It's been nearly 30 years since Sr. Thea Bowman famously declared to a gathering of the U.S. Catholic bishops that her "black self," with all the black songs, dances and traditions she'd imbibed while growing up in Canton, Mississippi, was a gift to the church. In this two-part series, Global Sisters Report is looking at the way black spirituality has shaped religious life for black women, starting with a background on its history.
GSR Today - The Burlingame Sisters of Mercy have a long history of openness to people seeking refuge in the United States. In 2018, they are hosting gatherings, prayer services and actions as part of a Year of Solidarity and Outreach to connect with and support people who are victims of hate and discrimination.
“I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to this glorious saint ... For some years now, I think, I have made some request of him every year on his festival and I have always had it granted. If my petition is in any way ill-directed, he directs it aright for my greater good.”Read more
Trivia night with sisters attracts young people for social time, raising money for aging religious fund
National Catholic Sisters Week - The "Are you Smarter than the Sisters?" trivia night held in Arlington, Virginia, was part of an effort to reach out to more young Catholics while also promoting awareness of Support Our Aging Religious. More than 100 people came to the fundraiser.
"There are only a few of us who are in this wonderful, privileged position of being able to say, 'OK, we are looking at this as historians. We are also looking at this as insiders.' How do I tell the story of religious life as one who has lived it?"
Bowling with Nuns was one of many events around the country marking the fifth annual National Catholic Sisters Week, which ran from March 8 to 14. The week's purpose is to honor women religious, bring awareness of sisters in the United States to laypeople, and perhaps draw young women to join missions.
In a Haitian neighborhood of subsistence-farm families where people struggle to put food on the table each day, Lekòl Jezi-Mari, a primary school under the care of a Religious of Jesus and Mary, educates 576 students — some of them the first in their families to graduate from sixth grade.
When Katie Spanuello Rahman recalls the campus of her alma mater St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, she paints an idyllic picture.
"It was like living in a fairy-tale setting, with a marble staircase to ascend to my room" in Le Fer Residence Hall, said the 1993 alumna. "I always took great pride in the castlelike buildings and the surrounding natural beauty of the trees and the religious shrines on campus."
When Sr. Anne McCrohan said goodbye to her parents and most of her 10 siblings at a train station in County Kerry, she thought it was forever. At age 18, McCrohan had agreed to go to America to teach parochial school students.
Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble keeps a small ceramic skull on her desk and tweets the thoughts it inspires daily. Despite the morbid connotations, most of Noble's tweets about death aren't really about death at all.
Visual essay - In the Volta Region of Ghana in west Africa, the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church Congregation run a health care facility, the Mater Ecclesiae Clinic, and the Mater Ecclesiae School for young students in the area. Their convents include facilities for baking bread, meat pies and Communion wafers — which are distributed for Masses all over the country.
GSR Today - We had so much fun with our 2017-18 panel, we decided to keep The Life going. Help us spread the word, or apply to be a panelist yourself!
Sr. Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and a longtime advocate for immigrants and refugees, will receive the University of Notre Dame's 2018 Laetare Medal at the school's graduation ceremony May 20.
Because of her work trying to counteract the fact that formation programs usually focus on poverty and obedience and have little education on sexuality for the vow of celibate chastity, Sr. Marie-Paul Ross of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception was called "the nun from Canada who is speaking clearly and openly about sexuality" — and was called to Rome.
GSR Today - Measuring progress in a country such as Haiti with its myriad of challenges is risky, fraught with potential disappointment and few milestones. But my visit last fall with Sr. Janet Lehmann, director of the nursing program at University of Notre Dame Haiti's Jacmel campus, and some of the school's students pointed unequivocally to brighter prospects.
Despite sisters' efforts, social acceptance of sex tourism on Kenya's coast means victims are unlikely to seek help. Sex work, including for children, is seen as an acceptable means of earning a living in coastal Kenya. What is seen as a quick way out of poverty makes it hard for women and men religious to rescue young girls from sexual exploitation.
The Commission for Social Development, the U.N. body charged with supporting and monitoring global development progress, met Jan. 29-Feb. 7. Catholic sisters who represent their congregations at the United Nations shared best practices from their own programs and brought stories of what getting out of poverty really means for the people they serve.