The Irish nun known as 'Mother Teresa of Philly' beat out Oprah, the Pope and Hillary Clinton to come in at number 49 on Time Magazine's annual list of the 100 Most Influential People. Bono didn't even make the cut!
Sister Mary Scullion, from Philadelphia, collected an astonishing 613,599 votes, ahead of Oprah (98) and the Pope (78), but behind Britney Spears (30) and Lil' Wayne (12). Bono, usually a fixture on the annual list, didn't make the cut this year.
Sister Scullion, 55, is a nun with the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic women’s congregation which was founded in Dublin.
The daughter of Irish immigrants, Sister Scullion is co-founder and executive director of Project H.O.M.E., a homeless advocacy and services network in Philadelphia. Under the helm of Sister Scullion, the organization has cut homeless rates in half in the City of Brotherly Love.
Through the work of Sister Scullion and Project H.O.M.E., shelter has been provided for thousands of homeless individuals, and 95 percent of those people have never returned to the streets. Over the past 20 years, the organization has grown from one emergency shelter to well over 400 units of housing and several businesses that provide employment services to formerly homeless individuals.
Scullion, whose appeared on the Time 100 twice before, is adamant about educating the people of Philadelphia in order to prevent homelessness, recognizing that simply pulling people off the streets won’t solve the problem. Her approach includes one-on-one outreach, supportive housing and comprehensive services in health care, education and employment. She has even helped bring a multi-million dollar digital learning center to her community.
“We can't walk by people on the street and think that's okay,” she has said. “It’s not okay. It degrades me as well as the person who’s on the street.”
Philly’s Mother Teresa has changed the way the city views its homeless. She has led protests that have resulted in new city shelters and have changed laws that made sleeping on the street a crime. The community knows, if the police receive a call about a homeless person, they call up Sister Scullion.
“Once you know the kids in this community,” she has said,“it's impossible to give up, because there’s so much life and talent and goodness and strength.”
The words of a true saint.