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November 21, 2017, Chicago – Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), was one of two recipients of the Great Preacher Award from the St. Albert the Great (Central) Province of the U.S. Dominican Friars. She and Monsignor Kenneth Velo, Senior Executive of Catholic Collaboration at De Paul University in Chicago, received the award at the Provincial’s Dinner November 4 at Misericordia Heart of Mercy in Chicago.
“This year, the Provincial’s Dinner honors two preachers whose extraordinary ministries and words totally reflect the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Father James V. Marchionda, OP, Prior Provincial of St. Albert the Great. “Great Preacher most fittingly describes this year’s gifted and faith-filled recipients.”
A native of Chicago, Sister Donna graduated from Regina Dominican High School, an all-girls school located in Wilmette, Illinois, and founded and sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. A clinical psychologist, she holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art, philosophy, and English from Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian, as well as a master’s degree in psychology and a PhD in clinical psychology, both from the University of Detroit.
Sister Donna served as President of Southdown Institute in Toronto, a residential program that offers healing and wholeness to priests and religious facing addictions and other mental health issues. She also offered leadership to the Adrian Dominican Congregation, first on the General Council under Prioress Sister Nadine Foley, OP, from 1986 to 1992 and then as Prioress from 2004 to 2010. She went on to serve as President of the Catholic Health Partners Behavioral Health Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, and to chair the Catholic Charities USA Board of Trustees.
In 2015, Sister Donna became the first woman to head CCUSA. Through 177 member agencies in 2,600 locations in the U.S. and its territories, CCUSA reaches out to people in need through services in housing; healthcare; employment and job training; immigrant and refugee support; advocacy; and family, children, and senior services; and leadership formation in Catholic identity for all involved in the agency’s work. In addition, CCUSA is the official domestic disaster relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, leading to the agency’s involvement in disaster relief for communities affected by recent hurricanes, floods, and fires.
The Provincial’s Dinner supports the formation ministry of the men entering the Dominicans through the Province, including the novitiate in Denver.
Left: Sister Donna Markham, OP, receives the Great Preacher Award from Rev. Louis S. Morrone, OP, Vicar Provincial, left, and the Very Rev. James Marchionda, OP, Prior Provincial. Right: Sister Donna Markham, OP, makes her acceptance address for the Great Preacher Award. Photos Courtesy of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great