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Houston Dominican Named Peacemaker of the Year

HOUSTON, TX May 29, 2006-- Houston Dominican Jane Abell, OP was named “Peacemaker of the Year” by Pax Christi-Texas during the organization’s annual retreat in Houston, May 20.

The award comes in recognition of Sr. Jane’s many years of working for justice and peace with many organizations, including Pax Christi.

“I accept this recognition in the name of my community and the sisters who have taken on many causes of peace,” Sr. Jane said. “The Council has always been supportive of our projects. The sisters have done it; they have been there,” she continued.

Sr. Jane served as her congregation’s Promoter of Justice, Peace and Care of Creation from 1987 to 2005, during which time she was active in education and lobbying for many justice causes. Her work linked her with The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Center for the Healing of Racism, educating her sisters and the public about the harm of the death penalty and racism.

Dave Atwood, member of Pax Christi-Texas, and long-time leader of TCADP, made the presentation. He said, “Sr, Jane’s commitment and efforts on behalf of justice are clearly demonstrated in her involvement with many people.” Atwood cited especially her co-founding with Benito Juarez of the Guatemala Support Network.

Education around justice and peace impelled Sr. Jane to organize delegations to Guatemala and El Salvador at the height of the repression of the poor by their governments in the 80’s. She returned to El Salvador this year to mark the anniversary of the deaths of Oscar Romero and the four churchwomen. She has also traveled to the Rio Grande Valley at the Texas-Mexican border, visiting the barrios and the Maquiladoras. Today she continues her work on behalf of the immigrants coming to Texas seeking employment.

Sr. Jane has always been among the group of sisters who go to Fr. Benning, GA for the annual protest against the School of the Americas. Sr. Jane was instrumental in organizing her community around the United Nations Decade of Non-Violence.

For the ten-plus years that Iraq was under cruel sanctions, Sr. Jane was active in education around the harm done to the ordinary people of Iraq. She was on the first delegation of “Voices for Veritas” when Dominicans visited Iraq, especially to support the Dominican Sisters of Iraq. She and Sr. Mariana Wood organized the second Iraqi delegation. Jane participated with other Dominicans in a month-long fast at Union Square in New York City in September 2002.

In Atwood’s closing remarks he said, “Sr. Jane, you have a courageous heart and a sharp mind. You are a seeker of truth and a wonderful person. You are a model for us all.”

In addition to a framed citation presented to Sr. Jane, Pax Christi gave a monetary gift, which Sr. Jane will divide, between the Center for the Healing of Racism and CRECEN, Centro de Recursos para Centroamericanos.

Her latest interest has formed around the study of ecology and cosmology. She has brought to the sisters and the public speakers and study groups on these topics. Awareness of the threat to the local bioregions encourages efforts to conserve and preserve the local environment.

Sr. Jane has received other peace awards: in 1999, the Peacemaker Recognition Award from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Diocesan Social Justice Education Steering Committee; in 1993, the Maryknoll Peace Prize awarded to Sr. Jane and the Dominican Sisters.

Sr. Jane Abell (center) receives the "Peacemaker of the Year" award from Pax Christi-Texas. Making the presentation are State Coordinator Frank Skeith (left) and Dave and Pricilla Atwood.

Jane participated with other Dominicans in a month-long fast at Union Square in New York City in September 2002.
Houston Dominican: PeaceMaker of the Year

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