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Law alumna nationally recognized as a Catholic making a difference

Loyola press release - July 13, 2012

A Loyola University New Orleans College of Law alumna, currently preparing to become a nun with a local congregation, was recently named by the National Catholic Reporter as one of its inaugural “12 Catholic women under 40 making a difference." Alison McCrary, J.D. '10, was featured in the article for performing social justice movement work throughout the South. The article is part of NCR’s Women Today special section in the July 6-19, 2012, issue.

Since graduation, McCrary, a lawyer, has been coordinating legal teams all over the South to provide legal advice and representation to those practicing civil disobedience. She also became a novice with the Congregation of St. Joseph this past May, having spent the last two years in the postulancy with the sisters, living and praying with them and working as a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow at the nonprofit, Safe Streets/Strong Communities. She was selected as a Soros Fellow in 2010 during her final year at Loyola. In May, McCrary began her two-year novitiate journey in Chicago and will begin her canonical year of this period with other novices in August. These two years are required by canon law before one professes the public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

“I am grateful to have been nominated and selected for this honor and to be listed among other ordinary women doing extraordinary work in our church and in our communities. There are millions of other women and men around the globe who are and should be listed in this number,” McCrary said.

While at Loyola, she volunteered more than 1,500 hours locally with multiple organizations in Louisiana, including the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, St. Augustine’s Catholic Youth Organization, Workplace Justice Project, American Civil Liberties Union and the Mardi Gras Indian Council.

As a second year student at Loyola, McCrary received the Louisiana State Bar Association’s 2009 Pro Bono Publico Law Student Award, given annually to a student from an American Bar Association-accredited law school in Louisiana who has demonstrated dedication to providing legal services to the poor. McCrary was also a research assistant to William P. Quigley, J.D. ’77, director of the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center, who sees her as a role model to others in the community.

"Alison is an inspiring southern Catholic social justice advocate and Loyola Law grad. She has worked diligently for years on human rights issues like the death penalty, the School of the Americas, Mardi Gras Indian tribes and reforming the criminal justice system. We could use a hundred more like her," Quigley said.

After the novitiate process, McCrary intends to return to New Orleans and continue a ministry of social justice and legal advocacy.

“When that time comes, my community and I will discern what unmet needs the spirit is calling us to respond to and what opportunities may be available to best share the gifts God has given,” McCrary said.

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or jshields@loyno.edu.