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Developmentally disabled woman joins US order order

A woman who credits her very survival to the foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary has joined the religious community as an associate member.

Marilyn Petruzzelli is the first woman with developmental disabilities to become an adjunct member of the order, and local sisters say she may be a national pioneer. Associates are lay people who promise to live out the values and commitment of religious life with the Holy Names Sisters.

"For Marilyn, this is truly a recognition of a call in her life to grow spiritually and share in the ministry of the church," said Dorothy Coughlin, director of the Portland Archdiocese's Office for People With Disabilities.

"It is so consistent with who Marilyn is and how she lives her life. Her developmental disability does not limit her care for concerns beyond herself," she said. Petruzzelli will visit the sisters each month, pray often and participate in community service. She plans to volunteer at a shelter for cats and be a hospitable member, or greeter, at L'Arche, the community of disabled people and their assistants where she lives.

Woman with developmental disabilities joins religious order (Catholic News Service 30/6/04)

Sisters welcome a new associate (Catholic Sentinel 17/6/04)
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
Archdiocese of Portland: Office for People with Disabilities
One L'Arche community branches out into Christmas tree sales (Catholic News Service/American Catholic 22/12/03)

2 Jul 2004