2015 Jubilarian – Christine (Christine Mary) Dobrowolski

Dobrowolski, Christine

Sister Christine Dobrowolski grew up in Detroit where she attended Holy Redeemer School for 12 years and became acquainted with the IHM Sisters. Her father, a union organizer, held meetings in their home to rally for justice for auto workers. These meetings were her initial exposure to social justice work, and together with her mother’s loving presence, were instrumental in her life-long commitment to justice and peacemaking.

In high school, she joined the Sodality, which encouraged involvement with social issues. She often visited Day House for the Homeless in Detroit. Her experiences at home and school greatly influenced her decision to join the IHM congregation.

After the novitiate, she went to teach at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.; St. Mark in Cleveland; and St. Felicitas and IHM High School in Chicago. She later returned to St. Felicitas as principal and integrated the school.

Sister Christine served as director of formation in Chicago while also teaching at St. Ambrose and the Chicago Public Schools. From there she went to Rome for theological studies through the ARC Program. There she met sisters from every corner of the world, learned about global issues and the need for systemic change. She traveled to South Africa and Botswana to assist congregations there with prayer, spiritual direction and retreats. She witnessed apartheid and other injustices, which solidified her commitment to social justice work.

She returned to Monroe and ministered at Visitation, where she deepened her own spirituality and helped foster the House of Prayer movement. After serving as co-provincial of the Northwest province for three years, in 1979 she moved to Memphis and became director of a low-income housing project where she lived with the residents. Eventually, she lived and worked at St. Rose Catholic Worker House and joined the staff at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.

She moved from Memphis to New Orleans to work in parish social ministry at the diocesan level. She continued her outreach to the materially poor and the homeless there until she came to Monroe in 1990 to become director of novices. Five years later, she went to Belmont, N.C., to work with people suffering from AIDS.

Nineteen years ago, Sister Christine moved to Louisville and served as minister of social responsibility at Church of the Epiphany, where she addressed issues of poverty, racism, nonviolence, women’s rights, immigration and sustainability, among others. She continues her work for justice as a board member for the Sowers of Justice Network.

Sister Christine fondly recalls the challenging times after Vatican II because of “the visionary leadership we had.” She appreciates how the congregation “continues to faithfully live out the spirit of the Council and respond to the signs of the times.” And she is grateful for all the opportunities she’s had throughout her IHM life.

“Who knows what surprises God has in store for us in our future? I am certain we IHMs will continue to discern and embrace these surprises and possibilities together.”