Marie Therese Browne, SCN

Marie-Thérèse “Tess” Browne, SCN

Cushing-Gavin Awards Logo

Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient

Father Edward F. Boyle Award (Auxiliary), 2022

Marie-Thèrése Browne, S.C.N. (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth), “Tess” or Sister Tess, is a long-time practitioner in Social Justice Organizing, beginning with the National Farm Worker Ministry assigning her full-time staff with the United Farm Workers, AFL-CIO in Wisconsin, and Texas. Tess was inspired by boycotting farmworkers who invited her to leave the classroom and join them on the picket line in solidarity with their struggle for dignity and justice.

She engaged in several organizing and legislative campaigns in Wisconsin, California, and Texas, where she was Director of the National Farm Workers Service Center in San Juan, Texas. Tess co-coordinated successful campaigns to ban “El Corbito”, the short, handled hoe, and to bring toilets and clean drinking water to workers in the fields. After training with the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project farmworkers in Texas, Tess and others initiated voting rights and policy campaigns.

Tess was an Organizer with the Committee for Boston Public Housing. She was statewide Organizing Director for the Mass Action for Women Audit, as a follow up to the 1995 Beijing UN Conference on Women. She was also coordinator of HELP (Healthy Environment Leadership Project), an interfaith environmental justice organizing project at Episcopal Divinity School.

As part of the Catholic Sisters Collaborative, and Saint Katherine Drexel Parish, founding members of GBIO (Greater Boston Interfaith Organization), Tess continues supporting GBIO organizing for criminal Justice, affordable health care, and housing. From Massachusetts Interfaith Worker Justice beginnings, she deepened her commitment to worker rights, intersectionality, and dismantling systemic racism. This work moves on through Jobs with Justice; and Advisory Boards of the UMass Boston Labor Resource Center, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, and the South Asian Workers Center. Students in UMass Labor and Gender Studies and at The Labor Guild inspire and challenge Tess to keep going.

A native of Trinidad and Tobago and a U.S. Citizen, Tess received her BA from Cardinal Stritch University, and a master’s degree from UMass Boston, College of Public and Community Service; and was a Merrill Fellow at Harvard Divinity School. A former high school Biology and French teacher, Tess thanks her mom, Dorothea for her gift of faith, and acting with the others for the common good of the wider community. Being a sister of Charity of Nazareth, she tries to live out charity rooted in justice, to care for the earth, and to be in solidarity with oppressed persons, especially women.