The mission statement of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary calls the community to work for human dignity, peace, justice and the needs of the disadvantaged. Since beginning her work at The Newburgh Ministry in 2002, Sister Norma Carney, PBVM feels that she is doing just that.
“I remember when I first came here, I had just gotten my social work degree. Because I had been working with a novice beforehand, I didn’t really have time to practice,” Sister Norma recalls.
Nowadays, she’s gotten plenty of practice using her skills, and her heart.
Below, Sister talks about her ministry serving the poor at Newburgh Ministry. Click the audio bar to hear the full interview. The text below is an excerpt.
“The system of social services keeps people in poverty. If they were to look for work, they’d have to find childcare. On a minimum wage job with no health benefits, many can’t make it. The only alternative is to stay on social services, and, in a sense, that’s demeaning for the individual. There’s hardly any alternative to get out of the cycle. It’s a terrible struggle, and it’s a generational struggle.
People stick to it and try to stay alive as best they can.
We’re here for them.
As I meet the people of the Ministry each day, I am inspired by their courage in the face of tremendous difficulties and their indomitable spirit. One of the women visiting the Ministry once said to me, “God don’t like worry. God takes care of me.” As bad as it gets, many of the people here believe that God is going to be with them and take care of them. That’s been a powerful lesson for me. Especially because, even though the Ministry has expanded, we still struggle to support ourselves, too.”