

Sister Donna, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation from 2004 to 2010, spoke not only of the needs of people throughout the United States and in territories such as Puerto Rico, but of the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations in helping CCUSA agencies meet those needs. 

"It’s important for you to tell the story of the Catholic Church’s response in this country to people who reside along the margins of our society, the very most fragile, the most vulnerable – to be able to say this is where our Church puts the Gospel into action," Sister Donna said. "It’s where Matthew 25 comes alive palpably every day across the entire country."

Watch the video of Sister Donna’s address.


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



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