In Honor of Women’s Month, we asked Sister Grace and Sister Rita their thoughts on current issues:
1. What women have inspired and influenced you? Why?
SG: My mother, because of the way she brought us up. She was from Italy, and a hard worker. She lived for her kids. They were her whole life. Both parents, I know we meant the wold to them.
SR: My mother, grandmothers, and Sister Grace. My mother was very religious, loved kids, loved being a mother, the she got ill at 37 leaving eight of us. So both my grandmothers pitched in to help. They supported my father and helped raise us. Sister Grace because being at the House of Mercy has opened my eyes to what is really going on. The myths I was taught, the racism, I became very determined to learn.
2. What do you think is the biggest issues facing women today?
SG: Equality. They are still considered second, and clericalism in the church doesn’t help that.
SR: Poverty. There is very little support for women who are poor and raising families. Sometimes no support at all.
3. Do you think it is harder for a woman to be homeless?
SG: I think it’s hard on both, but I think it’s harder on the women because the women often have the children. And in homelessness, it is very hard to find somewhere who will take both women and children, and if they do, they only take them for a short amount of time. And women are often responsible for the education of the child, and the raising of the child, and if they are homeless they can’t do that. I don’t think they have the services to help them to truly take care of their children.
SR: I do believe it is more difficult for the women, especially when there are children involved. When something goes wrong the burden is put on her as a failure. When sometimes there are many obstacles and many difficulties that someone cannot overcome on their own without a great deal of help. So being poor allows the woman to feel the threat of eviction utilities shut off and when those things happen it is extremely stressful for the woman, for her children. And it makes life very uncomfortable. We just need to recognize how important is is to help women, especially poor women, to provide the basics they need for their family to thrive.