Faith-Justice Institute

Outreach Lectures

ORL 2014

Sister Francis Joseph, R.A. Outreach Lecture Series

Initiated in 1981, The Outreach Series presents lectures each semester highlighting contemporary issues relating to Christian faith and social justice. Its purpose is to engage both the Academy and the Church in “deep and sustained” conversation about timely matters of social justice from a range of faith perspectives. Typically, the Outreach Lecture topic is paired with the Faith-Justice Studies Series course


Recent Outreach Lecture speakers and topics have included:

Fall 2012: Ms. Jenny Phillips, The Dhamma Brothers

Spring 2012: Dr. Kathryn Edin, Diverging Destinies of America's Children

Fall 2011: Mr. Rich Massaro, Cultivating Generative Genius: Developing Effective Social Entrepreneurship

Spring 2011:Dr. Joan Goodman, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, "I Know its Wrong but So What": Examining Society's Responsibility in Shaping Youth's Moral Values

Fall 2010: Reverend Stephen Thorne, Executive Director, Office of Black Catholics, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Identity, Diversity and Inculturation in America and the Church

Spring 2010: Mr. Steve Wagner, President, Renewal Forum; Sr. Mary Bet Hamm, SSJ, Justice Coordinator of Sisters of Saint Joseph, Chestnut Hill; Mr. Hugh Organ, Associate Executive Director, Covenant House of Philadelphia, Exploring Hidden Injustices: Faces and Facets of Human Trafficking 

Fall 2009: Dr. Thomas Sugrue, Planning for Justice: Civil Rights and the Future of Philadelphia

Spring 2009: Ms. Judy Wicks, Local Living Economies: Green, Fair and Fun

Fall 2008: Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, Breaking the Isolation of Ganges: Community as a Response to Youth Violence

Spring 2008: Dr. Scott Charles, From Outrage to Outreach: Towards a Less Violent City

Fall 2007: Dr. Shantayanan Devarajan, Ending Poverty in South Asia by Overcoming Government Failure

Spring 2007: Ms. Sharon Browning, Esq., Finding the Heart of Justice in the City of  Philadelphia

Fall 2006: Dr. Mark Wallace, Earth-Centered Spirituality and Catholic Social Teaching


Francis Joseph

Sr. Francis Joseph Scarpello Religious of the Assumption was born and raised in Germantown PA. She attended Chestnut Hill College. She was an educator for over seventy-seven years. Her vocational credits include Headmistress of Ravenhill Academy.  Two former Presidents of the Philippines and one Former Princess of Monaco count among her many devoted students.  Sister served in Paris, Rome, Manila, and Osaka Japan. She was also the executive secretary for the International Union of Superiors General coordinating the needs and concerns of 2,285 leaders of Roman Catholic religious orders worldwide.


Francis worked at St. Joseph’s University in the Faith-Justice Institute for over thirty years. During this time she said she never met anyone she didn’t like to work with (the feeling was very mutual). Francis began a lecture series now named in her honor, concerning issues of faith and social justice. It was very important to her to invite the neighborhood communities, local religious congregations in addition to St. Joe’s students and faculty to the lectures to gain knowledge, learn about problems affecting their own friends, neighbors and city.  Francis would then challenge her attendees to do something….she would ask, “Now that you know about this problem, what are you going to do about it”


This is Sister Francis’s legacy. Nothing was more important to her than peace and justice. She spent every day of her life doing God’s work and helping people.  The greatest way to honor her is to “do something”.  The Sister Francis Joseph R.A. Outreach Lecture series continues to educate, challenge, and encourage the intergenerational community of the University, surrounding neighborhood, and city of Philadelphia to work together towards justice.