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September 04, 2012 - 12:10 PDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA ADVISORY

35th Annual Lumen Christi Award Recipient to Receive $50,000 Grant for Ministry and Diocese

CHICAGO, IL (September 4, 2012) - Catholic Extension today announced the Felician Sisters in Kingstree, S.C. as the recipients of its 35th Annual Lumen Christi ("Light of Christ") Award. This national award was established as Catholic Extension's highest honor and is presented annually to a priest, religious or lay person who has demonstrated how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. Lumen Christi Award recipients have devoted their lives to serving the poor in the most under-resourced dioceses in the United States and to fostering Catholic communities that build faith, inspire hope and ignite change. The Felician Sisters will receive the Lumen Christi Award at a ceremony in Kingstree and at a Mass and reception in Charleston, S.C. on Sept. 12 and 13, 2012.

The Felician Sisters--Sister Mary Susanne Dziedzic, CSSF, Sister Mary Johnna Ciezobka, CSSF and Sister Mary Jacqueline Benbenek, CSSF--were nominated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of the Diocese of Charleston for this honor. In the spirit of Catholic Extension's mission to build faith, inspire hope and ignite change through supporting poor mission dioceses throughout the U.S., they will receive a $50,000 grant to be shared equally between their ministry and the Diocese of Charleston. With this funding, the Sisters plan to expand the services they offer and also bring a fourth Sister into their ministry.

Bishop Guglielmone described the Sisters' ministry in his nomination letter. "These religious women have worked tirelessly to bring the love and mercy of Christ to some of the most disadvantaged and economically challenged people in our part of the country," he said.

"We made a pact when we first moved here that we would be present to the people, that it would be our main ministry. We will be present to the neighbors, we will be present to the church," said Sister Johnna.

The Sisters have transformed a community of violence and poverty and have brought hope to Thorne Avenue, a road that runs through much of the town. The Thorne Avenue neighborhood, which historically has been known as a dangerous and disadvantaged part of Kingstree, is where the Sisters planted roots and built their ministry. From virtually nothing, the Sisters have launched an after-school tutoring program, food pantry, clothing closet, meal program, cooking classes and religious education to serve people in need. The Sisters work and live on Thorne Avenue, among the people they serve, which has helped them greatly in learning the needs of the community. In 20 years, their ministry has grown and expanded into several buildings that line Thorne Avenue and serve several hundreds of people each month.

Even though Catholics are a minority in Kingstree, the Sisters know no boundaries. They give witness to the Catholic faith in all aspects of their ministry while building relationships with local residents of all churches who wanted to get involved and help unify the community. By connecting people from both sides of the "track"--the railroad track that runs through Kingstree and acts as a boundary between the prosperous and the poor--and building a community of ecumenism, 11 different Christian denominations now participate in the ministry and over 60 volunteers work with the Sisters to serve people, no matter what side of the track they are from.

The Sisters are also an integral part of the St. Ann's parish community in Kingstree. Each one has a role with the church, including religious education, liturgy, music and preparing the altar environment.
"The Felician Sisters of Kingstree are truly the Light of Christ to others in their community," said Catholic Extension President Father Jack Wall. "It is their unwavering faith that provides a light to their path, guiding them in their work and inspiring them to continually share that faith. We are honored to present the Lumen Christi Award to Sisters Susanne, Johnna and Jacqueline--they are examples to all of us of how ministry to others can transform hearts, lives and society."

The Felician Sisters of Kingstree are radiating the Light of Christ in the very same county as the first Lumen Christi Award recipient. Thirty-five years ago, a lay woman named Florence Kaster led the way with her unrelenting service to the poor in the rural areas of Williamsburg County in the Diocese of Charleston, bringing them the Light of Christ in an era when racial tension was high even though her ministry was not looked upon favorably by her Christian peers. The community has come a long way since Kaster received the Lumen Christi Award 35 years ago. There is now greater hope, understanding and unity among the residents. But there is still need, so the Felician Sisters are continuing their mission to serve.

"In the early days, we had so little and what little we had, we shared and we gave. Now, God has blessed us with this wonderful Lumen Christi Award," said Sister Johnna. "The money is greatly needed, but the Light of Christ really touches us. God always comes through with blessings for us and that's the way we've learned to live. We're depending on God--and that's what people around here do."

