Sister Katherine “Sissy” Corr has worn many hats as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur from elementary school teacher, social worker and community organizer to Executive Director of Notre Dame Mission Volunteers/AmeriCorps.
When she concludes her role as Executive Director in September, Sister Katherine will transition to a new role in NDMV – animating the Notre Dame spirit in the NDMV program and focusing on Notre Dame Mission Volunteers International beginning with the project in Haiti.
Sister Katherine entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in1959 when the Holy Spirit was preparing the Church to undertake Vatican ll. As the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur joined with the Church in this spirit of renewal, she became immersed in addressing the question of Julie’s call to work with the poor in the most abandoned places.
"The lessons we learned from Scripture and prayer during my formation period set in the context of our mission and the world became the foundation of my life in Notre Dame. They are at the heart of my pursuit of justice as a Gospel way of life. Being a Sister of Notre Dame enabled me to discern what God wanted and to pursue it with Julie’s confidence in the good God."
Sister Katherine began teaching elementary school in Washington, DC. She was then assigned to teach in Atlanta where she also volunteered with Voter Registration at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. It was there that Sister Katherine came to know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis, now a US Congressman from Atlanta."I came to understand and see the intimate connection between racism, poverty and war," she said.
After study at the New School of Social Research she worked with Catholic Charities in New York and Baltimore and then joined with small group of SND’s to found Jobs for Peace, a non-profit organization to advocate for more dollars for jobs and education and less for the military. In 1994, she was chosen to become the second Executive Director of Notre Dame Mission Volunteers.
"I entered into this ministry to build on the strong foundation Sister Therese Julie had begun. The NDMV Corporation challenged me to grow the program across the US. Within just a few years Sisters Bobby English, Mary Lou Monaghan, Judy Tensing, Ann Kendrick, Maria Delaney, Virginia Mulhern, Maureen O’Brien, Jeanette Braun and Kathleen O’ Brien stepped up to the plate and in partnership with AmeriCorps were part of another of God's miracles. Over the next 17 years about 14 more sisters and thousands of wonderful volunteers would join in the work of NDMV. Many outstanding alums and other lay colleagues joined together with us on staff to accompany and serve over seven hundred thousand hundred people.
The success of this ministry has been a Notre Dame collaboration. No wonder the Board has asked me to continue to reach out to the sisters to find ways to continue to grow the spirit of Notre Dame in our program.
What I have seen in my ministry at Notre Dame Mission Volunteers and during my time as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur is the awesome unfolding of God’s grace. This is a blessing and a source of great hope for the future."