For The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — Marsha Thrall is the new director of programming for the Franciscan Peace Center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton. In the newly created position, Thrall will develop innovative in-person and online programming that fosters the principles of active nonviolence, the corporate stands of the Clinton Franciscan family, and Catholic Social Teaching. Promoting social justice, a healthy environment and racial equity through active nonviolence are the particular emphases.
“I am excited about this opportunity to work with the greater Clinton community to live out my commitments to learning and organizing together to be agents of social equity,” Thrall said.
She is part of a three-person team with Jennifer Kryszak, strategic planning director, and Laura Anderson, digital outreach and advocacy director. The team coordinates communications, collaboration, outreach and advocacy efforts and designs initiatives and programs for the Franciscan Peace Center.
Thrall, who began her new post in June, became involved with the Clinton Juneteenth celebration. She also led a collaboration with several area organizations to set up a free community screening of Encanto, a Disney film that celebrates diversity and acknowledges the challenges immigrants face.
Before joining the Franciscan Peace Center, Thrall held interim religious education roles with the Unitarian Universalist Church, most recently in Coralville. She earned a B.A. in Theology and Philosophy with a certificate in Peacebuilding (Mount Mary University-Milwaukee) and a Master of Theological Studies degree (Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary-Evanston, Illinois). She is in Ph.D. pre-candidacy at Chicago Theological Seminary studying religion, ethics and cultural studies.
Among her volunteer experiences, Thrall served in AmeriCorps working with homeless and underserved populations in Milwaukee and as a community education coordinator for Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee.
Sister Jan Cebula, the Clinton Franciscans’ president, said the community recently made a seven-year commitment to transition to Integral Ecology as part of the global Laudato Si’ Action Platform. “We especially look forward to Marsha’s leadership not only in bringing that commitment to fruition but to carrying the mission of active nonviolence into the future.”
The Clinton Franciscans established the Franciscan Peace Center as a means of integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking. The center’s efforts focus on the corporate stands of the Clinton Franciscans regarding immigration reform, care for Creation, human trafficking, human rights, income inequality, and abolition of the death penalty and nuclear weapons. Learn more at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.