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Critical Concerns 2023: Women


This year’s critical concern is Women. The Sisters of Mercy remain committed to improving the situation of women around the world.  

 “We believe that women’s education, health and spirituality need special attention. We continue this mission in our schools, colleges, health-care institutions and spirituality centers. We advocate for equal pay, for services for domestic violence victims, and for the rights of girls and women in especially repressive societies.”

Visit the Critical Concerns 2023 page, which will include virtual event links.

Schedule of Events

Monday, March 20

9:30 a.m.

Welcome and preview

Paul DaPonte, Ph.D.

Office of Mission Integration

Opening prayer and reflection

Jeff Schaffer, MPS

Campus Ministry

(Virtual Event)

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Faculty/staff retreat: “Leaning into Mercy: the Inner, Contemplative Dimension”

Mary-Paula Cancienne, RSM, Ph.D.

(Virtual Event)*

*For those who wish to experience the retreat with others, feel free to participate in the Mercy Hall Lounge.


Panel discussion: “Joanne Sheehan: Nonviolent Activist for Peace and Justice”

In conversation with Scott H. Bennett, Ph.D.

Mercy Peace Forum

Mulcahy Institute for Social Justice

(Virtual Event)

Tuesday, March 21

Morning reflection (Virtual)


Service opportunity: Providence House (Transportation provided)

Providence House, in Whiting, NJ, offers a wide range of services to women experiencing domestic violence and their children.

(A pre-service orientation is required before participating. Please contact Campus Ministry x2600)


Presentation: “Women as Agents of Change”

Marianne Comfort

Justice Coordinator for Earth, Anti-racism, and Women

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Host: Mercy Associates

(Dorothy Marron University Community Chapel)

6:00-7:00 pm

Panel discussion: “Celebrating Women in Business and Digital Media”

Host, Jennifer Edmonds, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business and Digital Media


Tasha Youngblood-Brown, Ernst & Young

Marilee Pettit, Press Communications, Inc.

Debra Rizzo, Rizco

Theodora Sergio, Georgian Court University

Vanessa Coppes, BELLA Magazine

(Virtual Event)

Wednesday, March 22

Morning reflection (Virtual)

1:00-3:00 pm

On-campus service opportunity

Drop by to prepare care packages for clients of Providence House

(Ballroom, Casino)

4:00-6:30 pm

Film screening and discussion: “9 to 5: The Story of a Movement”

Host: Marci Mazzarotto, MFA, Ph.D.

Guests: Professors Pari Murthy, Ellen Bernhard, Kristen Park Wedlock

(Little Theater, Jeffries Hall)

7:00-8:00 pm

Presentation: “The Recovery of Women’s Voices in Catholic Tradition: A Conversation”

Elissa Cutter, Ph.D. and Mary Kate Holman, Ph.D.

(Virtual Event)

Thursday, March 23

2:00-3:00 pm

Ecumenical prayer service

Campus Ministry


Dance Performance: “Perpetual Interlock”

Choreographer: Juliette Margolies

Performers: Marissa Rutigliano and Cadence Marciano


3:00-4:00 pm

Keynote event: “Women on the Move: The Changing Face of Migration to the U.S.”

Sonia Nazario

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist

Author: Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with his Mother


Media/Press Contact

More GCU News

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University is a leading regional university that provides a transformative education, preparing students for ethical leadership and service in the Catholic Mercy tradition. Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. The university has a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women.

As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 1,900 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 16 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings, and in 2024, GCU was named one of the best Online Master’s Colleges in New Jersey.

The main campus is in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students through its Center for Professional Studies, and at other locations, including GCU at Brookdale, and through multiple online degree and certificate programs.