Founder and president of Sisters Rising Worldwide, Sister Irene talks about the innovative program that connects Catholic sisters serving in vulnerable communities around the globe, with resources and funding to address issues such as poverty, homelessness, and hunger. Sister Irene describes the origins of Sisters Rising and the life-changing differences the ministry is helping to make around the world.
VOCATION JOURNEY AND EARLIER MINISTRIES
(2:00) Innovation and helping others: early influences in Sister Irene’s life.
(4:00) Vocation journey to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul, Minn.
(5:00) Dramatic nun encounter at the University of Minnesota—a turning point for Sister Irene.
(8:46) Attracted by the mission and spirit of the CSJ Sisters.
(9:40) Learning about learning: education ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
(12:00) Creating a model for fundraising to support ministries in the St. Paul area.
SISTERS RISING WORLDWIDE
(16:16) An unexpected offer to help sisters effect change globally.
(19:00) The creation of Sisters Rising Worldwide.
(24:15) How to bring together ideas and solutions to pressing global problems, with support through crowdfunding
MAKING A DIFFERENCE AROUND THE WORLD
(29:41) Vertical gardens in Nigeria, a project funded through Sisters Rising Worldwide
(33:17) Working with the Alight NGO at the U.S. – Mexico border: breaking bread and sharing community.
(36:00) Providing education and safety for young women in India.
JOY, SIMPLICITY AND OTHER HALLMARKS OF RELIGIOUS LIFE
(42:48) Does the vow of poverty as a Catholic sister bring a unique perspective to philanthropic ministry?
(46:00) Important info to know about Catholic sisters.
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Sister Irene O'Neill, CSJ, was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she met and later joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Her initial ministries were in education, first as an elementary school teacher and then as Curriculum Coordinator for the 105 elementary schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Her ministry shifted from formal education to philanthropy. She established and for 20 years led the CSJ Ministries Foundation, supporting the sisters' efforts to provide health care, housing, and other needs in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area. In 2016, she worked with a group of Catholic sisters to establishSisters Rising Worldwide and currently serves as president. Sister Irene has a master's degree in elementary education and a doctorate in educational leadership.