Ministry With the Poor

Sisters of the Holy Cross are advocates for social justice and systemic reform. They live and work around the world as educators, nurses, administrators, counselors, social workers, spiritual ministers, writers, attorneys, and more. The Ministry With the Poor Fund—our most active vehicle for donor support—awards grants to supports projects sponsored by individual sisters that reflect the Congregation’s commitment to be in solidarity with the most vulnerable and marginalized—especially women and children.

Women learn wages through SOAR that help them meet basic needs for their families.

With the help of funds requested by Sister Comfort Arthur, CSC, Sisters Organizing and Advancing Recycling (SOAR) has become a plastic-waste recycling effort that raises awareness, creates a cleaner environment, and provides jobs for people who are vulnerable. The program is now expanding into additional dioceses and involving numerous schools and parishes.

Our time is now.

Starting in 2022, a natural evolution in our grant criteria is the alignment with the seven goals of the Laudato Si' Action Platform—Pope Francis’ universal call to come together to care for our common home and its people. This alignment is yet another reflection of the ways in which the Sisters of the Holy Cross continue to adapt while staying true to our mission statement and core values.

Flood recovery food

Sisters Agnes and Semerita, with a postulant,  help out a family affected by the flooding in the Rwenzori Mountains of western Uganda. 

2021–22 Ministry With the Poor Grants

Thanks to your support nearly $250,000 was disbursed to 43 projects in five countries that address a host of needs across a following of areas:

38%  Education

20% Social Services

15% Basic Needs

10% Skills Training

8% Faith Formation

8% Healthcare

View our 2020–2021 Donor Impact Report to see the many good things that were accomplished in the last grant cycle through Ministry With the Poor donations.

Holy Cross Sisters Esperanza , Mary Josephine and Lilma  responded to an urgent need by drawing on the messages of the Congregation’s Corporate Stand on Migration and Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, which calls for more human fraternity and solidarity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called Ministry With the Poor?

We took much care in giving the fund a name that is representative and respectful. You’ll notice that we capitalize “With” in the name. That’s not by accident. Our emphasis is not on “doing to” or “doing for,” but rather “walking with” those who are poor, powerless, marginalized at the fringes of society.

How big is the Ministry With the Poor fund?

Since its inception, the fund has grown because of the generosity of so many. In the last decade, donors have provided more than $3.6 million to go directly to projects serving the most vulnerable. This generosity has enabled us to distribute an average of more than $350,000 per year to fund sisters’ direct outreach—while still keeping the fund sustainable.

Are my gifts still really needed?

Yes! We carefully balance our invested funds with the idea that we should not hold onto available assets unnecessarily in a way that keeps them from enhancing the lives of the suffering. Each year, we rely on your gifts to continue supporting all our projects. Simply put, the more we receive in donations, the more we can distribute to meet needs.

How do you ensure the donations are used wisely?

Sisters of the Holy Cross who receive funding are directly responsible to oversee the use of the funds and must complete two accountability reports—one progress report six months into their project and a final report at the end of their one-year project. These reports include an accounting of the funds spent (including receipts) and contain specific information as to how the funds made a difference in the lives of those served.

Still wondering?

If you have a question about the Ministry With the Poor Fund that hasn’t been answered here, we would be happy to help. Please email

2021-2022 Grant Awards


Our Lady of Holy Cross School, Barakathal, India

The need for teacher salaries and development, as well as nourishing food, has increased dramatically during school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the grant, Sister Khochem Mossang, CSC, headmistress, is working to meet these vital needs. 

  • Their studies may be a bit easier this coming year, as boys at Our Lady of Holy Cross Boys’ Hostel in Barakathal, India, access books and healthy food, as well as other educational support items. Sister Nobina Rangsa Marak, CSC, requested the funds for the hostel, which gives students who live a great distance from Our Lady of Holy Cross School an opportunity to access a Holy Cross education.
  • At Our Lady of Holy Cross Girls’ Hostel in Barakathal, India, young girls who attend Our Lady of Holy Cross School are enjoying new desks and meals, as well as hygiene supplies, as part of a project sponsored by Sister Sengme Rangsa Marak, CSC.
  • In India, young girls who stay at the Jatah Village Hostel are receiving food, medicines and support for their school fees. Without this ministry, the girls would be unable to pursue an education due to their economic condition and the remoteness of their homes. Sister Joysline Mary Lyngkhoi, CSC, was awarded the grant.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent mandatory lockdowns resulted in budget strains for schools and families. In response, Sister Shibanlin Nongsiej, CSC, has been granted funds for student scholarships, teacher salaries, water filters and sanitizer at St. John School in Laitlawsnai, India, where she teaches.
  • Young women discerning a call to religious life with the Sisters of the Holy Cross often come from families unable to afford living and educational expenses for their daughters. This project sponsored by Sister Parboti Gomes, CSC, enables young women, regardless of their financial background, to continue pursuing their call to religious life at the Holy Cross Study House in Shillong, India.
students gather outside of Moreau Nursery and Primary school in Kirinda, Uganda

