If there is a Holy Spirit, Sister Tesa Fitzgerald is its embodiment. She is a force of nature. For decades she has devoted her life not to mere advocacy for the poor and disenfranchised, but to making a difference and improving lives, in particular those of prisoners.
Sister Tesa works with imprisoned women, their children, and their families. She began her work back in 1985, when she converted St. Rita’s Convent in Long Island into a shelter for six children whose mothers were in prison. Her goal was to help maintain the family bonds between imprisoned women and their children, providing a safe loving environment.
Of course she didn’t stop there. Soon she created Providence House, visiting women in prison, educating them and easing their transition back into civil society. And her program Hour Children, was devoted to reuniting mothers and their children upon release. Her organizations now oversee three apartment buildings, an after school program, a food kitchen, and four communal homes, among other projects.
Sister Tesa was the recipient of the prestigious Opus Price in 2014, and has been honored by many other organizations for her work. We caught up with her for this video clip at the Impact Prisons 2017 event.