Congratulations to Sister Rita Murillo who will receive the St. Thomas More Society Award in conjunction with the traditional Red Mass on Thursday, October 17, at 5:30 p.m. at Duquesne University Chapel. The award is presented to a member of the legal community who exemplifies the values of St. Thomas More in upholding justice and integrity in the government, in the Church, and in their lives. At the Red Mass, attorneys, judges and those in the legal profession seek guidance and blessings for the coming year. The observance traces to early England and has been offered locally since 1959.
Sister Rita is a public defender in the Allegheny County Juvenile Court Division, where she advocates passionately and compassionately for vulnerable children. Widely respected for her dedicated, tireless work on behalf of children, Sister Rita also served as a trial lawyer in both state and federal court systems. She has received numerous awards and commendations from organizations including the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
Recently, Sister Rita was chosen by Bishop David Zubik to serve on the Church Healing Commission, a newly-created advisory group tasked with monitoring the Diocese’s progress on a five-point action plan responding to sexual abuse. The 12-member Commission is comprised of Catholic and non-Catholic leaders with experience in law enforcement, legal services, child welfare, parish ministries, social work, health care, and education, as well as victims of abuse.
Bishop Zubik is counting on the Commission to “help our diocese become ever more responsive to those who are hurting and ever more accountable to our faithful.” Members “bring a wide range of perspectives and expertise, which help to make the Church of Pittsburgh the model of love and mercy that Jesus calls his Church to be,” he said in a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Catholic.
Through the Church Healing Commission, Sister Rita continues her lifelong commitment to the protection of children and advocacy for those seeking justice.