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S. Janet works with young volunteers at the Eco-Justice Center

A Woman of Distinction

On August 11, 2011, the Racine County YWCA honored eleven “Women of Distinction” at a special dinner and celebration. Among these was Racine Dominican S. Janet Weyker. The YWCA has honored some of “the best and brightest” women with this award since 1988. The recipients are examples for women who have overcome obstacles to better their lives and the lives of others in the community. S. Janet was nominated for her dedication to the Eco-Justice Center, a sponsored ministry of the Racine Dominicans. She has been the Center’s director since its founding in 2004.

The Eco-Justice Center provides information on environmental sustainability and care of Earth to volunteer groups from schools, churches, and families. S. Janet and other Eco-Justice Center staff members host visitors in a variety of events including discussions, workshops, classes, and camps. Visitors can take tours of the 15-acre site, and learn about the “green” practices the Center uses. Over the past six years of its ministry, the Eco-Justice Center has become a model of sustainable, simple living and reverence for creation.

In this summer's Ecology Camp for Kids, S. Janet shows attire worn when working with bees

Hearing about her nomination was quite a surprise for S. Janet. “I knew nothing about this annual award presented by the YWCA until I received the phone call saying I was to be a part of this year’s honorees,” she confessed. Nancy Carlson, her nominator, is the former director of the River Bend Nature Center. She first came to know S. Janet through the Sierra Club, of which they are both members. After seeing the Eco-Justice Center at last year’s Fall Festival, Nancy began to get more involved and was a volunteer naturalist at the Center’s summer Ecology Camp for kids. “S. Janet empowers others by teaching them to care for the Earth and become self-sustaining. Her example is my inspiration.”

Two other Racine Dominican sisters, S. Brenda Walsh (1994) and S. Michelle Olley (2006), have been past recipients of this award.