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Sister Patricia Chappell

A Pursuit of Social Justice

During Black History Month, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon are recognizing the global contributions of Black men and women. The Sisters encourage us to reflect on their invaluable contributions to peace, religion, philanthropy, science and the advancement of human-kind.

Today we reflect on Sister Patricia Chappell and her 40 years of non-violence education, racism awareness and anti-racism training.

Experiencing systemic racism throughout her life, Sister Patricia has been a consistent model of inclusivity and an advocate for human dignity. A hallmark of her ministry is to help people be in right relationship with those who think and look different than the majority.

Born in 1952 in New Haven, Connecticut, Sister Patricia was the oldest of seven children. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1977, and earned a masters degree in social work from the Catholic University of America. Her early ministry was spent as a family therapist and serving youth with substance abuse concerns.

Sister Patricia has also worked with many religious congregations and lay groups helping people address systemic racism in the Catholic Church and collaborating with several groups and organizations to change systemic racism in education, employment, economics, and leadership.  

Sister Patricia Chappell
Sister Patricia interviews with Black Catholic Voices

Sister Patricia has also served in many executive roles – serving as President of the National Black Sisters Conference and Executive Director of Pax Christi USA. In these roles, she emphasized promoting a spirituality of nonviolence and asked U.S. Bishops to affirm nonviolence as a core Christian principle.

In 2020, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious named Sr. Patricia Chappell their Outstanding Leader.

Currently, Sister Patricia serves on the elected Leadership Team of the East-West Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.  

*Photo Credits the National Catholic Reporter’s Global Sisters Report and The Archdiocese of Washington’s Black Catholic Voices

To learn more about Sister Patricia visit:

Interview with Black Catholic Voices  

Sr. Patricia Chappell Honored – Global Sisters Report    

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