Crispina and Her Sisters: Women and Authority in Early Christianity by Christine Schenk, CSJ Three members of the CSSJ family took home multiple distinctions from the 2018 Catholic Press Awards. Every year the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada give out awards for excellence in reporting, social media, communications, broadcast, to students, and to book writers at their annual Catholic Media Conference. This year Sr. Collen Gibson (Philadelphia), Sr. Christine Schenk (Congregation of St. Joseph), and Kristen Whitney Daniels (the U.S. Federation's new assistant director) were awarded for their outstanding writing.

As one of the writers of the "Young Voices" blog at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), Gibson and team won first place for "Best Blog: layperson." The Catholic Press Awards committee commended the blog for their "focus on issues facing America's youth" including topics such as "racism, women's rights issues, and drug addiction." You can read Gibson's most recent "Young Voices" post here: "Lent requires us to lean into God, embrace the missing pieces."

Schenk was given three awards, one for her blog at NCR and two for her book, Crispina and Her Sisters: Women and Authority in Early Christianity. Schenk's book, which was released Dec. 15, 2017, was given first place in the historical book category. The committee called her book "a major contribution to the growing body of scholarship reshaping our understanding of the ecclesial leadership women provided in early Christianity."

"This book will contribute to the accumulating evidence that women's roles in the 21st century Church should be reevaluated," the committee continued. Schenk was also awarded third place in the "First Time Author of a Book" category.

In addition to the awards for her book, Schenk's "Simply Spirit" blog at NCR won second place in the "Best Blog: by religious/clergy" category. The committee commended the blog for covering “a great mix of political topics” and for bringing "Catholic values into real-world applications."

Before coming to the U.S. Federation, Whitney Daniels was a Bertelsen editorial intern with NCR and continued freelance writing for NCR, Global Sisters "States debate death penalty issues" by Kristen Whitney DanielsReport, and a variety of other publications following her internship. While at NCR she cultivated the death penalty beat, becoming well known for her well-rounded coverage of capital punishment through the pro-life lens.

For this work at NCR, Whitney Daniels was given first place for "Best Coverage of Pro-Life Issues: National newspaper or wire service." The committee had this to say about her death penalty stories: "strong descriptive writing chock full of well-researched facts and relevant details make this series of stories stand out as the best treatment of pro-life issues."

The stories submitted for the award include: "States debate death penalty issues"; "Eight Arkansas executions, scheduled for late April, have opposition mobilizing"; and "Ohio scrutinizes execution drug" — a culmination of multiple reports on Ohio's lethal injection protocol. These stories can be read online at: "Ohio judge rules against midazolam drug in executions"; "Appeals court upholds ruling against use of midazolam in Ohio executions"; "Ohio court votes to vacate ruling on state's lethal injection protocol"; and "Court vacates injunction against executions in Ohio."

Whitney Daniels' 2016-2017 reporting on the execution of Ricky Gray lead to her reporting being cited in an Ohio U.S. Magistrate Judge's original ruling that the state's lethal injection protocol was unconstitutional. This ruling lead to the above stories.

Whitney Daniels also won second place in the "Best Personality Profile: National Newspaper or Wire Service" category for her in-depth profile on Sr. Helen Prejean (Congregation of St. Joseph). The committee said the story — "Helen Prejean sways hearts with stories," written for Global Sisters Report — “profiled a complex and determined personality that is touching the lives of many."

"Helen Prejean sways hearts with the power of stories" by Kristen Whitney DanielsThis is the second year in a row that Whitney Daniels has received awards from the Catholic Press Association. At the 2017 Catholic Press Awards, she was part of multiple winning teams. She and two other writers from NCR won second place for "Best Reporting on Ecumenical and Interfaith Issues: National newspaper or wire service" — which included her story "Muslim students find Catholic haven."

NCR also won second place for their "Women Today" special section in the “Best Supplement or Special Issue: Best Regular Special Supplement.” Her very first story written for NCR, "Homeless women put their skills to work," was specifically commended by the committee. She was also part of a team at NCR that won first place in “Best Election Coverage by a newspaper or wire service."