Above ground, the sun-drenched terraces of Ecce Homo Centre for Biblical Formation provide a breathtaking panorama of Jerusalem's Old City. Below ground, the views are no less impressive: a subterranean world dating back to just after the time of Jesus. The Notre Dame de Sion sisters who run the institute have an intricate and layered history with Judaism. Theirs is a dramatic journey that started with praying for conversion of Jews and eventually transformed into one of the leading voices within the church advocating for acceptance and cooperation with Jewish communities.
A photography shop errand turns fortuitous, as a shop owner offers to make DVDs from old VHS tapes. As a result, I was able to revisit loved ones long in heaven; they had starring roles in a wonderful DVD of family history — my brother's wedding in 1989.
Sr. Rosa Maria Troches, a School Sister of Notre Dame, joined a delegation to the U.S., where she spoke of her deep worries about the political climate in Honduras, human rights abuses there, and the fate of Hondurans whose temporary protected status in the U.S. has been rescinded.
Notes from the Field - This date is ingrained in the fabric of Haitian culture. May 18 is a national holiday, and those who feel they belong to the nation of Haiti, whether or not they live within the borders of the country, will celebrate their national roots in the world's first black republic.
GSR Today - "Water is life!" It was exciting to experience the truth of these words in the families dancing for joy at having water for the first time in the forests of Cameroon.
University of Notre Dame graduates were asked May 21 to take stock of where they are going and what they will do with their talents. "Today you have the opportunity to decide what you will be beyond this point. Will you say yes to God's plan in your life?" Sr. Normal Pimentel, recipient of the university's 2018 Laetare Medal, asked the university's graduating seniors.
Consolata Missionary Sr. Leonella Sgorbati was killed by gunmen in 2006 while serving in Mogadishu. Pope Francis has recognized her as a martyr, clearing the way for her beatification — the step before sainthood — which will take place May 26. "Although her martyrdom came suddenly, Sister Leonella put the lives of others first," a fellow sister told GSR.
Through Operation Restore retreats, Franciscan Sr. Anne Dougherty and her retreat partners provide post-trauma training to firefighters and law enforcement officers. At their Franciscan Center in Tampa, they offer first responders a safe, confidential environment where they can work through critical incidents and process the daily stress of their jobs.
Hanoi - In a communist country that does not recognize religion or church rights, a group of St. Paul de Chartres sisters protested construction of a house on their former land May 8. As a result, workers on the site verbally and physically attacked the nuns, injuring several and leaving one unconscious, according to the sisters' provincial superior.
The fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation may need its own #MeToo moment, according to a leading trafficking opponent. Good Shepherd Sr. Winifred Doherty, who is her religious congregation's representative to the United Nations, observed that sex trafficking, "a debasement of the human person," is "rooted in the structure of society, and more so today."
GSR Today - Kansas City's annual Blisters for Sisters celebrates sisters and raises a little money for the Serra Club. From the 174 sisters in attendance at this year's walk/run and more, I encountered sisters from around the world — a microcosm of religious life today.
The Vatican released an instruction May 15 with new norms for contemplative orders of nuns, encouraging cooperation among their monasteries and outlining procedures for communities left with only a few members. The rules in Cor Orans ("Praying Heart") went into effect immediately.
Sr. Mercy Kuriakose, a member of the Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit, practices homeopathy, an alternative medical practice that uses a small amount of an active ingredient to help treat or cure a disease. She has treated approximately 130,000 patients in her 26 years of service as a homeopathy doctor in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Little Sisters of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus work in the areas of health, agriculture and education, serving those who live in rural Haiti. The sisters help residents deal with drought, fallout from climate extremes like hurricanes, the effects of climate change, illness and the need for clean water. The sisters carry on their mission with a sense of enduring hope.
Postville, Iowa - On May 12, 2008, local police and federal immigration agents arrested 400 people at a meat-processing plant — a raid that disrupted hundreds of lives and changed this Iowa town. Ten years later, more than 300 people gathered at St. Bridget Church to mark the anniversary of the raid and to dedicate themselves to enacting change so similar raids do not happen again.
Kon Tum City, Vietnam - The Filles de la Médaille Miraculeuse congregation, which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, has 153 sisters from eight indigenous groups who work in 32 communities in the provinces of Kon Tum and Gia Lai. Three ya, a Bana ethnic word meaning "sister," shared with Global Sisters Report their stories about their vocations, work and the choice to live with the order.
As the Sisters of Mercy appeal the Nebraska Medicaid program's denial of coverage to 21 sisters, their predicament has national implications. Women's and men's congregations already face a growing shortfall between retirement assets and the amount needed to care for aging religious.
"Sr. Carol brings a breadth of experience to this role and a heart for religious life that kindles our hope," LCWR president Teresa Maya told GSR. Notably, Sr. Carol Zinn was part of the leadership team that shepherded LCWR through three years of Vatican oversight following a doctrinal assessment of the organization that began in 2009.