The Justitia award is given in memory of Sister Mary Glenn (1917 - 2005), a Sister of Divine Providence, who lived the charism of Providence by bringing together theological scholarship and social justice activism.
Sister Mary’s life of scholarship was nurtured as she pursued a Master’s Degree at Notre Dame University, and post graduate studies at Duquesne University, the Catholic University of America, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the University of Pittsburgh, and St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame. An acclaimed and respected high school teacher of religious studies, music and languages, Sister Mary also served as Supervisor of Religious Education for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, and was an instructor in Theology at La Roche University, Duquesne University, Carlow College, the University of Notre Dame, and Marist College.
Sister Mary’s scholarship is evidenced in her publications in The Thomist, Catholic Youth Encyclopedia, and frequent contributions to the Journal of Religious Education. In addition, she was a noted speaker at Religious Education workshops and conventions. A pioneer of ecumenism and multimedia communication in education, Sister Mary desired to make religion classes more relevant to her students and wrote a series of textbooks, The Roots of Faith, in 1960. This four volume series applied Scripture and church teaching to daily life. Sister Mary produced television programs based on the books to promote their use in the classroom in place of the rote memorization of the catechism that was prevalent at the time. Because of the unique nature of these textbooks, Sister Mary was invited to be a religious education consultant for the publishing house of Harcourt and Brace. In addition she became the co-founder of the Pittsburgh Diocesan Association of Religion Teachers.
Sister Mary was, indeed, a woman FOR the world. While her academic accomplishments are notable, perhaps it was her passion for bringing theological acumen to bear on social justice issues in dynamic and concrete ways, and her ability to engage others in this passion that were her greatest gifts. She served the Sisters of Divine Providence for 25 years in leadership positions, both nationally and internationally. She was a strong advocate for Sisters in third world countries, and had a special concern for the poor in Santo Domingo and Peru. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Korean province of the Sisters of Divine Providence. During her years in leadership, she was always a voice for others, especially people who are poor and marginalized. Through her prophetic vision and her passion for justice she left a legacy that enflames the Sisters of Divine Providence to this day as its members strive to carry out the mission entrusted to them by their Founders, Emmanuel von Ketteler and Marie de la Roche.
The Sister Mary Glenn Award is given to a graduating senior in Religious Studies with a GPA of 3.5 who is actively engaged in confronting the injustices of the times.