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Issue Date:  March 25, 2005

NCR board names new publisher

By NCR Staff

Sr. Rita C. Larivee, a member of the Sisters of St. Anne, was appointed publisher and chief executive officer of the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company March 12 during a special meeting of the company’s board of directors in Chicago.

Larivee is the first woman and the first member of a religious order in the 40-year history of the company to hold the top management job.

“Sr. Rita has demonstrated the intelligence, management skills, personal commitment and strategic vision that NCR needs at this time,” said Patrick J. Waide Jr., chairman of the NCR board, in making the announcement. “Skilled in information systems development in a world of electronic delivery of news and information, she created NCR’s Web site [] as well as the PDF distribution system for the company’s new e-Series newsletters and the newly redesigned and enhanced Celebration monthly.”

The appointment of Larivee, who has served as associate publisher since October 1997, fills the vacancy created when Thomas C. Fox, who served as editor for 17 years and publisher for eight years, stepped down in January.

In assessing her new position, Larivee referred to NCR’s founding instincts “to put the tools of secular journalism at the service of the church.”

“It’s not about my agenda or even NCR’s agenda,” she said, noting the mission statement in the first issue of the paper in which the founders pledged they would be “journalists serving the whole community which is the church.”

“Professional journalism holds all of us accountable,” she said, “and provides information so people can make informed decisions. That’s absolutely the primary purpose of the paper.”

In a broader sense, Larivee said she also sees the paper and the other publications produced by the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company -- the newsletters Parish Life, The Catechist’s Connection, and The Reflecting Community, as well as the comprehensive worship resource, Celebration, a monthly magazine -- “as means for facilitating a broad conversation in the church.”

“One way I think of my job is as a broker who takes a community of thinkers, visionaries, creative people and writers and matches them with another community of seekers. My greatest responsibility is to protect the sacred space where information can be gathered and shared and the conversation can go on.”

One of the strengths Larivee has brought to NCR is her familiarity with electronic delivery systems, which will be used to a far greater extent in the future to match up those two communities. Already, the newsletters and Celebration are being offered to parishes and individuals in striking new electronic formats that allow a variety of selections and wider distribution of resources than ever before.

Fox said, “I couldn’t be more pleased that the NCR board of directors has chosen Sr. Rita Larivee to succeed me as publisher at the National Catholic Reporter. Shortly after becoming publisher in 1997, I invited Sr. Rita to join the company, and soon after that, invited her to be my associate publisher. We have collaborated closely over the years.

“While her background had been in the field of higher education,” said Fox, “I found she quickly grasped the subtleties of publishing. Further, her rich spirituality, her obvious commitment to social justice and her vision of the emerging global church, her understanding of the changing nature of publishing today, all make her the ideal NCR publisher for the times.”

Before coming to the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company in 1997 as associate publisher and chief operations officer, Larivee was president of Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass., where she also served as a trustee and faculty member in the mathematics, computer science and religious studies departments from 1982 to 1993. In the late 1970s and early 1980s she taught high school on a Navaho reservation in Thoreau, N.M.

She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne, which is headquartered in Quebec, in 1984, following doctoral studies in mathematics and computer education at Boston University. She is a member of the St. Marie Province located in Marlborough, Mass.

She received a master’s of sacred theology with a double concentration in moral and systematic theology from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., and a doctorate in theology with a concentration in Christian ethics from Loyola University of Chicago.

She undertook additional studies at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, the School for Judaic Studies in Worcester, Mass., Pope John XXIII National Seminary, in Weston, Mass., and the University of New Mexico.

Larivee is a member of the Society of Christian Ethics, the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Catholic Press Association.

National Catholic Reporter, March 25, 2005

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