Q & A with Sr. Betty Nakyanzi

When Society of the Sacred Heart Sr. Betty Nakyanzi left her native Uganda to get a master’s degree in Intercultural Ministry in the United States, she knew it would be a challenge. But she never imagined it would result in her – even temporarily – being in a wheelchair. But the experience has also given her deeper insight into what so many people go through, and a new appreciation for those who help others.

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"And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting."

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Returning to El Salvador: Two Sisters of Providence look forward to Romero beatification

Archbishop Óscar Romero was shot to death as he said Mass March 24, 1980 after he exhorted Salvadoran soldiers to disobey their superiors if they were ordered to attack innocent civilians. The Salvadoran civil war would eventually claim some 75,000 lives. More than 250,000 people are expected for Romero’s beatification ceremony on Saturday, May 23, in the Plaza of the Savior of the World in El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvador. Among them will be two Sisters of Providence, Sr. Vilma Franco and Sr. Ana Orellana-Gamero, now living in the United States who are honoring family members they lost during the brutal civil war, as well as Romero.

Romero, saint of the Americas

They may have waited 35 long years, but the many thousands who packed Savior of the World Plaza for the beatification of Óscar Romero took joy in the moment – and in the memory of the slain archbishop. Romero, who was martyred in 1980 as he said Mass in a hospital chapel near the start of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, was beatified May 23. More than 250,000 people witnessed the ceremony, and spontaneous chants of “¡Viva Romero!” rang out through the crowd.

For U.S. sisters, ordinary Catholics made a way where there was no way

I'm so thankful for the mid-April resolution of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Alongside December's positive apostolic visitation report, this is a second win-win for U.S. sisters and for Pope Francis, who successfully de-escalated the troubling (not to say scandalous) situation he inherited.

Hospitality houses offer works of mercy to immigrants in limbo

The House for Men and a House for Families at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago’s Hyde Park opened May 1, 2014. Each is now home to about a dozen people either waiting for final permission to stay in the United States or who do have permission and are learning how to live here – getting training or going to school, finding jobs and saving money for somewhere to live. They are a ministry of Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, which was formed in 2007 by two Sisters of Mercy, Sr. JoAnn Persch and Sr. Pat Murphy.

The struggle to ban the bomb

As part of the Loretto Committee for Peace I attended the Peace & Planet people’s mobilization weekend April 24-25 and the first few days of the U.N. Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Since 1978 the Loretto Community, sisters and co-members, has formally opposed the production and use of nuclear weapons – even as deterrence. Our committee is proposing to our Loretto Assembly this summer that we call for the U.S. to unilaterally disarm all nuclear weapons.

Called to widen our tents

Being engaged with people on the margins and trying to view life from their perspective, I am often stunned at their simple faith and their contentment in life with the little they possess. At times I begin to wonder how I am different in this big city. What is it that makes my life a tangible presence, giving meaning to the way of life I was called to and the generosity with which I was supported by my family in my response? Along this journey of life, I have known one thing: Once we are open to life, so many unexpected things happen.