Each year Ursulines from the Eastern Province volunteer for NunsBuild, an event hosted by the St. Bernard Project (SBP), an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Religious from across the country participate in construction and rehab projects in the New Orleans region.

Ursulines work in teams with other sisters from different congregations and different parts of the country as well as parishioners recruited by some of the nuns. Under the supervision of AmeriCorps volunteers the sisters work on construction projects, like hanging drywall or laying floor tiles. This volunteer effort helps support the SBP mission to bring New Orleans families home at last, some having waited eight years.

This year, Sisters Theresa Byrne, Terry Eppridge, and Marie Celine Miranda returned for their fifth year and Carole Marie Keaney for her fourth year of providing service to the community rebuilding effort. In previous years Sisters Dee Yanshak and Carol Ann Holder also participated.


Second from left is Mary Keefe, O.P., one of the first organizers of NunsBuild.

From front to back: Sisters Teresa Byrne, Marie Celine Miranda, Carole Marie Keaney and Mary Kay Gavin, a Toledo Ursuline, at orientation

Sr. Teresa Byrne presents a money gift collected from the province to Zack Rosenburg, co founder of St Bernard Project. We had over $3000 to give, thanks to so many at home.

The house we are now working on, some doing floor tiling and others simulated wood flooring. In addition to rehabbing homes flooded out by Katrina, the St Bernard Project now buys unwanted properties, restores them, and sells them at market value with about a 30 percent subsidy to first-time homebuyers in the lower income bracket.

Our site supervisors Matt and Ryan introduce themselves before work begins

Sisters Carole Marie and Marie Ce have been doing tiling. That is Carole Marie in the orange hat. The blue tape on a tile means it has just been laid and cannot yet be walked on until the next day.

Tool cleanup follows all work days. Sr. Marie Ce is doing her share.

Sr.Teresa Byrne volunteered to do the sweeping today after we laid the floor. One more valuable skill. It is like the floor at the Province Center.