Early on in Life Sister Ferre realized that her ambition was not to be wealthy, but to help those in need. She devoted her life to God and to serving those less fortunate than herself. Sister Ferre joined the Sisters of the Blessed Trinity at the age of 21. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to eradicate poverty in the United States. Sister Ferre worked with the Appalachian coal miners in West Virginia, Portuguese immigrants in Massachusetts, and with inner city youth in Brooklyn. Due to social structure her service was often unrecognized, yet, the success of her contributions made them impossible to ignore. She became famous for her involvement in encouraging African American and Puerto Rican gangs to resolve disputes without violence.
Sister Ferre returned to Puerto Rico to confront poverty in her native land. A network of community action centers she developed were placed in impoverished neighborhoods to provide the people of Ponce with tools to guide their own future. The program taught people the importance of their individuality, while stressing the need to play their part in the world.
The contributions that Sister Ferre has made throughout the years have made her a humanitarian icon. Later, in 1989, she received the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism and President Clinton awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor.