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Congregation Spotlight: Sr. Liz Engel, OP

By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager

From movie theaters to restaurants to education, the pandemic has dramatically changed many industries.

For several Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, they have had to drastically pivot their ministries and adapt to new health regulations from COVID-19.

In particular, Sr. Elizabeth (Liz) Engel, OP, Executive Director of Downey Side Adoption Services, an agency dedicated to helping the neediest children of America find permanent families and homes, has had to shift her responsibilities to navigate through the past seven months.

“COVID has prevented states from allowing children to cross state lines, and it has prevented many families from visiting them in their home state. It has also slowed up the process of adopting through all Child Welfare Agencies,” explained Sr. Liz.

Sr. Liz Engel, OP
Sr. Liz Engel, OP

“We have had to change our policies for approving homes, and we had to work with families virtually. Our offices were closed to staff and families, and they had to work virtually even when viewing homes for approvals.”

Downey Side, an organization that “works in partnership with the government as a licensed adoption agency to place America’s waiting children who otherwise would remain homeless,” was founded by Father Paul Engel, OFM, Cap., a Capuchin priest, and Sister Liz’s brother. (1)

As Sr. Liz continues her ministry for the remaining months of 2020, the many children still waiting in limbo in foster care “who long for a permanent family” is what keeps her motivated.

“It is my prayer that we find a cure soon, so our ministry can continue caring for God’s children.”

To learn more about Downey Side and support their work, visit:


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