Moreau Nursery and Primary School, Kirinda, Uganda

A security camera system is being installed to assist with classroom security and discipline issues. The system also deters intruders, thanks to this project sponsored by Sister Catherine Magoba, CSC, who teaches at the school. The headmistress, Sister Jacinta Katusabe, CSC, sponsors a project that will give scholarships to students who otherwise would be unable to attend Moreau. The project also provides school uniforms and helps fund a food program for students who need extra nutrition. 

  • The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have made the cost of education out of reach for many families in Kirinda, Uganda. Now, scholarships are being given to students in need at St. Joseph on the Hill Secondary School, where Sister Jane Aluku Masangir, CSC, teaches.
  • A project by Sister Sharon Ann Mihm, CSC, gives tuition assistance to two young women in need so they can access a Holy Cross education at The Academy of the Holy Cross in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.
  • The School Readiness Program at Holy Cross Ministries is an innovative early childhood education program in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. It provides year-round academic instruction and social connection groups to low-income students and their families. Funds requested by Sister Mary Ann Pajakowski, CSC, are helping support the program’s costs. 
  • Social Services

    The second-year novices at Saint Mary’s put their feet to the (snowy) pavement, walking in solidarity with St. Margaret’s House.

    St. Margaret's House, South Bend, Indiana

    Provides meals and trauma-informed care programming that help clients effectively cope with traumatic experiences, thanks to this project sponsored by Sister Rose Anne (Schultz), CSC.

    • Sister Geraldine Hoyler, CSC, requested funds to assist Solidarity with South Sudan in supporting one Solidarity staff member who is working with the 6,000+ internally displaced people (IDPs) at Riimenze refugee camp in South Sudan. At the camp, an agricultural training program has been implemented, which helps individuals return to their plots of land.
    • Immigrants dealing with the effects of trauma are receiving bilingual, culturally competent counseling services through the Newcomer Network, affiliated with Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, United States. This project is sponsored by Sister Sharlet Ann Wagner, CSC.
    • Sister Genevra Rolf, CSC, requested assistance to partially fund the salary of a promotora (health promoter) at Holy Cross Ministries in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Promotoras are a vital community resource who connect low-income families with critical health resources such as education, insurance application assistance and referrals. 
    • Traumatized people in northern Uganda have suffered from decades of war and displacement. To bring them hope for a better future, Sister Beatrice Wangatia, CSC, is offering workshops on substance abuse, parenting and post-trauma treatment for youth, parents, teachers and the community in Koch Goma. School fees for 20 children who are orphaned is also being supported.

    Basic Needs

    • Sister Martha Nambi, CSC, is buying chickens to help boost the protein consumption of children at St. Jude’s Children’s Orphanage in Gulu, Uganda.
    • Food, medical and funeral cost support is being made possible at the Brother André Outreach Center, sponsored by Sister Maryanne O’Neill, CSC. This project enables the center to continue to reach out to the vulnerable who are struggling in Los Angeles, California, United States, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The “weekend meal gap” occurs from Friday nights through Sundays when children in low-income families are without school-provided meals and have little to eat at home. In Anderson, Indiana, United States, Sister Eileen Flavin, CSC, is supporting the Weekend BackPack SnackPack program that purchases food to cover the weekend gap for children in need. The project is sponsored by Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, originally founded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1894.
    • Dismas House in South Bend, Indiana, United States, helps individuals transitioning from prison to society. As part of a project by Sister Susan Kintzele, CSC, residents at Dismas House are receiving clothing and other basic needs. The project also supports case management costs and provides for social activities and trauma care.
    • Broadway Christian Church in South Bend, Indiana, United States, collaborating with Sister Suzanne Patterson, CSC, is able to stock its food pantry and soup-kitchen/breakfast ministry, as well as offer clothing, laundry, shower supplies and other needs for people who are marginalized or homeless.
    • Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, compassionately feeds the community's vulnerable populations with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sister Paula Goettelmann, CSC, requested funds to help Shepherd’s Table carry on its ministry, including groceries and kitchen supplies necessary for delivering food to people in need.

