Widely expected to become a leading voice for the progressive wing of the new Democratic House majority, Ocasio-Cortez won a surprise primary victory over Democrat incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, a result considered to be one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 election.
In June, the day after her primary win, Ocasio-Cortez published an op-ed in America magazine about how her Catholic faith has inspired her to work on criminal justice reform.
Catholic education also played a role in shaping many members of the new Congress. According to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, one out of 10 members of Congress graduated from a Jesuit institution, including 12 Senators and 43 members of the House of Representatives.
Of the 12 Jesuit schools with alumni currently in Congress, Georgetown University has the highest number of graduates with 28. Boston College and Fordham University each have six alumni serving on Capitol Hill.
The 116th Congress is also one of the most religiously diverse in U.S. history, with the first two Muslim women elected to the House, which has already moved to change procedural rules so that Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) can wear her Muslim hijab on the House floor.