Embattled nun to receive award for work with gays

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2001

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A Roman Catholic nun who was ordered to end her 22-year ministry to homosexuals, then defied the Vatican's attempts to silence her, is being lauded at the nation's largest symposium on gays and lesbians.

Sister Jeannine Gramick was prohibited last May from publicly discussing her work with homosexuals or the process that led the Vatican in 1999 to order her and a priest to stop their pastoral work with gays and lesbians.

Although she no longer leads spiritual retreats for homosexuals, Gramick, a member of the Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame, has refused to obey the order to stop talking about homosexuality and the church. She has traveled the country to lecture about gay rights and her dispute with the Vatican.

''I chose not to cooperate in my own oppression,'' Gramick said Tuesday.

PrideFest America, a celebration of gay life taking place this week in Philadelphia, will honor Gramick on Sunday with its annual Tom Stoddard National Role Model Award, given to a person who has fought for civil rights for homosexuals.

''For her to put her career in jeopardy is a remarkable act of courage,'' said PrideFest executive director Malcolm Lazin, who founded the gathering in 1993.

Gramick said when she receives the award, she plans to make a speech ''apologizing to lesbian and gay people for the sins that not only my church, but all of organized religion, has committed against them.''

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