Through it all, the Sisters themselves feel blessed by their ministry. But it's the people of Kingstree that feel blessed by them.

"The Sisters have really inspired our community; all our churches are getting together and committing to helping the Sisters," said Ricky Burrows, Mayor of Kingstree. "The Sisters have been an asset to Williamsburg County and Kingstree. Without their work, I don't know what this section of town would have been like if they had not been here."

To view and share a video and photos featuring the Felician Sisters in Kingstree, S.C., visit http://www.catholicextension.org/news-media/media-room/digital-media-releases/South-Carolina-Felician-Sisters-Receive-Highest-National-Award.

About Catholic Extension
Catholic Extension uniquely contributes to the growth and vibrancy of the church in the U.S. by strategically investing in poor mission dioceses to unleash the power of faith that transforms hearts, lives and society. Based in Chicago, this national organization provides funding resources to dioceses and parishes through programs and services investing in people, infrastructure and ministries. This support is given based on need, as well as passion and commitment to the growth of the Catholic faith. Since 1905, Catholic Extension has distributed more than $500 million to communities across America. For more information, visit www.catholicextension.org.

Contact

Vivid Ascent
http://www.catholicextension.org/lca2012
IL, 60603 US
Renae Godish - , 312-346-2005

Keywords

Catholic Extension, Lumen Christi Award, Women Religious, Felician Sisters, Charleston, Ministry

Category

Catholic Organizations

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June 02, 2014 - 11:43 PDT

Catholic Organists finally get their own hymn book.
Frog Music Press
May 30, 2014 - 9:47 PDT

Survey Points to Growing Impact of Franciscan University Youth Conferences on Priestly Vocations
Franciscan University of Steubenville
May 30, 2014 - 6:45 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air throughout the U.S. this weekend
May 29, 2014 - 8:35 PDT

RENEW International's Spanish Publication Recognized for Excellence
RENEW International
May 28, 2014 - 8:45 PDT

Scott Hahn's Angels and Saints Blog Tour: May 27 - June 7
Image Books/Random House
May 26, 2014 - 3:41 PDT

Franciscan University Chancellor Honored by Christendom College
Franciscan University of Steubenville
May 23, 2014 - 6:09 PDT

Six Franciscan University Graduates to Enter Seminary, Religious Orders
Franciscan University of Steubenville
May 23, 2014 - 6:02 PDT

Israel welcome Pope Francis with special stamp sheet
Israel Postal Company
May 22, 2014 - 11:58 PDT

The CatholicTV Network to air coverage of Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land
May 20, 2014 - 12:58 PDT

Renowned boys of St. Paul's Choir School ink international recording deal with AimHigher Recordings
May 19, 2014 - 7:12 PDT

The CatholicTV Network to Air Ordinations to the Priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston
The CatholicTV Network
May 16, 2014 - 7:55 PDT

Damon Owens to Appear on The CatholicTV Network
The CatholicTV Network
May 15, 2014 - 7:54 PDT

The Catholic University of America Baccalaureate Mass to air LIVE on The CatholicTV Network
May 15, 2014 - 7:32 PDT

Clean comedy cleans up at box office
May 13, 2014 - 12:59 PDT

Cardinal, Bishop, and EWTN CEO Address the Class of 2014
Franciscan University of Steubenville
May 13, 2014 - 10:45 PDT

Saint Benedict Press Named Exclusive Publisher for Catholic Scirpture Study International
Saint Benedict Press, LLC/TAN Books
May 12, 2014 - 1:40 PDT

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow to Appear on The CatholicTV Network
The CatholicTV Network
May 12, 2014 - 7:53 PDT

'MOMS' NIGHT OUT' DEBUTS TODAY: MOM-COM FOR THE WHOLE FAM NO. 3 IN TICKET PRE-SALES
Carmel Communications
May 09, 2014 - 10:18 PDT

SoulCore Founders to Appear on The CatholicTV Network
The CatholicTV Network
May 08, 2014 - 11:57 PDT

