CSJs honored by the Center for Women in Transition

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet community celebrates their honor and the accomplishments of the Center for Women in Transition at the Beautiful Restorations Gala. 

A legacy of helping the dear neighbor without distinction

by Patti Eischen

ST. LOUIS: The Center for Women in Transition (CWIT) awarded their Legacy Award to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province.  The award recognized the sisters’ 20 years of support to the organization.  Sister Rose McLarney, former executive director of CWIT, accepted the award from Sister Suzanne Wesley, a board member for CWIT, at the 2017 Beautiful Restorations Gala in April.

CWIT was founded in 1997 when some sisters from various congregations heard women talk about the hurdles of getting out of jail or prison and the struggles of rebuilding their lives.  They began to notice the same women were repeatedly returning to incarceration. The women and volunteers discussed the barriers of this revolving door.

Together, the group determined that lack of safe housing, access to treatment for addiction, financial stability, and strong support systems were leading to repeat offenses and reincarceration. Thus, the Center for Women in Transition was born as an attempt to interrupt this cycle by providing a restorative justice program that involves giving women access to basic resources and community support. To date, CWIT has helped more than 2,000 previously incarcerated women transition to a new life.

Pictured: Recent CWIT clients celebrate their achievements and 20 years of CWIT.

Kellie Roberts, development director of CWIT, shed light on why the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet were chosen to receive the Legacy Award:

"We looked at groups who gave not just monetary contributions, but those who have given time, treasure and talent.  When you look at what the CSJs have given over time, they fulfilled all the requirements.  The support we have had from them is due in part to the fact that our missions so closely align … The sisters have been with us through all our growing pains.  It is astounding to see the life changes in so many women. The CSJs believe in us so we can help other people."

 Upon presenting the award, Sister Suzanne remarked, “Many of the members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, like myself, have served as board members, volunteers and mentors at CWIT.  Each has brought our tradition of serving all without distinction to CWIT.”

“Through these 20 years the stories have multiplied but now they are stories of lives built anew, of education, families, employment, participation in society, and giving back, Sister Rose said in her acceptance remarks. “The Sisters of St. Joseph are thrilled to be a part of this ministry to those most vulnerable in today’s society.”  

Pictured: Laura Toledo, executive director of CWIT with Sisters Suzanne Wesley and Rose McLarney.

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