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Network’s 50-year ‘political ministry’ has kept focus on economic justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It was during the late 1960s that Adrian Dominican Sister Carol Coston felt the energy unleashed by the Second Vatican Council in the call from church leaders to engage the world with the richness of Catholic teaching.

She was teaching at Tampa Catholic High School in Florida at the time. Before long she relocated across the state to Fort Lauderdale to work on housing rights and racial equity issues.

Coston was not alone. She was among hundreds of women religious nationwide who moved from traditional ministries in teaching and parish work into social ministries alongside poor and marginalized people.

By 1971, a movement was afoot to bring women religious together to effect changes in federal policy in response to the social ills the sisters were witnessing. Msgr. Geno Baroni, a longtime social activist who had established the Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs, encouraged the sisters to convene and…

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