Timeline – Vertical, design 3

Our 50-Year Justice Journey

April 22

A Board First

Three non-Sisters, Marie (Grosso) Dennis, Barbara Ann Stolz, and Josephine Zamora, are elected to NETWORK’s Board for the first time.

October 16

Theresa Kane, RSM and the Pope

During Pope John Paul II’s visit to the U.S., LCWR president Theresa Kane, RSM asks the Pope to open all church ministries to women in her welcome speech; fifty-three sisters stand in protest during his remarks.

November 26

The Reagan Years Begin

Ronald Reagan elected President. During the eight-year Reagan presidency, NETWORK lobbyists, organizers, and members worked to minimize the deep cuts to human needs programs, increases in military spending, and tax cuts championed by President Reagan. A 1984 poem by NETWORK member Alma Nieland illustrates the NETWORK community’s motivation: “Let me stop the wheels of oppression from grinding so hard as they otherwise would.”

June 2

Nancy Sylvester, IHM

Nancy Sylvester, IHM succeeds Carol Coston, OP as NETWORK’s second leader.

June 10

The ERA Fails

The ERA fails to receive the necessary number of states for ratification. 

November 18

Code of Canon Law

The Vatican’s 1983 Code of Canon Law takes effect, prohibiting religious men and women from serving in public office, affecting members of NETWORK, including foundress Elizabeth Morancy. 

A Difficult Choice

When the Vatican prohibited religious men and women from serving in public office, two NETWORK Board Members were forced to make a painful choice: Elizabeth Morancy, a Rhode Island state Representative, and Arlene Violet, a candidate for Rhode Island State Attorney General. Both resigned from the Sisters of Mercy to serve in those positions. Previously, NETWORK with LCWR and other groups, had issued an Epistle in support of former Mercy Sister Agnes Mary Mansour, who had been forced to choose between her ministry as director of the Michigan Department of Social Services and her community by the Vatican.

January 14

Responding to Murder in El Salvador

Archbishop Óscar Romero is assassinated and four American churchwomen are murdered in El Salvador. In response, NETWORK invites leaders of congregations with missionaries in Central America to testify about the conditions in that region on Capitol Hill. 

October 16

Lobby Day Success

NETWORK coordinates the lobby days for Housing NOW!, a program sponsored by 175 organizations. More than 250,000 people participate in the week of briefings, press conferences, panel discussions, prayer services, benefit concerts, marches, and rallies.