2017 Honorees

Reverend John J. Bradley

Father John Bradley, a native of the West Hills neighborhood, is a lifelong Albany resident and a graduate of Siena College. He was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Albany in 1967, and served in parishes in Schenectady and Albany.   Presently he is Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Albany, a position he has held since June of 1976.  The Parish includes a pre-k to grade 8 school as well as a food pantry that serves over 250 households a month.  Part of the special ministry of the Parish is the Shrine Church of Our Lady of the Americas on Central Avenue with a special outreach to the Spanish community.

Father Bradley was instrumental in expanding the concept of the St. Patrick’s Soup Kitchen to a true community center. In 2012 that vision became a reality with the opening of the Sister Maureen Joyce Center’s Livingston Avenue site. In conjunction with Catholic Charities and Temple Beth Emeth, Blessed Sacrament Parish operates a Soup Kitchen at that location.  The Sister Maureen Joyce Center initiative also includes a food pantry at our Sheridan Avenue site (in addition to the one at Blessed Sacrament), which serves over 300 households a month.

Over the years, and currently he has served on various Diocesan and Community Boards, always ready to lend his assistance and gentle advice to the work of living out the Gospel values. For years Father Bradley, and Blessed Sacrament Parish, have served as the training grounds for some of the Diocese’s newly ordained priests. Through his example of patience, kindness, good humor, and concern for the poor he has guided many young priests on their paths of ministry. We at Catholic Charities are extremely grateful for all that Father Bradley has done to support the poor and vulnerable and live out the Gospel with joy and generosity.  

The Ladies of Charity

2017 marks the 400th anniversary of the Ladies of Charity international organization, when Vincent de Paul called upon Louise de Marillac to gather a handful of women to organize the small French parish for charity and service to the poor. Since then the Ladies of Charity have grown to serve nearly every corner of the world. Here locally, in October of 1970, His Excellency Bishop Edwin Broderick called upon a group of 22 women to follow in the footsteps of St. Vincent and St. Louise and form the Ladies of Charity in Albany.

Through personal service to the poor and marginalized, the Albany Ladies began their mission. Their early ministries included work with St. Catherine’s Child Care Center, St. Casmir’s School, the Christmas Store at St. John’s, the Branson Family Development Center, and many others. The Albany Ladies are continuing that history of service to families with young children at Mary’s Corner, to the homeless at Sister Maureen Joyce Center’s Giving Room, Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, and the Coats for the Community drive. In addition, most of our members serve in their parishes, on community boards, hospitals and for many of the programs of Catholic Charities.

In 1974, Sister Serena Branson became an influential moderator of the Albany Ladies of Charity. She served with the Ladies tirelessly until her passing in 2002. Sister Serena guided the Ladies to expand their ministries and their involvement with Catholic Charities. She brought attention to the necessity of monitoring legislation on both the state and national levels. To this day, the Ladies follow notable current events and take action with legislators.

The Ladies of Charity have been an outstanding community partner for Catholic Charities in the past 47 years. Their commitment, enthusiasm, generosity, and love for the poor have benefitted our clients in more ways than we can count. Their patron Saint Vincent de Paul would be proud of all they have accomplished. For the Ladies of Charity of Albany and world-wide, the work that began in a small French village more than 400 years ago goes on limitlessly into the future.