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July 23, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The second in a series of educational forums on resilient communities is being offered by Adrian Dominican Sisters from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 22, 2018, at Weber Retreat and Conference Center. Titled “Resiliency in our Midst,” the program includes presentations by Adrian Dominican Sisters Judy Byron, OP, Maurine Barzantni, OP, and Janet Stankowski, OP, on their experiences in serving in resilient communities.
The program is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Early registration is recommended by calling 517-266-4000 or visiting http://bit.ly/RCweber.
About 26 years ago, Sister Judy and women religious from four other congregations in the Seattle area responded to the growing problem of homelessness by building partnerships among religious, developers, and residents to create affordable housing and wrap-around services. By reaching out to neighbors and working with others, Mercy Northwest Housing became a national model for comprehensive community development.
In 1960, Sister Judy entered the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Edmonds (Washington), which merged with the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2003. She was elected to serve on the Edmonds Dominicans’ General Council and later as Prioress. She was one of the founders of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, where she serves as Program Director. She is also the Director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment.
Sister Maurine and the late Renee Richie, OP, began to minister with displaced and impoverished people in a remote, rural area of the Dominican Republic in 1990. They met with the women of El Cruce de Arroyo Hondo to identify needs and dreams: a medicine dispensary and a K-12 school, Escuela Espíritu Santo Fe y Alegria, which has become the heart of the community. Sister Maurine left the Dominican Republic in 2011 and has since ministered in Kenya for three years and for another three years among the Carrier Nation in northern British Columbia, Canada. An Adrian Dominican Sister for 59 years, Sister Maurine taught in the Chicago area for most of her first 30 years in religious life.
Sister Janet’s commitment to saving the planet brought her together with Patty Gillis, an Adrian Dominican Associate, to co-found Voices for Earth Justice. Based in Detroit, this interfaith nonprofit organization helps diverse faith communities engage in environmental awareness and action. Sister Janet’s work with Voices for Earth Justice led to the renovation of a house in Brightmoor, one of Detroit’s poorest neighborhoods. Hope House is a gathering place to connect with nature and with people from diverse backgrounds, contributing to the revitalization of the neighborhood. An Adrian Dominican Sister for 45 years, Sister Janet also has ministered as a teacher, university chaplain, parish administrator, residence hall director, and not-for-profit board member.
Weber Center is on the campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse, 1257 E. Siena Heights Drive, Adrian. Enter the Eastern-most driveway of the complex and follow the signs to Weber Center. For information, call the Weber Center at 517-266-4000.
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July 16, 2018, New York, New York – Adrian Dominican Sister Judy Byron, OP, along with Sister Susan Vickers, RSM, will receive the 2018 Legacy Award from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) during a special event on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, in New York City. Both are being recognized for providing “a strong moral foundation and an enduring record of demonstrated influence on corporate policies.”
Sister Judy, a member of ICCR since 1998, is the director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment and the program director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) in Seattle, Washington. She is a consultant for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), serves on the Board of Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) and served on ICCR’s board from 2002 to 2005.
“Sister Judy Byron is tireless in her compassion, and passion, for justice,” said Margaret Weber, a colleague at the PAB. “Her light is steady and unwavering. She keeps a social justice lens ‘at the ready’ for critical moments in time for the shareholder voice. Judy’s leadership on the gun safety shareholder proposal at Sturm Ruger is illustrative of how she sees a moment in time and acts on it.”
Rev. Séamus Finn, Chair of the Board for ICCR, spoke of the “profound impact” that both Sister Judy and Sister Susan have on the work of ICCR. “Judy’s quiet yet persistent presence consistently brings a clear social justice voice into our meetings and conversations,” he said. “She never fails to remind companies – and all of us – about the impact policies and decisions have on local communities and on the lives of people who are frequently ignored or excluded.”
“What I’m very aware of in my corporate responsibility work is that this is truly a collaborative work,” Sister Judy said. “I don’t think this award is so much for me as a recognition of the difference that faith-based shareholders are making and that we in the Northwest have been able to make in the social and environmental issues we’ve addressed – gun safety, health equity, human rights, human trafficking, and climate change. Together, we’ve been a moral voice, working to create a just and sustainable global community.”
For Sister Judy, one of the challenges of corporate responsibility ministry is the scope of the justice issues that need to be brought to corporate boardrooms. “Our challenge is to prioritize which issues and companies we should engage, so that we can transform these corporations,” she said. “We focus on industry leaders, who can, in turn, change the direction of entire industries.”
She gave the example of ICCR’s work with the pharmaceutical industry to move them to make their HIV/AIDS medicines available to more people, especially those in low-income countries. “When we approached them in 2000, their medicines were available to a miniscule number of people in low- and middle-income countries,” she explained. “After our dialogue with them, they really stepped up and now millions of people are receiving treatment.” Most significantly,” she said, “faith-based shareholders engaged Gilead Sciences, who is now the leader in providing treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries.
“Our strength is that we are faith-based shareholders,” Sister Judy explained. “We bring a collective moral voice to the companies. We say that ‘We are inspired by faith and committed to action.’ And I would add, action for the common good.”