Thursday February 20, 2020
10:18 am

Follow Us!

NWICatholic The Pastoral Center in Merrillville (where the NWI Catholic office is located) will be closed tomorrow Jan. 30 because of extreme cold.
NWICatholic "This horror is the antithesis of everything that Jesus Christ and the Church purport to be about." Read more this…
NWICatholic "Nurture the garden of your soul. Walk there with the Lord in the early light of dawn or the cool of the evening. S…
NWICatholic St. Kateri Tekakwitha, patron of the environment, ecology and those in exile, pray for us! Memorial July 14. Join u…
NWICatholic In Bishop Donald J. Hying's recent column, he writes about narcissism and entitlement, both of which call us to con…
NWICatholic In this week's column, Bishop Donald J. Hying talks about the Eucharist as the center and summit of our faith, a pr…
NWICatholic The new documentary, "Pope Francis: A Man of His Word," is scheduled to be shown locally starting Friday at Scherer…

Sister who works with Philadelphia homeless attends State of the addres

sister political


Mercy Sister Mary Scullion meets with Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Pa., Feb. 4, 2020, prior to President Donald Trump's State of the address. Evans invited Sister Scullion, co-founder of Project HOME, which helps the homeless in Philadelphia, as his guest to the president's address in the Capitol. (CNS photo/courtesy Emmanuel Sofolawe)


by Carol Zimmermann

Catholic News Service


         WASHINGTON (CNS) - Mercy Sister Mary Scullion, co-founder and executive director of Project HOME, an organization that helps the homeless in Philadelphia, was one of the many guests who attended the Feb. 4 State of the address, which she hoped would draw attention to homelessness and inspire federal aid to alleviate it.

         The woman religious, who took the train to Washington for the speech and left the next day to get back to the work at hand, was invited by Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Pennsylvania.

         Members of Congress can bring one guest to the State of the , and Evans chose Sister Scullion to "highlight the need for more affordable housing dollars and support of policies to reduce poverty and homelessness."

         He also said in a statement that he hoped her presence also would bring attention to "the need to prevent cuts to programs that help the vulnerable" including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, and Social Security disability benefits.

         Sister Scullion was not singled out as were some of President Donald J. Trump's 11 guests during the televised speech, but she felt she championed her cause in meetings before the address where she discussed homelessness with both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

         These meetings "were the positives" of the visit, she said, adding that she also was encouraged by the number of women she met who said they had been educated by women religious.

         "Their Catholic education empowered them to be the leaders they are today," Sister Scullion told Catholic News Service from the train Feb. 5.

         The advocate for the homeless, named one of the "World's Most Influential People" by Time magazine in 2009 and described in the magazine profile as the "Mother Teresa of Philadelphia," came to Washington fully aware of who she was representing and kept them at the forefront of her mind.

         Staff members and residents of Project HOME gathered to send her off Feb. 4 with "words of encouragement and prayer" she said, stressing that that's where she finds her strength and inspiration.

         She said the division, palpable during the State of the but also in the country at large, impacts the work she does because "the solution to end homelessness involves all of us as one human family" and needs bipartisan support.

         "I go back with a little of both: encouragement and discouragement," she said.

         She also goes back to what she has been leading since 1989, when Project HOME was initially an emergency winter shelter for men. Today, the program reaches out to all the city's homeless, including many who are addicted or mentally ill, and offers not just shelter but long-term support with housing, jobs, education and medical care to keep people from remaining homeless.

         Sister Scullion tweeted about her time in Washington along with pictures of herself with different members of Congress. She said in one tweet that Philadelphia "has the lowest number of unsheltered people of the ten largest cities. What we are doing is working - we just need more."

         She was happy to speak on the behalf of the homeless, but she felt better about returning to them.

         As she put it: "I have the greatest job in the world, and I work with the most amazing people."

See more content!

To view more articles and search our website register with

Join The Flock

Flock Note