For over a decade, Sister Margaret Hillary, OP has served the community on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. This fall when COVID-19 forced schools there to move their instruction online for the entire academic year, she knew many families would soon face tough choices. Hardworking single mothers would juggle work and homeschool. Employment was uncertain.
Along with fellow Dominican Sister Edith Schnell, Sister Margaret Hillary serves families at St. Ignatius Mission Parish. As a pastoral counselor and youth minister in the community, she was well aware of those struggling to make ends meet.
As the pandemic raged on, many families were living on a prayer—one that would soon be answered by Sisters on the Frontlines.
Waffles or WIFI
The sisters have met many hard-working mothers on the reservation. Among these women is Phoenix, a devoted mother of nine. She is the biological mother of three of the children, and the legal guardian for six more kids from two different families.
Several of her children suffer from chronic health issues, so remote learning came as a mixed blessing. It put her mind at ease to know her children would avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus, but their virtual education was now in her hands. She now needed costly internet service so that the kids could attend their classes.
That is where the sisters stepped in. With a grant from Sisters on the Frontlines, they paid for her internet service for the rest of the school year. Thanks to the initiative, the children can now attend school online.
They also use the computer to access the diocesan website and other religious education resources. In the photo below, the children listen to a story read to them from Bishop Austin Vetter.
Supporting Mothers on the Frontlines
Also living on the Flathead Indian Reservation is Tiffany, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe. The devoted mother of three young children suddenly had her hours cut at work because of COVID-19. She lost a large percent of her income, making it hard to keep up with the bills.
Tiffany cried tears of joy when receiving the gift of $500 from the Sisters on the Frontlines program. She said that she would use the gift to pay her debts.
Sister Edith and Sister Margaret were grateful to be able to help Tiffany and Phoenix through the generosity of the program’s donors. But they are not alone on the frontlines of this pandemic. They are joined by hundreds of other sisters making an impact across the country without the generosity of our donors.
As the fallout from the pandemic continues to cause immense hardships, Sisters on the Frontlines grants supply Catholic sisters with $1,000 each can help individual or families suffering due to the pandemic.
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