EAST CHICAGO | Three residents who work to create a shared vision of a united and healthy urban community on Thursday were named Pillars of the Community.
Healthy East Chicago Inc. bestowed the awards at the second annual Pillars of the Community recognition luncheon at Ameristar Casino.
Sister Maria Giuseppe, administrator of Carmelite Home/Holy Innocents Center; Sylvia Morrisroe, a retired East Chicago Central High School teacher and Foundations of East Chicago executive board member; and the Rev. James Hunter, pastor of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, received the awards for improving the quality of life in East Chicago.
For the past 35 years, Sister Maria Giuseppe has been part of the Carmelite Home in East Chicago.
In 1980, she was appointed superior of the sisters’ convent and administrator of Carmelite Home, which has served East Chicago for 100 years. She initiated the effort to make Carmelite Home a licensed residential treatment center and emergency shelter as well as a residential home.
“This is a home for God’s kids,” Sister Maria Giuseppe said. “Thousands of children have been in our care. Carmelite Home is part of the mosaic of this community.”
Morrisroe is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, said Rachel Castro, of Foundations of East Chicago, who accepted the retired teacher’s award. Morrisroe is celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary during a trip to Puerto Rico.
Since 1973, Morrisroe has organized community cultural groups and worked with many community organizations such as Clemente Center, Healthy Visions Coalition, National Conference of Puerto Rican Woman and St. Catherine Hospital. She retired from the School City of East Chicago in 2005.
“The diversity in East Chicago is amazing. We need to understand each other,” she said in a video presentation.
Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church of East Chicago called Hunter to be pastor in November 1962.
He has served in many positions in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and is currently president/teacher of American Baptist College in East Chicago. Hunter is also president of the Community Reinvestment Project of East Chicago and a committee member of the Foundations of East Chicago.
“I want to bring East Chicago together to be what it can be,” Hunter said in accepting his award.