Sister Ursula Joyce inducted into

the Rockland Women Leaders Hall of Fame

Sister Ursula Joyce became one of 40 outstanding women inducted into the

inaugural Rockland Women Leaders Hall of Fame for their community service. The Hall was established by the Center for Safety & Change, a victim-centered non-profit organization offering free and confidential life-changing programs and services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and all crimes. The ribbon cutting of the Hall of Fame, which will be curated and hosted at the Center’s headquarters in New City, was part of a series of events over the weekend of October 4 - 6 to commemorate the Center’s 40th anniversary.

Sister Ursula was one of the founders of the Center for Safety & Change when it began as an emergency shelter, then known as the Rockland Family Center. She remarked that she was both grateful for and humbled by the recognition, “I’m very honored to be part of this group, so many of the women that I’ve associated with and worked with through the years—I’m very impressed with them all. Working with this organization [Center for Safety & Change] has been one of the highlights of my life, one of the things I’m very proud to have been a part of.”

Sister Ursula recalled the day that brought home the needs of victims of domestic violence to the Sparkill Dominicans, “The phone rang at about two in the morning. It was the Orangetown Police Department. They had a battered woman in need of a place to stay. So I went down with another Sister and, in the midst of police car lights, there was this poor woman out on the street with her two children.” The Sparkill Dominicans later received a call from another Sister in The Bronx. A woman abused by her alcoholic husband needed a place to stay with her three children. Shortly afterwards, the Sisters began working with other community service organizations and public officials until they found a house to provide shelter to victims.

Sister Ursula’s compassion for those in need and her vast competencies and experience as an educator and licensed psychologist have contributed to the quality of life within Rockland in many other ways. She has served as a founding board member and past president of United Hospice of Rockland, board member of the Rockland County Child Care Coalition, chair of the board of Albertus Magnus High School, and  member of  St. Thomas Aquinas College Board of Trustees, the Rockland County Commission on Human Rights, and the Rockland County Transit Advisory Committee.

Since 1981, Sister Ursula has served as executive director of the senior housing ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, overseeing Thorpe Village and Dowling Gardens. She was at the helm of the development of both facilities in the early 1970s and 1990s, respectively.


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