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Conrad N. Hilton Foundation partners with Loyola to promote just and resilient communities in Eastern Africa

By Loyola University on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 13:08

(New Orleans – May 4, 2020) Loyola University New Orleans’ Institute for Ministry (LIM) has been awarded a third grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Catholic Sisters Initiative. The $325,000 grant funds the project “Living Charisms for Sustainable Human Development,” which supports Catholic sisters in Eastern Africa in connecting action on sustainable human development to Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and to their culturally specific identities and charisms.

Catholic sisters in Africa act powerfully and broadly in support of sustainable human development through their care for the poor and marginalized and their actions promoting peace and sustainability. Sisters’ ministries build more just and resilient communities, in alignment with the vision of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, relatively few people beyond the immediate Catholic community see sisters’ work as contributing to the goals. Sisters themselves have reported that their ministries are simply “what sisters do.”  

When sisters connect their ministries to action for sustainable development via the Church’s teaching on social issues, they understand the transformative character of congregational charisms more deeply and are inspired to lead and to partner with others in the wider human development sector. 

In this project, 18 new students from congregations in South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, and Malawi will complete LIM’s Certificate in Catholic Social Teaching (CST). They join 10 students from LIM’s most recent Foundation-funded project, “Catholic Sisters in Partnership for Sustainability,” who will continue their studies to complete LIM’s Certificate in Theology and Ministry.

As a result of their online studies, sisters will weave Catholic Social Teaching’s commitment to human development throughout congregational life. In particular, they will build congregational capacity for effective work with and for vulnerable and trauma-exposed youth. 

Reflecting on LIM’s previous projects with the Foundation, Project Manager Sarah DeMarais says that “through all of their ministries, sisters witness to faith in our generous God, who is present in a special way to the poor and marginalized. They inspire their community members and us at Loyola as models of spirituality lived through prayerful and courageous social action.”

Project Director Dr. Thomas Ryan values the partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. 

“As a result of past work together, we have been able to educate scores of sisters and, through them, their congregations and those they serve. We have also learned about how the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching inspires action for sustainable development and about the power and leadership of sisters in working for sustainability,” Dr. Ryan said.

Learn more about this and previous projects.