Sister Dorothy Gartland receives Guerin Outreach Ministries Leadership and Advocacy Award
“If you live long enough and continue to work, somebody will eventually give you an award,” laughed the ever-humble Sister Dorothy upon receiving the award on Oct. 14.
For the past 14 years, the “retired” Sister Dorothy, 81, has recruited volunteers and run the after-school homework help program at Providence Family Services in Chicago. The program brings volunteer tutors, mostly area college students, to the largely Hispanic and low-income Humboldt Park neighborhood to help students whose parents are limited by their lack of fluency in the English language.
With a background in and a passion for education and justice, Sister Dorothy sees her ministry as a continuation of her lifework: from teacher to principal and religious superior to a co-founder of 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago, Sister Dorothy chooses to carry on teaching and working for those in need.
“Students and tutors alike are happy to be there. They enjoy the organization, the serious way that their tasks are treated, the way they are respected and loved, and the good results that show up on their report cards,” said Sister Patty Fillenwarth, director of Providence Family Services and president of the Board of Directors for Guerin Outreach Ministries of the work Sister Dorothy does.
“Dedicated” and “inspirational” are words Sister Patty uses to describe Sister Dorothy.
“Very ordinary” are words Sister Dorothy uses to describe herself.
But those who know Sister Dorothy and her work, she is anything but.