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U.S. Embassy to the Holy See Symposium to Highlight Women on the Frontlines
October 11, 2019

School girls smile at Sister Orla Treacy as she speaks with them outside of the school building. Sister Orla Treacy is in the middle of this group of school girls.
Sister Orla Treacy talks with girls at the Loreto Secondary School in Rumbek, South Sudan. (Paul Jeffrey).


ROME (October 10, 2019) – The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See will host its second annual “Women on the Frontlines” symposium on October 16, 2019, demonstrating how governments, civil society, and individuals can more effectively meet their goals and objectives in fragile communities and regions by partnering with women religious working on the frontlines.

“Women religious are critical partners in ensuring peace and understanding at the community level,” said Callista L. Gingrich, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. “This symposium will highlight how women religious promote and advance education, health, and development, often in conflict zones and other dangerous parts of the world.”

The symposium will begin with opening remarks by Ambassador Gingrich and Sister Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary of the Union of International Superiors General (UISG). Father Henry Lemoncelli, a representative from the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, will deliver closing remarks.

The symposium will include a panel discussion featuring three women religious working in conflict and post-conflict communities in the fields of education, healthcare, and development. Among the panelists is Sister Orla Treacy, a 2019 U.S. Department of State International Woman of Courage honoree. Sister Orla was nominated for the award by Ambassador Gingrich in recognition of her work improving the lives of women and girls in Rumbek, South Sudan. Sister Orla will be joined on the panel by Sister Crescencia Sun, who has worked throughout India in the fields of healthcare, pastoral ministry, and social development. Sister Anne Falola will share her personal experience advocating for women’s empowerment in Nigeria.