Sister Jean Anna Christensen, the last member of the Sisters of Mercy still working in Kansas City, assembled her electric blue Corolla and drove back to her hometown of Omaha last week, completing her custom service here 134 years later.
In particular, the women of Kansas City have reason to thank him and all those who came before him for that service. Because the sisters came for us, my sisters.
They have been doing this since the day Catherine McCauley, the founder of the Order, bequeathed her legacy in 1827 in Dublin to open a school for women և girls որպես as the “First House of Mercy.” But their story began in Kansas on August 2. In 1887, when Elder Mary Agnes Dunn arrived from Kentucky to establish a home for young working women living on their own, in which St. Kathleen O’Brien, author of The Story of the Sisters of Mercy, called it “a new big, unscrupulous city.”
The sisters opened a family residence in St. Ekaterina’s house, 11th Street, Antar Avenue. They taught the generations of Kansas City in a number of different schools, and in the early years they sometimes slept in their classrooms because Sixth’s Cherry Street Women’s Home was so crowded.
When Christensen moved here in 1967, after just one year out of college, he also taught and lived above the store, in the convent at the top of St. Peter’s School.
Although most of his career has been in building affordable housing, it is no exaggeration to say that building a fairer world.
Restored East Side apartment, worked with victims of violence
In 1985, he founded Mercy Housing KC, which is still developing and building safe, affordable housing for families. “I was the CEO, the author of the grants, everything,” I was renovating the East Side apartment. While she was working on financing with the banks, “They called me, ‘Here comes a sister. he wants a deal. ” Next to him, he ran eight plexuses “to help pay for what I did.”
The goal, as he always saw it, was for the children to be proud of getting off the school bus in front of their homes. “When I stopped, we had up to 90 families,” decades later. There were still 3,000 families on the waiting list for Section 8 apartments, “there were always 90 families behind them.”
Christensen also wanted to be involved in building a safer, more just church. As Director of Peace and Justice in Kansas City, St. During his tenure as bishop of Raymond Boland, Diocese of Joseph’s Joseph spent four years advocating for the victims of 40 victims who had been abused by a psychiatrist, one whose brother and sister had been abused and then committed suicide.
It was from 2000 to 2004, at the height of the scandal of the abuse of the first Catholic clergy. “Of all the people we met, one was not reliable; he wanted money. ” The pain of everyone else was so real that “you look like a secondary victim, you learn to cope with it.”
Then, in 2005, Boland retired, “I think you know the story of Bishop Finn,” who replaced him. “There was no way I could continue to run the Office of Peace and Justice’s integrity under Bishop Phineas,” the office cut its budget in half during its first week. “I do not feel I could work in an institutional system that I think was unfair,” he told The National Catholic Reporter at the time. Amen, sister.
Unfortunately, I am aware of Bishop Robert Finn, whose incapacity eventually overshadowed his vicious legal campaign against victims of violence. He later became the only American bishop to be convicted of failing to report a priest suspected of child sexual abuse to the authorities.
Leaving the diocese, from which the diocese is still recovering, Christensen went to work in his own justice team, working against racism, nonviolence, the proper place of immigrants, the environment, women in the Catholic Church, and society.
Finally, in recent years, Christensen has founded the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, a non-profit organization that employs salaried young limousines whom Christensen sees as his successors.
‘We saved Mary. He is on my balcony now. ”
For the past 18 months, “I was the last in Kansas City” to leave because I was the last sister of mercy ”in the city. “I did not join the community to be myself.”
So he simply moved to the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest, one of three custom Omaha apartment buildings at his headquarters, with shared rooms on each floor for prayers and pots. At age 77, he will not retire, but will continue to pursue his anti-trafficking interests from there.
Looking back on all that, “Why did you join?” From many. questions that later arose. “Why did you stay?” when many others did not do it, says what few can do anywhere. “I was talking to a newcomer through Zoom and I said I do not regret it. Nobody. I’m part of the last chapter in Kansas City, “but the Book of Charity is not closed. The end is our heritage, the people we have served. ”
Before leaving the city, he and his friend stopped at the former convent of the group, which was also the home of St. Agnes Academy, which had long since been sold, emptied, vandalized, and the abandoned statue of the Virgin Mary, which was still in front. the hatchback too. “We rescued Mary. He is now on my balcony in Omaha. ”
There has always been compassion among the sisters, և I say it with admiration, a little illegal. Without it, they would never have come here in the first place.