Their religious vocations led them to unique ministries serving the local community

December 20, 2012

Their religious vocations led them to unique ministries serving the local community
BY: Catherine Rogan, Media Relations Specialist; 713-652-8213 (office) or 713-515-6054 (mobile);

Catholic sisters and priests are often associated with working in churches or in the field of education. But others fulfill their calling to serve God by ministering as professionals in the fields of medicine, law and non-profits.

Meet three women with two big things in common, none of which they planned: They became Catholic sisters and all found themselves serving those less fortunate in very powerful ways.

• Sister Ricca Dimalibot had a career as a medical technologist until a chance introduction led her to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. After joining the order, a leader in the community suggested she consider completing a medical residency in family medicine. Today, she and her two staff members, serve more than 4,500 uninsured and underinsured patients a year at Point of Light Clinic, a small clinic in Dickenson.

• Sister Maureen O’Connell is a former Chicago police officer. After 11 years on the force, she longed for more and felt she could have a greater impact in religious life as an Adrian Dominican Sister. After receiving a Masters in Social Work and serving victims of childhood sexual assault, Sister O’Connell took on a new challenge when she founded Angela House, a Houston facility for women exiting the criminal justice system. As Executive Director, Sister O’Connell leads a busy life coordinating therapy and rehabilitation programs, educational courses, connecting residents with life-skills and job programs.

• Being a nun was the last thing on Sister Veronica Schueler’s mind, but a reunion with some friends resulted in an introduction to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. Sister Schueler earned a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and worked as a correctional officer and then a case worker at a federal correctional facility for men until her Mother General asked if she would be interested in going to law school. Since coming to Houston in 2004, Sister Schueler has been a staff attorney for the St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance at Catholic Charities and is now the supervisor of the Family Immigration program of the Center.

As Dominican Sister Heloise Cruzat, Vicar for Religious for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, said, “These sisters are totally dedicated to their faith and to lives of service. This is expressed in particular through their extraordinary attentiveness to those in need.”

Within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, there are approximately 450 women religious. They are a powerhouse of zeal, energy and commitment!

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties. It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States.