October 22, 2015
Women Taking the Lead: Acting on Pope Francis’ MessagePope Francis sees the Church “as a field hospital after battle.” Three remarkable women lead the “field hospitals” of Catholic Charities, Catholic Health Care, and Catholic Relief Services, three of the largest non-governmental health, human services, and global development networks in our nation. This unique Dialogue discussed challenges facing women leaders in Church and society and key challenges in areas of poverty, healthcare, global hunger, and conflict. The session also addressed the mission and identity of Catholic social ministries and Pope Francis’ call to defend human life and dignity in our divided nation and dangerous world. Dr. Patricia Cloonan, interim dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies, opened the Dialogue. John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, moderated the conversation.
Sr. Carol Keehan, D.C., president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association which includes 1200 Catholic health care organizations and serves more than five million patients. Sr. Keehan began her service as a nurse and was named “most powerful person in healthcare” in 2007 by Modern Healthcare.
Sr. Donna Markham, O.P., Ph.D., president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, the national network of more than 160 Catholic Charities agencies which serve more than nine million persons in need a year. Sr. Markham is a clinical psychologist and is the first woman to serve as president of CCUSA.
Dr. Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the US Catholic international relief and development agency which reaches almost 100 million people in 93 countries on five continents. Dr. Woo served as dean of the University of Notre Dame College of Business and was named one of the 500 “most powerful people on the planet” in 2013 by Foreign Policy magazine.