Justice Centered: OPJCC Director Debbie Weber Retires
After nine years as the director of the Office of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation, Associate Debbie Weber retired in December. Debbie’s journey working for and with the SCs afforded her the opportunity to build many treasured relationships with both Sisters and fellow Associates. She was a valued peer collaborator with other Federation justice leaders, a diligent communicator about advocacy opportunities for Sisters and Associates, and a generous collaborator for justice and peace with multiple partners in the Cincinnati area and beyond.
Due to precautions at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, the Sisters of Charity and employees were unable to celebrate with Debbie at the time. We offer the following Q&A as a way of saying thank you to Debbie for her dedicated service to the mission of the Sisters of Charity and this important ministry.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you meet the Sisters of Charity?
I have an undergraduate degree in social work from the College of Mount St. Joseph (now university), so of course I had a few Sisters as instructors. However, there are two SCs outside of college who really had an impact on my life – and still do!
Our late S. Paula Gonzalez was nationally known and whenever/wherever my husband Jim and I could, we would attend one of her workshops or an event where she was a guest speaker regarding eco-spirituality and care of all of God’s creation – human and nonhuman. S. Paula was my companion to become an Associate.
s. Sarah Mulligan is the other Sister of Charity who impacted my life many years ago. A mutual friend, knowing that Jim and I were international volunteers in severely impoverished countries, introduced us to S. Sarah. She asked if we would come to her clinic in Mixco, Guatemala, and of course we said yes! She continues to have a special place in my heart.
What called you to first become an Associate?
The Spirit called me through Sisters Paula and Sarah.
What was appealing to you about the position as director of OPJCC?
My personal life was full of advocacy and action for Earth as well as serving our sisters and brothers who experienced marginalization, injustice, hunger, poverty. As an Associate, I saw the announcement of the opening of the position in Update, an internal publication. The Spirit was again calling me.
Can you tell us some of your favorite memories?
The Wednesday Lunch Bunch, Glass Class, and Drumming were my SC campus highlights that reminded me to take a break, laugh, and nurture friendships. As the director of OPJCC, I have fond memories of those who served on the Advisory Committee as well as the many gifted and passionate Sisters, Associates, and staff that made it possible to host the Human Trafficking Symposium at Xavier University, the several Mary of Magdala celebrations in our Motherhouse chapel, and the countless donation drives.
What were some of the biggest changes you saw in the office over the years?
Through the years, OPJCC was fluid in what education, advocacy and action initiatives we undertook. The biggest change was how the office functioned as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was difficult to no longer work in person with Sisters, Associates, staff, and the community outside the SC campus.
What are your plans for retirement?
I am taking a year off to rest, restore, redirect and rediscover myself and where the Spirit will lead me in the next phase of my life.