It's now or never to build a just and humane society
May 08, 2014 - 8:50 PDT

3 Nat'l Catholic Leaders Elected to Nonprofit Board of Directors
Catholic Leadership Institute
May 08, 2014 - 8:46 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo
May 07, 2014 - 10:48 PDT

Father Rocky Hoffman to Appear on The CatholicTV Network
The CatholicTV Network
May 06, 2014 - 9:59 PDT

Catholic Novel Wins National Secular Award
Little Flower Strategies
May 05, 2014 - 12:53 PDT

Mass of Thanksgiving for the Canonization of Pope Saint John XXIII and Pope Saint John Paul II
The CatholicTV Network
May 05, 2014 - 9:58 PDT

Nat'l Catholic Leader Frank Hanna Joins Catholic Leadership Inst. Board of Directors
Catholic Leadership Institute
May 02, 2014 - 6:24 PDT

Father Jim Martin to Appear on The CatholicTV Network
The CatholicTV Network
May 01, 2014 - 9:56 PDT

TAN Books Named Exclusive Publisher for Confraternity of the Precious Blood
Saint Benedict Press, LLC/TAN Books
April 30, 2014 - 11:31 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air in Denver and Colorado Springs
April 30, 2014 - 10:39 PDT

What happens when you realize that God's not dead?
April 29, 2014 - 10:20 PDT

CAMPAIGN FOR AWARD-WINNING CATHOLIC DOCUMENTARY LAUNCHES ON KICKSTARTER
April 28, 2014 - 12:20 PDT

World Apostolate of Fatima Co-Hosting Marian Eucharistic Conference
April 28, 2014 - 4:31 PDT

Veritas Conference Champions Authentic Religious Freedom
Franciscan University of Steubenville
April 26, 2014 - 10:18 PDT

Walsh University Hosts Spring Commencement Ceremony, Sunday, May 4 Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love to Keyn
Walsh University
April 24, 2014 - 9:38 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air in San Francisco
April 24, 2014 - 7:22 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air throughout South Carolina
April 24, 2014 - 7:19 PDT

Franciscan University Solidifies Ties With Historic Landmark- Kartause Maria Thronus Iesu
Franciscan University of Steubenville
April 23, 2014 - 7:26 PDT

FOUR PAULINE BOOKS & MEDIA TITLES AMONG ACP AWARD FINALISTS
Pauline Books & Media
April 22, 2014 - 2:14 PDT

Picking Up Where John Paul II Left Off
Saint Luke Productions
April 22, 2014 - 11:12 PDT

Concert Series Concludes with Let's Sing!
April 22, 2014 - 6:14 PDT

Saint Faustina Drama Comes to Historic Baltimore Church
April 21, 2014 - 7:18 PDT

Massive Online Open Seminar on Women Deacons June 9-July 8, 2014
Hofstra University
April 20, 2014 - 8:27 PDT

Irish Indie Chart Topper for Good Friday 2014
One By One Ministries
April 17, 2014 - 3:06 PDT

Dr. Ben Carson Praises Vitae's 'Compassionate' Efforts
Vitae Foundation
April 17, 2014 - 1:28 PDT

Akron General Hosptial namesWalsh University Student is 2014 Outstanding Student Nurse of the Year
Walsh University
April 17, 2014 - 6:58 PDT

'Life as a Sister'--A Unique Website Goes Live
Sisters of Bon Secours
April 16, 2014 - 1:21 PDT

The CatholicTV Network to Provide Canonization Coverage
The CatholicTV Network
April 16, 2014 - 8:18 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air in Montana
April 15, 2014 - 10:47 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air in South Dakota
April 15, 2014 - 10:45 PDT

Media Advisory - Messenger of the Truth documentary to air in Oklahoma
April 15, 2014 - 10:44 PDT

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Daily Readings

Reading 1, Amos 6:1, 4-7
1 Disaster for those so comfortable in Zion and for those so confident on ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
7 gives justice to the oppressed, gives food to the hungry; Yahweh sets ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 16:19-31
19 'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and ... Read More

Reading 2, First Timothy 6:11-16
11 But, as someone dedicated to God, avoid all that. You must aim to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 25th, 2016 Image

St. Finbar
September 25: He was the son of an artisan and a lady of the ... Read More