Skip to content

South Carolina Felician Sisters Receive Highest National Award

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

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 7,184

When Pope Francis Arrives in North America, There is Only One Network to Watch: EWTN Global Catholic
EWTN Global Catholic Network
September 16, 2015 - 5:17 PDT

GHIRELLI'S WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES ROSARIES NOW AVAILABLE
The Word Out | Marketing For Catholics
September 11, 2015 - 11:44 PDT

The Synod on the Family: Addressing the Instrumentum Laboris
Franciscan University of Steubenville
September 11, 2015 - 10:26 PDT

OCP Artist, Pedro Rubalcava, Writes Song for Pope Francis' Visit
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
September 10, 2015 - 2:50 PDT

Pre-Synod Conference unites Cardinals and men and women living with homosexual tendencies
September 09, 2015 - 2:58 PDT

The Rigging of a Vatican Synod
September 02, 2015 - 3:44 PDT

17 Cardinals and Counting
August 31, 2015 - 3:38 PDT

19th Annual Carnival Announced for St. Ann's Parish
August 28, 2015 - 9:20 PDT

The John Paul II International Film Festival Marks Its Five-Year Anniversary
August 27, 2015 - 6:09 PDT

OCP Pledges to Support the V Encuentro
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
August 27, 2015 - 2:51 PDT

Thu, Sept 24, 2015- Mass & Healing Service with Fr. Angelos Sebastian Our Lady of Grace Catholic Chu
August 26, 2015 - 4:03 PDT

Grief, Death, Eternal Life Explored in New Catholic Title by PBM
Pauline Books & Media
August 25, 2015 - 3:55 PDT

How do we live the truth in love when the culture says we're haters?
August 25, 2015 - 9:52 PDT

Right Next to Disneyland: Theater Meets Faith
Saint Luke Productions
August 19, 2015 - 1:29 PDT

OCP Parish Grant Program to Distribute $200,000 to U.S. Parishes
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
August 18, 2015 - 1:23 PDT

Franciscan University Joins With UK School to Offer Online Master of Catechetics Degree
Franciscan University of Steubenville
August 05, 2015 - 2:20 PDT

CONOR GALLAGHER NAMED PUBLISHER OF TAN BOOKS AND SAINT BENEDICT PRESS
Saint Benedict Press & TAN Books
July 20, 2015 - 12:49 PDT

Thérčse Drama Surprises Audiences
Saint Luke Productions
July 16, 2015 - 12:35 PDT

Catholic Press Association Honors Liguori
Liguori Publications
July 10, 2015 - 8:29 PDT

Crosier Order elects master general and councilors
June 26, 2015 - 2:06 PDT

World Library Publications Honored With Three Paul Revere Awards
World Library Publications
June 23, 2015 - 4:11 PDT

Indie Catholic Authors June Ebook Sale Offers the Faithful 17 Books Outside the Mainstream
Four Waters press
June 23, 2015 - 12:10 PDT

Limitless Love in Action: First Steubenville Youth Conference Inspires Teens to Bring the Fire Home
Franciscan University of Steubenville
June 18, 2015 - 2:03 PDT

Franciscan University of Steubenville Athletic Director Enshrined in Sports Faith Hall of Fame
Franciscan University of Steubenville
May 29, 2015 - 1:53 PDT

AWARD-WINNING CATHOLIC AUTHORS TEAM-UP TO PROMOTE HEALING THROUGH FORGIVENESS
Pauline Books & Media
May 27, 2015 - 12:32 PDT

NY CONCERT FOR NEPAL 5/31
May 27, 2015 - 1:22 PDT

Who's responsible for designing the designer?
May 19, 2015 - 11:12 PDT

Thu, Jun 11, 2015- Mass & Healing Service with Fr. Bill Adams at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
May 13, 2015 - 4:21 PDT

Your search for true happiness is over
May 05, 2015 - 1:22 PDT

ValLimar Jansen's latest album "a soulful experience"
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
April 30, 2015 - 1:33 PDT

Uncovering the roots (and branches) of the greatest revolution in the American Catholic Church
April 28, 2015 - 9:45 PDT

NYC May 8, 2015 Spring Fling Catholic Singles Mingle Fundraiser
The Catholic Fellowship
April 18, 2015 - 9:07 PDT

Thank A Nun Day
Image Books/Random House
April 15, 2015 - 12:32 PDT

#TweetingwGod dares young people to believe
April 14, 2015 - 9:54 PDT

Experience Beloved: Finding happiness in marriage
April 13, 2015 - 1:27 PDT

Archbishop Aquila, Dr. Edward Sri and other experts to participate in 'Beloved' telepress conference
April 07, 2015 - 4:51 PDT

Nobis Media, Marketing & Web Development Company
April 01, 2015 - 5:49 PDT

Catholic toymaker puts Faith in hands and mouths of babies: Pope Francis doll added to line of toys
The Word Out | Marketing For Catholics
April 01, 2015 - 3:48 PDT

Concert Series Concludes with Winthrop University World Percussion Ensemble
April 01, 2015 - 2:48 PDT

Birth Choice Health Clinics Announces Transition to Obria Medical Clinics and Plans for Expansion
March 28, 2015 - 10:43 PDT

OCP releases expanded edition of Mass of the Sacred Heart
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
March 24, 2015 - 4:43 PDT

Archbishop Aquila, Dr. Edward Sri and other experts participate in 'Beloved' tele-press conference
March 21, 2015 - 11:57 PDT

Priest and Seminarian Join National Three-Point Contest to Benefit Marriage Ministry
Paradisus Dei
March 13, 2015 - 10:20 PDT

Shroud of Turin Exhibit At Holy Spirit Brighton
Holy Spirit Catholic Church and School
March 12, 2015 - 3:58 PDT

Flor y Canto campaign invites the Hispanic community to share their stories
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
March 11, 2015 - 4:40 PDT

Crisis Pregnancy Center Dream Becoming Reality
TRFC Inc.
March 10, 2015 - 6:36 PDT

Crisis Pregnancy Center Dream Becoming Reality
TRFC Inc.
March 09, 2015 - 7:04 PDT

Join RealOptions 2015 Walk for Life and 5K Run!
RealOptions Pregnancy Medical Clinics
March 09, 2015 - 2:40 PDT

New Orchestra Comes to Mary's Nativity Church
March 09, 2015 - 12:06 PDT

Paradisus Dei Offers New Marriage Program to Churches at No Cost
Paradisus Dei
March 05, 2015 - 6:25 PST

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.