Sr. Kathrine's Values of Social Activism


Sr. Kathrine saw “the human person created in the image of God” as the basis for everything she did. She did not regard “people” as an abstract group, but rather saw each one as an individual in the image of God. She was moved, she said, by “the potential that is in each of these persons who have never been given the opportunity to develop”.

But also she proclaimed herself struck by the “beauty and concern and care for others” that she encountered in people who were themselves in great need, and cited the example of going into a house where someone said, “Sister, thank you very much, but my neighbour next door doesn’t have very much, and could you help her too?”

Of course, not every one reached out in this way towards others, and some, she said, would “turn in on themselves”, making their destitution complete.

Sr. Kathrine was not without questions; why some were given so much, and others so little – and how to regard the guilt she sometimes felt because of this inequity. And she spoke about her feelings of helplessness when those who had the potential to change their lives, did not. In such a case, she said there was nothing anyone could do if a person was unwilling to help him- or herself, because long-term change is only possible with desire and effort.

Along these lines, she believed that it might be beneficial for Social Assistance to be given with the proviso that younger recipients go through training to prepare themselves for a more independent life. Different solutions would obviously be needed for those who were ill or incapacitated, but she felt strongly that if someone were competent, intelligent, and able-bodied, they could be supported to become “a contributing member of society”.