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News

1000 Sisters on the Frontlines receive $1,000

May 18, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press, Vocations, Breaking News


1000 Sisters on the Frontlines receive $1,000

Ambitious goal reached funding of $1 million to women religious on frontlines of pandemic

Just shy of the one-year mark from when the program was launched, the Sisters on the Frontlines initiative, an alliance formed to respond to the immediate needs of communities impacted by COVID-19, has been fully funded. Catholic Extension made the announcement, indicating attainment of an ambitious goal that granted 1,000 Catholic sisters $1,000 each to help an individual or family suffering the adverse effects of the pandemic. More than $1,000,000 has been granted in total since the program’s inception.

The program was created by the Congregation of St. Joseph, Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters, FADICA, GHR Foundation, The Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and Catholic Extension in June of 2020. The alliance recognizes the vital role of Catholic sisters in communities with the greatest needs and sought to aid them in their work by providing direct funding.

In return for the $1,000 grant, each sister was asked to report back to the Frontlines alliance on how she used the funds to care for those in need. As a result, Catholic Extension received hundreds of videos, stories, letters and photos, which have been archived and shared on Catholic Extension’s website and social media channels.

In all, the funds reached 107 dioceses in 41 states, as well as Washington D.C., the Caroline Islands, the Pacific Islands (Samoa and Chalan Kanoa), and the Caribbean (St. Thomas Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico).

“This initiative has provided a powerful example of the prophetic witness of women religious and is a continuation of their long history of solidarity with the poor and vulnerable,” said Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension. “To know that so many sisters have come together to help make such an impact in the lives of the poor during this most difficult year has been truly humbling. We are indebted to the sisters and all of the alliance members who helped make this program possible.”

Catholic Extension has directly funded several Sisters in the San Antonio region.

Grant funds life-saving rapid COVID-19 tests in San Antonio nursing home

In nursing homes across the country, the last year has been grim. More than 100,000 residents and 1,000 of their caregivers have died from the coronavirus pandemic. Rapid COVID-19 tests to quickly identify cases are still hard to come by. Vaccines are on the way, but in many places, including the Diocese of San Antonio, the distribution is still slow.

Saint Francis Nursing Home, has already endured two coronavirus outbreaks. At this non-profit Catholic facility, essential medical staff include a small group of missionary sisters from Poland. The women religious all volunteered to take care of residents in the special COVID-19 unit.

Quickly controlling transmission is crucial. The sisters witnessed first-hand how rapid COVID-19 tests can help identify cases quickly enough to stop the virus from spreading. But the tests come at a steep price: 50 test kits for $250.

So when two of these sisters, Sister Sancja Panek and Sister Samuela Komperda, each received $1,000 grants from Sisters on the Frontlines, they knew just what to do. Sister Sancja used her grant funds to purchase 200 life-saving test kits for their vulnerable elderly residents.

The sisters and those they care for are deeply grateful: “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

When Sister Sancja returns home from her work each day, the devastating impact from the virus can be seen all around her. She lives an impoverished area of San Antonio. Even before the pandemic, the city has been the poorest major metropolitan area in the country.

Many breadwinners in Sister Sancja’s neighborhood have lost jobs due to the pandemic. With her grant monies, she was able to help those in need with food and basic supplies.

There’s no doubt: the money provided by the Sisters on the Frontlines project has helped save lives. But there is power in the funding even beyond that. Catholic Sisters like Samuela and Sancja live and serve among people most in need. Every cent is given in compassion and in service to God.

As the pandemic continues, so does the Sisters on the Frontlines initiative. Contributions to this program bring relief, joy and renewed faith to those among us who are so adversely affected.

Catholic Sister eases burden for mom of four battling cancer

Leah Zarazua and her family posed for a photo in March. Shortly after, amidst the global pandemic, the mother of four learned she had cancer.

It was an unimaginable time of crisis for the Zarazua family, but Sister Constanza Fernández Cano Salgado, FSpS, serving in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, was there to help. With a donation made possible by the Sisters on the Frontlines initiative, Sister Constanza granted the family funds to support the Zarazuas through Leah’s cancer battle.

The Zarazua family is grateful for the donors who made the gift possible: “This is definitely going to help us out a lot. We are very appreciative; we’re humbled and very blessed.”

For families struggling during the pandemic, even a small gift can let them know they are not alone.

Hundreds of other families like Leah’s have been blessed by sisters receiving grants through the Sisters on the Frontlines initiative.

To read more about the stories, visit https://www.catholicextension.org/sisters-on-the-f...