Helen Lewis, internationally-recognized community activist, and Monica Appleby, director of the New Enterprises Fund, will speak on their experiences among religious women serving the rural communities of southwest Virginia on Monday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in Litton-Reeves auditorium (room 1870) on the Virginia Tech campus.

They will relate the little-known but highly significant story of how a group of Roman Catholic religious women moved from missionaries to partners in Appalachian communities and the resulting transformation experienced both in individuals and organizations, as well as church and society.

Dr. Lewis is one of the founding members of the Appalachian Studies Association; past president of this association; a founder of the Clinch River Educational Center and the University without Walls; and a major figure in social justice movements within the Appalachian region. She currently consults with Just Connections, an organization of regional colleges, universities and communities dedicated to developing academic and community partnerships.

Appleby was on mission in Big Stone Gap from 1959 to 1970 as a representative of the Glenmary Order and FOCIS (Federation of Communities in Service). She currently directs the New Enterprises Fund of Blacksburg. Lewis and Appleby, along with Rosemary Radford Ruether, are authors of the newly-released book Mountain Sisters: From Convent to Community in Appalachia (University Press of Kentucky, 2003).

This event is sponsored by the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series and by the Appalachian Studies Program at Virginia Tech. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Further information is available by contacting Anita Puckett in the department of Appalachian studies at 231-9526 or apuckett@vt.edu.