Connections Multiply Through Expansion of Ministry With the Poor Fund
In the Gospels, Jesus commands us to care for everyone, but especially the individual who is vulnerable or marginalized. Commonly tied to this call, the Sisters of the Holy Cross—from generation to generation—have directed special care to people subsisting on the fringes of society, in material and spiritual poverty and in systems of oppression.
On four continents and in eight countries, sisters engage the world as emissaries of Christ’s love and compassion. Serving in areas as broad as education, health care, conservation, immigration, human trafficking, food sourcing, peace building, land rights, spiritual formation and investing, they ferry Jesus’ message—seeking to transform and to be transformed, for the life of the whole world.
Much of this work finds support through the Congregation’s Ministry With the Poor Fund. Last year alone, more than $248,000 was granted to 43 projects around the globe. The fund, comprised solely from benefactor donations, provides grants annually for sisters to use in projects they are involved in personally. And from these projects, new connections and caring pathways invariably emerge.
Here's what that looks like
Monies directed to teacher pay, water filters and hygiene supplies at St. John School, Meghalaya, India, allow the flow of education to continue. Health supplies provide safety, while supported teachers impart knowledge for the mind and heart. By bringing these teachings to their families and communities, students can help shape relationships and social systems.
The SOAR recycling program in Kasoa, Ghana, clears waterways, prevents illness and creates jobs. As a result, workers receive training and education on protecting natural resources and the environment. Their investment and engagement birth more practices and projects, tying in more people.
In Washington, D.C., Catholic Charities’ Newcomer Network provides culturally competent counseling services to immigrants dealing with the effects of trauma. Achieving mental health helps clients find and maintain employment, develop healthy families and advocate for themselves. They also pass along their knowledge to family and friends.
Individuals who have been trafficked are receiving spiritual and psychosocial support in the Fort Portal and Rwenzori regions of Uganda. Counseling and medical treatment aid in healing and rebuilding of self-esteem, and training in various trades helps them reenter society. At the same time, communities are informed of the plight and needs of these individuals and educated about the threat of human trafficking.
Nutritious food, desks and cleaning essentials keep students on course to fulfill their role as scholars at Our Lady of Holy Cross School, Barakathal, India. Clean and well-equipped hostel and school buildings provide an atmosphere of security conducive to student growth, and imparted knowledge prepares students for leadership roles in their communities and the church.
As these examples illustrate, from one good work evolves another, and another, and yet another. Inspired by such outcomes and the trailing thread of possibilities, the sisters envisioned an even grander canvas. With the 2022-23 grant year, the Congregation broadened its Ministry With the Poor project criteria, aligning with the Laudato Si' Action Platform’s seven goals.
The platform’s goals, shaped by Pope Francis’ Laudato Si' message, are Response to the Cry of the Earth, Response to the Cry of the Poor, Ecological Economics, Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles, Ecological Education, Ecological Spirituality, and Community Resilience and Empowerment. The Ministry With the Poor Fund has always supported projects that uplift vulnerable individuals and communities and combat poverty. But the platform’s goals underscore how these aims intersect with care for the Earth, our common home, and introduce new opportunities for ministry and engagement. Visit the Congregation’s Laudato Si' web page to learn more about the action platform and goals and to sign up as partners in this seven-year initiative.
Not surprisingly, the Laudato Si' goals echo the Congregation’s own Mission and Core Values and corporate stands and are reflected in numerous existing programs and services, like those mentioned here. But with the expansion of the fund criteria, where we go from here is boundless. We hope you share in our excitement over the new ministries and relationships that will develop and flourish.
The Congregation—and the many recipients of your generosity—thank you for your faithful support of the Ministry With the Poor Fund. We look forward to all that will be accomplished together as we help build this stretching, reaching, branching—limitless—lifeline for all people and our planet.