by Jackie Galvin, director of development and communications
March 30, 2016
Wednesday, March 23, may have seemed like an ordinary spring day to most people, but to the Little Sisters of the Poor it was nothing short of ordinary. On this date, oral arguments began in the case of Zubik v. Burwell before the United States Supreme Court. While that case may not be familiar to you, I am sure you are quite familiar with its contents without even realizing it.
Zubik v. Burwell is a case involving several plaintiffs, including the Little Sisters, against a mandate by the Unites States Department of Health Human Services. The mandate dictates that employers offer contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization procedures as part of their employee health benefits. Naturally, you could see why the Little Sisters would object to offering these drugs and procedures as they are in direct violation of the Catholic faith. While the Little Sisters have found support from similar groups who share similar objections, what has been really interesting to see is the thousands of people from other faith and non-faith traditions who are supporting the Little Sisters in their quest to protect religious freedom.
One of those groups is the grassroots organization Women Speak for Themselves. Women Speak for Themselves, which is comprised of more than 41,000 women from all 50 states and various political and religious backgrounds, has been working diligently since 2012 to build awareness and support for religious freedom. Through their efforts, the group has produced hundreds of letters to the media, dozens of published editorials, town hall meetings, letters and meetings with congressional representatives, and social media postings. And in their most recent efforts, they planned a nationwide day of service campaign on March 23 to coincide with the opening oral arguments of Zubik v. Burwell. With this campaign, Women Speak for Themselves organized groups living near all of the Little Sisters’ homes in the United States to work alongside the Sisters for the day as a sign of support.
Here in Scranton, we were blessed to have nearly two dozen Holy Cross High School students spend the day at our home. While these students have volunteered at our home before, what was really touching about their efforts for this project was that they sacrificed the start of their Easter break to stand in solidarity and serve the elderly alongside the Sisters.
The students started the day with a public statement given by senior Zoe Haggerty at the entrance of our home explaining why she and her classmates are choosing to support the Sisters. Click here to read the statement >> Following the opening remarks, the students led the Sisters and the Residents in praying the rosary followed by attending Mass.
After Mass, the students transported the Residents to our dining room for lunch. During lunch, the students strategically placed themselves at each table so they could not only share a meal with the Residents but also talk with and get to know them on a more personal level which the Residents really loved! While dessert was served, the students entertained everybody with a little show. Just a few of their acts included singing, piano music, and even stand-up comedy!
After the show ended, the teens distributed Easter flowers to all of the Residents and headed home filled not only with the knowledge that they supported the Sisters but also with the joy of putting their faith in action.
Until next time,