Black spiritual traditions have long history in Catholic Church

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.

“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.”

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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.

Take them bowling: National Catholic Sisters Week event brings students, sisters together

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.

'Hidden jewel' St. Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana now a national landmark

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."

Bakery gives women path to independence and makes Communion hosts for Ghana

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.

Q & A with Sr. Marie-Paul Ross, providing an education on sexuality

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.

Parents sell children as Kenya's sex tourism normalizes exploitation

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.


At UN development meetings, sisters present pathways to eradicate poverty

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.