    Faith Formation

    As they color pages depicting the Way of the Cross, women from the villages learn more about their Catholic faith.

    Formation Workshops, Khagrachari, Bangladesh

    Christian tribal people in the Hill Tracts area are growing in their faith through workshops created by Sister Semita Nokrek, CSC. Sister is using the funds to also purchase prayer books and related equipment for catechesis

    • Youth at St. Martha’s parish in Kasoa, Ghana, are benefiting from faith formation and empowerment programs organized by Sister Monica Assifuah-Nunoo, CSC. With these funds, Sister Monica also is helping to meet the health care needs of those who are elderly, poor or disabled.
    • The chapel at St. Jude’s Children’s Orphanage in Gulu, Uganda, will feel almost new when a renovation project is complete. To support faith life for children who are orphaned, Sister Lilian Briege Awino, CSC, is using the funds to provide new cupboards for storing liturgical vestments and other items, repair damaged lighting, purchase new altar linens, and paint the chapel. 
    • The Pontifical Missionary Children youth group is excited to have new uniforms and faith materials, as well as musical instruments, as Sister Nancy Rose Njeri Njoroge, CSC, strives to promote the faith and engage youth in the church in Jinja, Uganda.
    • People in a remote region of Uganda have long dreamed of becoming a parish. Now, Sister Edith Tumuhimbise, CSC, is purchasing church vestments and missals for the new Mpaasana Catholic Parish. This project will create a strong and dignified beginning to this faith community.

    Health Care

    Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre, Kirinda, Uganda

    An outreach program to remote villages is delivering vital immunizations against deadly diseases each week. This project is sponsored by Sister Jacinta Mueni Munyao, CSC, a nurse at the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre. The grant funds transportation costs, food for staff and volunteers, and staff stipends.

    • Sixty elderly individuals and children living in poverty who are homebound and in need of medical assistance are receiving health care and social support, thanks to Sister Angelica Birungi, CSC, in Fort Portal, Uganda.
    • The Home of Hope is an orphanage serving 78 young children in Jinja, Uganda. Some of the children are severely disabled, but now have needed medicines thanks to Sister Grace Kitinisa, CSC. Sister Grace is also purchasing two cows to provide the children with milk, and disposable diapers are being obtained to support hygiene.
    • Too often, women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol suffer gender discrimination, and many are unable to afford fees for rehabilitation. For the Serenity Centre in Kampala, Uganda, Sister Mary Louise Wahler, CSC, sponsors a project that assists women in covering the costs of treatment. Without this support, the women would not have access to rehabilitative services.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has created fear among many HIV/AIDS patients who seek treatment at health clinics. Sister Lillian Nyakasaiki, CSC, director of the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre in Kirinda, Uganda, is implementing a program to encourage HIV/AIDS patients needing maternity care to regularly return to the health center for treatment. The project also provides for the costs of direct care of patients in need.
    • The Sister Carmel Fund for the Poor at the Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka, Indiana, United States, makes hospice services available to clients with limited financial resources. This fund, named in honor of Sister Carmel Marie (Sallows), CSC, a longtime hospice volunteer, ensures access to hospice services for those who are vulnerable.
    • Reins of Life in South Bend, Indiana, United States, offers equine-assisted therapeutic programs for individuals with disabilities. Sister Theresa Diane Streif, CSC, volunteers at Reins of Life and requested funding to continue enabling riders of limited financial means access to the therapeutic programs.

    Empowerment and Skills Training

    Sister Semerita (far right) meets with her planning group (from left) Joseph Mutabingwa, Sister Angelica Birungi, CSC, and Father Fidelis Safari Mushi.

    Empowerment Training, Uganda

    Victims of human trafficking in the Fort Portal diocese and Rwenzori region of Uganda are having their spiritual, social and psycho-social challenges addressed in a caring and compassionate way. With her grant, Sister Semerita Mbambu, CSC, is employing empowerment training in “green” skills (e.g., working with solar panels, making eco-briquets, practicing sustainable farming) and trauma-based counseling to help victims regain their lives.

    • In Bangladesh, women who have been trafficked have a resource in Sister Violet Rodrigues, CSC, who is collaborating with other religious to create educational workshops, while also raising awareness and providing resources to support survivors.
    • More people will be able to earn an income now that the SOAR (Sisters Organizing and Advancing Recycling) program is expanding In Ghana. With the help of funds requested by Sister Comfort Arthur, CSC, this plastic-waste recycling effort raises awareness, creates a cleaner environment, and provides jobs for people who are vulnerable. The program is now expanding into additional dioceses and involving numerous schools and parishes.