cycling with sisters — riding to promote social justice

Cycling with Sisters is a 100-mile cycling and social media pilgrimage to raise awareness about the social justice work of Catholic Sisters. The ride takes place on  Monday October 2.  Sister Mary Herrmann, SSJ, will offer a blessing of the cyclists and bicycles before their departure at 6:30 a.m. from North East, PA. At various stops, the group we will offer prayers and educate the public via social media (Facebook Live, Twitter) about the work that Catholic Sisters are doing to address current social justice issues.   

Stephanie Hall, Communications and Public Relations Director, Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

Stephanie  Hall , our Communications Director, is part of a group of cyclists who will ride from North East, PA to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada to attend the annual Communicators for Women Religious (CWR) Conference. CWR is a professional organization of personnel responsible for communications within religious congregations of women.The organization’s mission is to be a network of professional support and education for members who promote understanding of women religious, enhance their image and advance their mission. CWR is also a resource for organizations serving women religious.  The initiative has captured local and national media attention and has been included in articles in the online Global Sisters Report (Are religious women needed?, by Linda Romey, OSB, and Cycling With Sisters to promote social justice work for 100 miles by Dan Stockman)

What are the issues?

Human Trafficking: We pause to remember victims of human trafficking and all those who work to free those caught in the nightmare of this modern slavery.

Poverty in its many forms—hunger, homelessness, lack of health care, unemployment: We pause to remember those who are hungry, homeless and frightened, especially the children. We remember those who don’t have access to health care, education and job security.

Nonviolence and end to hate and racism: We pause to remember victims of violence: hate crimes, racism, domestic and child abuse, gun violence, gang violence, war and militarism, nuclear threats. We remember their families and loved ones who also suffer with them.

Environment: We pause to remember the earth and those who suffer when the earth suffers, especially the poor. We remember people around the globe who directly suffer the effects of climate change in extreme weather situations, unbreathable air, fracking-induced destruction and earthquakes.

Immigration: We pause to remember our sisters and brothers from all countries, especially those who are refugees, displaced and persecuted.

Who are the cyclists?

Stephanie Hall, Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, CWR member and board member, Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Linda Romey, OSB, Web Developer and Marketing Coordinator, Benetvision and Monasteries of the Heart, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, CWR member

Jennie Hagerty, Executive Director of Mercy Center for Women and Dress for Success Erie, ministries of the Sisters of Mercy.

Anne McCarthy, OSB Erie Benedictines for Peace, Benetvision, and Monasteries of the Heart

Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive and former Congresswoman, PA 3rd Congressional District. She authored the legislation which allows young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance up to age 26 under the Affordable Care Act.

Daina Cyvas, Communications and Project Coordinator, Sisters of St. Casimir, Chicago, CWR member

Dina Lauricella, OSB, Microbiology Analyst, Microbac, Erie, PA

Breanna Mekuly, Emmaus Ministries staff, Erie, PA

Val Luckey, OSB, St. Benedict Child Development Center staff

Jacqueline Small, Oblate, Monasteries of the Heart staff

Stephanie Ciner, gardener and educator and volunteer with Erie Benedictine ministries.

Ruth Bownes, social justice advocate

Ken Bownes, avid cyclist

You can “virtually “ride along and pray with the group during their LIVE social media stops along the way. Please be sure to LIKE the Communicators for Women Religious Facebook page and our SSJ Facebook page to get notifications of the LIVE stops (make sure your notification settings are set to ALL  for those pages.)

In addition, you can print the prayers that will be used at each of the stops.  They are available on the CWR web site.


Accompanying drivers:
Janice Etchison, Oblate, Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Mary Lou Rathers, SSJ Associate
Jan Staszewski, SSJ Associate
Maxine Kollasch, IHM, A Nun’s Life Ministry

Cycling support:
Dave Dennis, John Bink, Bill Van Volkenburg
Lake Country Bike, North East, PA

Public relations:
Gary Loncki, Communications Director, Consultant
Sisters of Mercy New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community,

Social media, video and photography support:
Maxine Kollasch, IHM
A Nun’s Life Ministry,

Allan Johnson
Allen H. J. Graphic Design,

Team shirts:
Erik Hengelbrok, Creative Imprint Systems

Logistic help:
The U.S. Peace Bridge Authority and The Canadian Border Service for their advance help in getting us over the Peace Bridge and through customs safely and efficiently.