Standup Sisters

Long before LinkedIn, Sister Mary Theresa gave me my first professional “endorsement” at age 15.

At the time, Pittsburgh’s culture was still dominated by steelmaking and healthcare. Sister Mary Theresa was the first person to tell me that writing–the words churning in my mind and heart–could actually sustain a career.

I managed to support myself through writing. And 30 years later, it seems fitting to shine a media spotlight on the women like Sister Mary Theresa who shaped me–my sisters.


I’m calling this effort Standup Sisters. Because for every iconic Mother Teresa, there are hundreds of Sister Mary Theresas. Their stories are worth telling in person and podcast. While many sisters have been teachers who’ve had a lifelong impact on students like me, other sisters have been part of American Civil Rights history. Some have been entrepreneurial–starting social service organizations and academic departments.

The Standup Sisters project will have a “soft launch” with an event in Pittsburgh during National Catholic Sisters Week, an annual celebration that takes place from March 8–14. Created to honor women religious, National Catholic Sisters Week is a series of events that organizers say “instruct, enlighten, and bring greater focus to the lives of these incredible women.”

The March 14 event will feature Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, the same congregation that inspired me in high school, and that taught two of my aunts at the sisters’ Greensburg college (now university). I’m looking forward to being inspired by the Sisters of Charity in new ways myself.

The Standup Sisters pilot event is supported by a mini-grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The hotel magnate with a hard-scrabble upbringing was also deeply influenced by Catholic sisters and his foundation supports sisters, and media about their work.

Stop back for updates!

And pray for this effort if you would!