Springfield Dominican Srs. Joanne Delehanty and Mary Pokorny sit in a church office, talking about the neighborhood they have lived in for nearly 30 years. Their smiles, the room in the old brick structure and the lush trees outside suggest an oasis of peace in a busy city.
But Englewood, 8 miles south of downtown Chicago, has seen anything but peace for more than 50 years.
"There's an entropy that happens, a disorganization that just became the norm in this neighborhood, and that's a really hard thing to work with," Delehanty said.
Englewood, which covers just 3 square miles, was home to 818 violent crimes (including homicides, robberies and assaults) in the first six months of this year, according police statistics compiled by the Chicago Tribune. When Cardinal Blase Cupich led a combined peace march and Stations of the Cross on Good Friday this year, he led it through Englewood.
By then, Chicago as a whole was already getting national attention for its number of shootings. A least 755 people had been shot by the time of Cupich's march in April, the Chicago Tribune reported. In 2016, more than 4,300 people were shot in Chicago and more than 760 were killed, the newspaper said, making it the most violent year in two decades.