CHICAGO (CNS) — Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based national fundraising organization that builds churches and aids the Catholic Church in America’s poorest places, is honoring women religious working in the 90 dioceses it supports by sharing their stories on its website and in social media.

The recognition is how Catholic Extension is taking part in National Catholic Sisters Week March 8-14.

The organization has invited followers to take a photo of themselves with a religious sister who has impacted their lives and post it, along with the hashtags #SisterSelfie and #NCSW.


Daily posts will be made on Catholic Extension’s Facebook page at and on Twitter at using the hashtags #SisterSelfie, #NunsRock and #NCSW.

Sisters who are being recognized by Extension include: Mercy Sister Mariana Koonce, a Tennessee physician, who created St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic to provide mobile health care services to the poor and uninsured; and Benedictine Sister Kathleen Atkinson from the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, who is the founder and director of Ministry on the Margins, working with at-risk youth, prison inmates, the homeless and others in need.

Extension also has highlighted Dominican Sister Maria Yelitza Ayala, who is part of the U.S.-Latin American Sisters Exchange Program and is assigned to the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. The exchange program has sent 33 Latin American women religious to U.S. dioceses to minister to the growing Hispanic population. Extension runs the initiative through a partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Highlights of the religious sisters’ ministry can be found on online at

The Hilton foundation also supports National Catholic Sisters Week with a $3.3 million grant. The annual celebration is held in conjunction with National Women’s History Month, observed every March.