Kristen Whitney Daniels is a freelance reporter and former Bertelsen intern for NCR. After graduating from Quinnipiac University, she moved to Los Angeles for the St. Joseph Worker and AmeriCorps program. Following her service year, Kristen worked as a case manager for homeless seniors. She has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered" and Beyond Type 1, a community devoted to type one diabetics.
When Joyce Duriga set out to write a biography on St. Joseph Sr. Helen Prejean and her death row ministry, she wanted to ensure it was accessible for the "average person in the pew."
Over her 36 years of prison ministry, the St. Joseph sister's work has chipped away at U.S. support for the death penalty, fellow activists say: "They don't get argued into thinking differently, they get storied into thinking differently." Sr. Helen Prejean said she never set out to be an activist, especially one advocating on behalf of death row inmates. She spent her early years as a sister working in the suburbs as a middle school teacher, director of religious education at a New Orleans parish and a director of her order's novices.
In the 1980s, women religious played a prominent role in the sanctuary movement, which sheltered refugees fleeing Central American civil wars. Now their communities are trying to discern whether a sanctuary movement is the best way to help immigrants under threat today.
Simple moments of connection and the support of life in a strong Catholic community during the volunteer experience have proven influential for former volunteers who moved on to pursuing a vocation with a religious order.