May 20, 2019
Ann M. Durst, SHCJ, of San Diego, Calif., received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., on Sunday, May 19, 2019. Throughout her 60 years as a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus, Sister Ann has made significant and enduring contributions in the fields of education and law. Early on in her vocation, Sister Ann taught and administered at several schools founded by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, including School of the Holy Child in Rye, N.Y., and Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, N.J. From 1971-1978, Sister Ann served as president of Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pa., which was also founded by the Society in 1921.
Sister Ann received a B.A. in English at Mundelein College and a M.A. in Theology at Marquette University. In 1982, she earned a J.D. at Georgetown University Law School. Upon completion of her law degree, Sister Ann provided legal counsel to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for four years.
In 1993, under Sister Ann’s direction, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus founded Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego, Calif. For 25 years, the Law Center has provided pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations. Last year, the Law Center assisted more than 2,000 people who were fleeing persecution in their homelands; unaccompanied, abused, and abandoned children detained by immigration authorities; and victims of violent crimes, including human trafficking.
Carroll Juliano, SHCJ, American Province Leader of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, shared that Sister Ann’s ministry with Casa Cornelia Law Center expands on the Holy Child mission to meet the wants of the age and embodies the Holy Child motto of Actions Not Words. “Sister Ann’s work has been life-giving, and the Society is very thankful to her, along with many of our Holy Child Sisters, staff, volunteers, friends, and supporters connected to the Law Center. They are living out the Society’s mission with love, action, compassion, zeal, and justice.”
As a 173-year-old international community of Catholic women, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus provides educational, spiritual, and social justice programs for women, children, men, and families across four continents. In the American Province alone, the Sisters minister to more than 20,000 people every year and have communities in 10 states, the Dominican Republic, and Chile.