New peace/justice voice for Bay Settlement Sisters
This week marks the end of Sr. Carlotta Ullmer's 12 years of service as the Justice and Peace Coordinator for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross at Bay Settlement, but not the end of her activism for the rights of the world's needy. Sr. Maria Drzewiecki was appointed the new Justice and Peace Coordinator.
Since 1988, Sr. Ullmer has kept her Sisters informed of legislative developments in issues including welfare reform, debt relief for impoverished nations, and the death penalty. She participates actively in many local and national organizations that work for racial and economic harmony.
But more than simply informing others of these issues, Sr. Ullmer has encouraged others to be advocates for peace and justice. She raises awareness to issues in casual conversations, through newsletters, on bulletin boards, in letters and through phone calls.
Sr. Ullmer has written more than 300 letters to the president, to legislators and to corporate leaders over the past five years. The bills for which she has successfully lobbied include an increase in aid for women and children, and an increase in the minimum wage.
In addition to her work as a justice and peace activist, Sr. Ullmer also volunteers her time tutoring English as a Second Language to local Hmong, Laotian and Hispanic immigrants. She has devoted over 4,000 hours to her students since 1986.
She explained that her motivation and compassion for the poor "flows from the example of Jesus and St. Francis. I want to help people, and I want to see our country be what our forefathers pictured."
Sr. Drzewiecki admires her predecessor's personal conviction and creativity.
"Sr. Carlie has been an inspiration," she said. "She has dedicated many years and has presented many ways that people can take action and respond creatively to these issues. I hope that I can bring the same energy and passion to this work."
Sr. Drzewiecki hopes to raise awareness of environmental issues and instill a "land ethic" as she continues Sr. Ullmer's human rights advocacy.
"Maria has a determination and persistence to keep working on an issue until something positive has been effected," said Sr. Ullmer. "She relates well to people in an informative way and bases her goals on Christian principals."
Sr. Laura Zelten, who worked with Sr. Drzewiecki as a missionary in Nicaragua agrees.
"Sr. Maria is very aware of the Global Community and is very dedicated to peace and justice issues -- especially in her respect for the Earth," she said.
To learn how you can participate in the Sisters' peace and justice work, call Sr. Maria Drzewiecki at (920) 468-1828