WASHINGTON (February 21, 2001) -- Sister Pat Davis, PBVM, will receive the Year 2001 Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of People Award for her work since 1994 with immigrant women in the diocese of San Jose, California. The national award is given annually by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, and will be presented February 25 in Washington, D.C.
Sister Pat, a native San Franciscan, joined the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary shortly after graduating from Presentation High School. She earned her degree from the University of San Francisco, served as a teacher and administrator in California and Washington, and also coordinated parish programs of religious education and ministry to divorced and separated people.
In 1994, following in the footsteps of Presentation Sisters founder Nano Nagle, who worked with poor Irishwomen, Sister Pat opened the Learning and Loving Education Center in Morgan Hill, south of San Jose. According to Sister Pat, its guiding principle is that Aeducation is essential to creating systemic change for the underserved to overcome the barriers facing immigrant populations.
The Center serves immigrant women with English as a Second Language classes, instruction in computer skills, sewing, self-esteem and money management. Other programs include health and nutrition and aerobics. Since the Center opened, more than 650 women from ten countries have participated.
To help women start their own businesses, the Center offers microenterprise training to identify talents and enhance skills in business management, bookkeeping, job placement, resume-writing and interview preparation. At this time, there are nine women training to open a housecleaning cooperative using non-toxic materials in April.
The Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of People Award, named in memory of the late Presentation Sister who served as executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and a member of the Catholic Bishops' Committee for CCHD, honors an individual whose life exemplifies a commitment to the development of people and the elimination of poverty. Recipients of this award have made significant contributions to human development in the recognition of poverty and have offered heroic responses to the needs of the economically disadvantaged. The award was established in 1987 and was called the Development of People Award until 1997, when it was renamed in Sister Margaret Cafferty's honor.
Sister Pat was a high school friend and a member of the same religious community as Margaret Cafferty and said she is touched to receive the award. AMargaret was always in the forefront of justice issues and working with God's people," Sister Pat stated. "She challenged her students and those around her and she had an energy that made you want to follow in her footsteps. As a result, says Sister Pat, AThere is such a richness to this award, because it honors both Margaret and the immigrant women who have shared their dreams with us.
CCHD is the largest private funder of anti-poverty programs controlled by the poor in the United States. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Campaign in 1970 to support self-help efforts of low-income people, to address the root causes of poverty and bring to life both Scripture and the Church's social teaching. Since then, CCHD has distributed more than $250 million in grants to more than 3500 projects dedicated to helping people overcome their own poverty.
Father Robert Vitillo, CCHD executive director, will present the award on Sunday, February 25, during the opening session of the 2001 Social Ministry Gathering. The meeting's theme is APoverty in the Midst of Plenty: Challenges for the Catholic Community. The award presentation will follow an address by Sister Helen Prejean on "Poverty as a Spiritual Challenge."
For additional information, contact Barbara Stephenson, CCHD, 202-541-3364, firstname.lastname@example.org.