By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager
At the Archdiocese of New York’s Annual Black History Month Mass, Sister Dorothy Hall, OP, of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, was honored as one of the inaugural recipients of the Bakhita Woman of Faith and Service Award.
The Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Dolan, took place on the National Day of Prayer for the African American & African Family, February 2nd, at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
The pews at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral were full of family and friends of Sister Dorothy and the other honorees, as well as community members who were there to celebrate the recipients' service to the church, ministry, and community.
For Sister Dorothy, a Pastoral Associate at Saint Charles Borromeo Resurrection and All Saints in Harlem, who is known for humble and quiet personality, this recognition was unexpected but special.
“I was really surprised, to be honest, but I am incredibly honored. Saint Josephine Bakhita was a woman who was canonized, a product of slavery, and noted for her human trafficking advocacy efforts. This award celebrates faith in God, service to others, and is quite meaningful to me.”
Throughout her ministries, Sister Dorothy has shown her commitment to advocacy, as well as bringing hope and mercy to those in need.
As a Pastoral Associate, Sister Dorothy oversees two food pantries at Saint Charles and the St. John II apartments in Harlem.
Overseeing these food pantries is especially meaningful to Sister Dorothy as she has passionately advocated for hunger issues throughout the years.
“Hunger is an issue that is very important to me, and I do not like seeing children grow up without the proper nutrition that they need. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people who struggle with hunger that come to the pantries. Many pantries often only serve canned foods that contain a lot of sodium and it is not nutritious. I believe in providing fresh fruits and vegetables to those I serve and it’s what I’ve made it a point to do here at Saint Charles.”
At her food pantries, Sister Dorothy interacts with many residents of the Harlem community and makes an extra effort to get to know those she serves.
“I make it a point to get to know the people we serve at my ministry. I strike up conversations with them, and that is important to me. When you make that effort, it cuts down on ‘bad behaviors’ that sometimes happens at pantries.”
Sister Dorothy hopes that other organizations that serve those in need can follow her lead as it has helped her develop a better knowledge of her client's needs and inevitably better serve them.
“I enjoy helping and serving others, and hope that we can continue to be compassionate, attentive, and aware of the needs of those we serve.”