By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville presented the Angeline Award to Cory Lockhart, a program associate at JustFaith Ministries, for her “Christian leadership and her work as a nonviolent peace activist,” according to a statement from the Ursuline Sisters.
The award was presented Oct. 22 during a Mass at the Ursuline Motherhouse Chapel on Lexington Road. The sisters have presented the award every two years since 1991 to “a woman who exemplifies in her daily life the charism of the religious community’s foundress, St. Angela Merici,” the release said.
The Ursuline charism is “a contemplative love of God and a resulting openness and eagerness to serve the needs of others, according to the sisters’ website.” The award recipient also “demonstrates leadership in addressing the challenges that face women and families today,” the website stated.
Lockhart, who worked as a teacher for years, currently works for JustFaith Ministries, a Louisville-based national program that prepares people of faith to respond to the call of the Gospel. She has also served off and on as a “nonviolent peace activist in regions ranging from Nicaragua to Palestine,” according to the release from the Ursuline Sisters.
During the past four years Lockhart has traveled several times to Palestine, where she accompanies the people there living under military occupation. She recently returned from Hebron, Palestine, where she led a delegation for Christian Peacemaker Teams — an interreligious organization that brings peacemakers to regions where violence is common.
The peacemakers aim, through their presence, to help counteract the violence. Lockhart is also a writer and documents her experiences on the blog walkingthewalk.co.
Ursuline Sister Ruth Ann Haunz said during a phone interview last week that Lockhart was chosen because she has worked on justice and peace issues since high school.
“She has the unique combination of being very knowledgeable and taking specific actions,” said Sister Haunz. “She has a unique concern for women and children, but she’s very universal in her approach to peace and justice.”
Sister Haunz said that Lockhart also has the ability to put her knowledge and experience in writing in a way she finds “inspiring.” All this, said Sister Haunz, is a “combination you don’t always find in people.”
Lockhart, who is a member of St. William Church, said she has admired many of the women who’ve received the honor in the past — including her sister Shannon Lockhart, who served as a peacekeeper in Guatemala and who received the award in 2004. “To be placed in their company is very special,” she said.
Lockhart also noted that as a 1991 graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, founded by the Ursuline Sisters, she is especially grateful.
“It’s a wonderful gift to be honored by that community that helped to form me,” she said.
Lockhart said social justice has always been important to her.
“I feel called to do it,” she said simply. “When you receive a call you don’t say no.”
She said she felt the calling to serve the Palestinian people while she was teaching English there in 2012.
Her work in Palestine, she added, is both “really difficult” and “really blessed.”
It’s difficult, she said, because she witnesses the conditions under which the people live and the injustices they face.
It’s blessed, she said, because her work allows her to accompany people in their suffering, for example when she sat with families whose loved ones had been killed and were awaiting the delivery of the bodies.
She describes the attitude of the Palestinian people as “generous, beautiful and amazing.” “What they’ve extended to us feels like so much more than we’re offering.”