After eleven years of dedicated service to the Catholic Bishops of Florida, Sheila S. Hopkins is retiring from her position of Director of Social Concerns/Respect Life for the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB). During her term of employment as a representative of the bishops on issues of human life, dignity and social justice before the legislative and executive branches of government and community organizations, Hopkins participated on various boards of directors, fulfilled gubernatorial appointments, and received numerous honors.
“It is a challenge to fully integrate the Gospel in terms of what it means to protect human life and defend human dignity, but with Sheila Hopkins it comes naturally. Her passion for the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized has served as a strong foundation for her advocacy and policy work. In her many hours walking the Capitol hallways, she was persistent and particularly adept at pursuing just solutions to unjust conditions or bills. She represented this office and the bishops well, very well indeed,” said D. Michael McCarron, Executive Director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Hopkins began her service to the bishops in July 2002. In addition to her advocacy responsibilities, she worked closely with staff and directors in Florida’s Catholic dioceses through current and past FCCB committees, including the State Pro-Life Coordinating Committee, Prison Ministry Committee, Farmworker Justice Committee and Social Development Committee. From 2008-2010, Hopkins completed a term on the board of directors of the Community Loan Fund, and she currently sits on the board of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Since 2006, she has served as a gubernatorial appointee to the State of Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council, including a term as chairman. Currently filling the position of vice chairman, she will continue to serve on the council.
Prior to joining the FCCB, Hopkins served as the Associate Director for Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida. For over 35 years, she has been an active member of the Council of Catholic Women, holding positions at the local, state and national levels.
Among numerous honors, Hopkins received in 2010 from the Florida Council of Catholic Women the Our Lady of Good Counsel Award for her personal and professional work. In March 2013, at the annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit held in Tallahassee, she was presented the Benemerenti Medal, one of the highest of papal honors conferred on a ‘well deserving person’ who has exhibited long and exceptional service to the Catholic Church, family and community.
Hopkins is a graduate of Florida State University and is a lifetime member of the FSU Alumni Association as well as a contributor to the Seminole Boosters. Sheila and her husband Maury Hopkins reside in Tallahassee and are parishioners of the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More. The Hopkins have three children, two of whom are married, and three grandchildren.
The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.