Interfaith Initiative Welcomes Speakers from Trenton's Roman Catholic Diocese

Posted: January 4, 2013

Two representatives from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J. will share their thoughts and experiences with Lawrentians about the role of women in Catholicism on Monday, January 7 at 6:15 p.m. in the Bunn Library. All are welcome to join in this discussion with Daughter of Charity Sister Joanne Dress (executive director for the Diocese's Department of Catholic Services) and Sister Rose McDermott (Trenton's diocesan delegate for Religious and Institutes for Consecrated Life). Their talk is the third in a series of discussions sponsored by Lawrenceville's Interfaith Initiative, a School organization that serves as a consortium/meeting place for all Lawrenceville religious groups to learn about and support each other's religions. The speaker series, focusing on the role of women in different faith traditions, is part of the School's celebration of 25 years of coeducation at Lawrenceville.

Dress, who formerly served as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of Catholic Charities Community Service of Orange County, N.Y., began her current position in 2011. She is a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. She served previously as Pastoral Associate and Director of Religious Education in St. Joseph Parish, Harlem, N.Y. before taking a position as Director of Catholic Charities in Orange County/Sullivan County, Newburgh, N.Y. She was also the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, N.Y.

Dress earned a bachelor of arts degree in art and a certificate in teaching (nursery-sixth grade) from Marymount Manhattan College, N.Y., and a master of arts in religious studies/theology from Fairfield University, Fairfield, Conn., before undertaking Spanish language studies in the Maryknoll Language Institute in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The former elementary school teacher spent 10 years educating youth in New York and Delaware, and served 12 years as a Director of Religious Education in New York and New Jersey.

McDermott came to the Trenton Diocese in 2012 from The Catholic University of America (CUA) School of Canon Law. A member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, McDermott holds a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pa., and a master’s degree in religious studies from Providence College, Providence, R.I. She was awarded a licentiate in canon law from the CUA School of Canon Law, followed by a doctorate in canon law. Before embarking on her studies and ministry in canon law, McDermott taught for 15 years, from 1954-1969, in Catholic elementary and high schools in the Archdioceses of Philadelphia (Pa.), Newark (N.J.), and Washington (D.C), as well as in the Dioceses of Camden (N.J.) and Harrisburg (Pa.).

McDermott was Director of Formation for Postulant and Novices for the Sisters of St. Joseph from 1969-1975. While she was assigned to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she served as assistant to the Archdiocesan Vicar for Religious from 1979-1990, and as Delegate for Religious in the Office of Vicar for Religious from 1990-1993. She has numerous notable achievements to her name, including a number of published works and has served three five-year papal appointed terms as a Consultor to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life from 1995-2011. McDermott has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1977; she was the recipient of the society’s Role of Law Award in 2002 and, since 2010, has been a Consultor to the Committee and Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For additional information on all Lawrenceville School news, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of public relations, at

Posted: January 4, 2013

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