Catholic Charities Choose Nun as New President

When one thinks of the Catholic church and the hierarchy that controls it, it’s easy to think of it as somewhat anti-woman. Between restrictions on birth control that harm women more than men (just look at what’s been happening in Ireland) to the fact that women are barred from becoming priests and leading congregations in prayer, the Catholic church has been pretty traditional and unmoving when it comes to women’s rights and what it thinks is acceptable. That being said, the Catholic church is changing and under the lead of the new Pope it has been seen as more liberal on a number of topics that people thought were untouchable ideology.

One of the most recent examples of this slow shift in priorities and in freedoms is the fact that the Catholic Charities USA organization based in Alexandria, Virginia elected a nun as it’s president for the first time in its 105 year existence. Sister Donna Markham, Ph.D. has taken over as president from Rev. Larry Snyder and begins her term on June 1st. Currently, Sister Markham is the president of the Behavioral Health Institute for Mercy Health in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an Adrian Dominican sister and also has her doctorate in clinical psychology.

Catholic Charities USA is one of the largest charities in the United States and had $4.3 billion in revenue for 2013. Sister Markham is perfectly suited for the position of president and has years of experience to rely on when she begins her tenure. She was on the CCUSA board for two years previous to her appointment and was the president of the Southdown Institute in Ontario as well as being the Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation in Adrian, Michigan before her current occupation at Mercy Health. Her appointment to such a high-ranking position with a Catholic organization is another example of how the church is making strides to modernize and is recognizing that women deserve as many rights as men do.

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