New Orleans is a city with deep Catholic roots. There are many religious communities that have played critical roles at various points in the city’s history. In our new series
, three of the seven women religious communities that we'll feature have unique connections to the city. My principal guide throughout my stay in New Orleans has been Dr. Barbara Fleischer
of the Loyola Institute for Ministry
. You could say she’s to me what Virgil was to Dante (minus all the demons).
Dr. Barbara Fleischer, Loyola Institute for Ministry, New Orleans
As I've gone about the business of visiting with the Sisters' gathering information for the new series, Barbara shared insights with me. For example, on one of these drives Barbara shared with me the story of the indentured Irish workers who came to New Orleans to help dig the Canals. In the following, she makes an interesting connection with a memorial commemorating the Irish and Blessed Fr. Seelos
, a Redemptorist priest.
Even a quick stop for some delicious gumbo was an opportunity to learn about an initiative by Jesuit Fr. Harry Tompson, former pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish. Fr. Tompson was looking for a way to address generational poverty in New Orleans and together with two community members founded Cafe Reconcile
, a restaurant that serves as a job training program for at-risk youth.
Today Cafe Reconcile
's Workforce Development Program has graduated more than 1 000 youth between the ages of 16 and 22.
Besides receiving awards for their food and support from well-known celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse - did I mention that their gumbo is awesome?
Staff at Cafe Reconcile
And before I sign off, I leave you with a taste of what Sunday mass is like at St. Augustine's parish, which is located in heart of the legendary neighbourhood of Treme
, home of musicians and singers.
Stay tuned for more!
The Producer Diaries - Cheridan Sanders
shares her experiences developing an original S+L television series featuring seven women religious communities located in Africa, the Philippines, Timor-Leste and the United States. The globe-trotting series invites viewers to delight in the spiritual gifts of each of community and witness the extraordinary work of: educating girls, ministering to outcasts, sheltering HIV orphans, preventing human trafficking, taking care of the elderly, and so much more. The time is now to show the world how magnificent our Sisters are. The new series is an exciting collaboration with the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans
and is made possible through a $900 000 dollar grant
from the Conrad Hilton Foundation