A series introducing the individuals who promote and lead the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities’ work.
Trailblazer. Humanitarian. Role model. Visionary. Jeopardy answer. The number of descriptions for Sister Cora Marie Billings goes on and on.
And this month, she can add “cover story writer” to her accolades. ”America,” a 115-year-old national weekly magazine published by the Jesuits of the United States, featured Sister Cora on the cover and included an article by her in their most recent issue. In it, she explores her family’s history with the Catholic church, and how she has carried on a legacy of working for inclusion through her faith. Throughout her career, Sister Cora has held a number of roles within the Catholic Church, including teacher, campus minister, director of the Office of Black Catholics, pastoral coordinator, and anti-racism educator.
The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has also been the beneficiary of her time and talents. She continues her long service as a VCIC Richmond Chapter member, and Sister Cora also formerly served on the State Board of Directors. Many remember her co-directing countless Metrotown Institute programs (now called Connections) across the state, helping high school students explore issues of diversity and build bridges across lines of difference throughout the 1990′s.
Sister Cora’s optimism shines through in all that she does. To that end, she closes her article with this powerful charge: “Through all these challenges, I have tried to let people know that the Catholic Church is for everyone. I have hope in the future, because in my 75 years of life, I have seen how far we have progressed. I try to be patient. I try to put life in perspective. I know that our church and our world are not as they once were and they are not yet where I want them to be. But my hope is things will continue to get better. And I will always fight for that as long as I have energy. I will continue to live with the fulfillment of my convictions, and I will continue to move forward with the faith that God will help me to do what needs to be done.”
And to that, we say Amen!