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Sister Beth Davies receives the Bishop Ketteler Award for Social Justice

Sisters of Divine Providence

On Suday, Agust 2, Sister Beth Davies, CND, received the Bishop Ketteler Award for Social Justice.

Sister Beth Davies, a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame, has served as an activist and advocate on behalf of the impoverished, addicted and exploited in the heart of Appalachia for more than 40 years. Through her dedicated efforts, Sister Beth has developed a network of medical clinics, worked for environmental protections, built effective substance abuse and addiction programs, and changed the Virginia criminal justice system to improve treatment of inmates.

In her early years of ministry to the people of Appalachia, Sister Beth helped to build a community center and to establish the St. Charles Community Health Clinic, a network of clinics for underserved and low-income families.  As a member of the Catholic Committee on Appalachia, Sister Beth was instrumental in the development of the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, This Land is Home to Me, which called for a response to the exploitation of people and resources in Appalachia. Through her advocacy, Sister Beth helped to secure passage of the federal law that regulates the environmental effect of coal mining in the U.S.

In later years, Sister Beth led the fight to block private landfills in Appalachia and founded CLEAN - Citizens of Lee Environmental Action network. Along with the late Sister Elizabeth Vines, CDP, she co-founded the Addiction Education Center, a facility for low-income addicts, alcoholics and their families. Through collaboration with the Appalachia office of Justice and Peace, Sister Beth worked to change the Virginia criminal justice system and improve the treatment of inmates as well as bring drug courts to Southwest Virginia to reduce the number of non-violent drug offenders in prison.

Today, Sister Beth focuses her work on drug rehabilitation at a residential treatment center and administers the Addiction Education Center, which she co-founded nearly 35 years ago, continuing her life of ministry, devoted to the people of Appalachia.

Sr. Mary Francis presented Sister Beth with the award. The inscription reads:

This medal, bearing the image of Bishop Wilhelm von Ketteler, the “Social Justice Bishop” of Mainz, Germany, and founder of the Congregation of Divine Providence, is presented to Beth Davies, CND, in honor of her advocacy and activism on behalf of the impoverished, addicted and exploited in Southwest Virginia — the heart of the Appalachia. Serving a region in despair and advocating for the people who are too often forgotten, Sister Beth’s ministry reflects Bishop’s Ketteler’s energetic work for justice.


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