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Sister Kathleen Desautels featured in Chicago Tribune

Sister Kathleen Desautels, a native of Indianapolis, didn’t set out to be a leader or administrator of organized, peaceful protests. But, when four Catholic Church workers were raped and murdered in El Salvadore, Sister Kathleen said she became motivated to get involved in social justice causes.

Her motivation most likely became more keen when the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation accused the victims of being communist sympathizers.

Sister Kathleen recently served as a peace guide for the anti-NATO rally and march in downtown Chicago. An extensive interview with Sister Kathleen was published in the Chicago Tribune. It was written by columnist Dawn Turner Trice.

Trice referred to Sister Kathleen as a powerhouse in the peace movement. “I like to think I’m the hostess of the protest,” was quoted as saying. She also talked about the “solid gold” people who work to bring change in U.S. society. There were violent outbreaks during the protests, and Sister Kathleen talks about those possibilities in the interview.

She knows working for justice on often-controversial issues is not an easy task. “We like to say that justice is the ministry of the long haul,” she said in the interview.

Sister Kathleen is someone who is deeply devoted to her faith and believes in doing things the right way. She also teaches others how to prepare for delicate situations they might encounter during a peace action, or a movement for justice.

Sister Kathleen is on staff at the 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago. She joined the Sisters of Providence Sept. 12, 1960, and she professed perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1968. She has ministered as an elementary-school teacher, in religious education, as a pastoral associate, theology instructor, acting vice president and director of alumnae affairs at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and as a prison chaplain.

Do you get involved in public actions when an issue of justice is at stake? Have you ever marched in a peace protest? What would it take to motivate you? Share your thoughts.

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Dave Cox

Dave Cox was media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence for many years. Prior to his work with the sisters, he spent over 30 years in newspaper newsrooms.

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