Sisters who are also mothers bring new perspectives to religious life

The Catholic church places a high value on parenthood as a vocation. But the entrance of previously married women into religious communities also raises another possibility: more than one sacred calling. The diversities mothers bring to religious life impact community living, prayer life, decision-making, governance structures and ministries, and the stories of how these women were drawn to religious life are as diverse as the women themselves.

"The gift of charism allows us to pass on our mission to the world with passion and grace. We offer it to the world as a gift and trust that as it has gifted us, so it will give to many others."

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Sister turns neglected hospital into a sanctuary for people with Hansen's disease

Sr. Annie Credidio has transformed a neglected state-run hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, into a model of care, love and dignity for patients with Hansen's disease (also called leprosy). Now known as Damien House (Fundación Padre Damian), this sanctuary symbolizes hope for the people with Hansen's disease and is celebrating close to 30 years of transforming the lives of its patients.

St. Katharine Drexel Shrine, Blessed Sacrament motherhouse put up for sale

Blessed Sacrament Sr. Donna Breslin, the president of the congregation, said in a statement that a portion of the proceeds from the sales will support the care of retired sisters. Proceeds from the sale of the properties will be used "to challenge, in new ways, all forms of racism as well as the deeply rooted injustices in the world," she said. The decision, according to the statement, will make it possible for the congregation to carry forward the vision and spirit of St. Katharine Drexel.

Q & A with Sr. Meena Barwa, Kandhamal violence survivor

Sr. Meena Barwa has forgiven the men who attacked her nearly eight years ago. The gang rape was a horrifying experience, but the aftermath was more painful, she says. Barwa, 34, is a member of the Handmaids of Mary, an indigenous congregation of Odisha, an eastern Indian state. She was among the victims of the worst anti-Christian violence in India's modern history, which began Aug. 24, 2008.

Political unrest, threats do not deter Friends of the Poor Sisters in India

The Deen Bandhu Samaj order is known for its courage under fire. It was founded in 1978 by Carmelite Bishop Paulinus Jeerakath of Jagdalpur, who drew together a dozen nuns from various congregations looking for a challenging mission. Today the congregation has 136 members and 19 candidates, all working in villages that lack basic amenities.

Sisters help victims of domestic violence find new dignity

Domestic violence remains widespread in Vietnam's patriarchal society where men give themselves rights to make decisions on all things in their families and treat their spouses as inferiors. There is little government assistance for this problem, so Catholic sisters are usually the only ones offering services and relief to women and their children who are abused.

Mother Dolores Hart shares new Hollywood memoir with fans

Benedictine Mother Dolores Hart, prioress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis monastery in Connecticut, came to New York City to meet with fans and talk about her new memoir. A one-time leading lady who co-starred with Elvis Presley in two films — "King Creole" and "Loving You" — Hart, 77, startled Hollywood five decades ago when she abandoned her burgeoning acting career and took vows as a sister.

Women of Bangladesh have narrow options for work

In a country where rural areas are faltering economically, leaving for the big city is both an allure and a challenge, and women often have the starkest of choices to make, as options for them are often the narrowest. "For the women, it is either working as a domestic worker or in the garment industry," said Salesian Sr. Rita Zema, who works in the Chittagong Diocese as an advocate and ombudsman for indigenous people who have left rural areas and migrated into urban cities like Chittagong or the capital of Dhaka.