At Johns Hopkins University Children's Center, Mercy Sr. Karen Schneider – a physician and an assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine – is occasionally asked if she is a nun. That may be because of the silver cross she wears over her scrubs or because word has gotten around that "there's a sister at Hopkins." If she tells patients she is a Sister of Mercy, they give her a blank look.
GSR Today - Holiday movies – the last ones run through this weekend – are engineered to conjure warm and fuzzy feelings of love, joy and peace on Earth, goodwill to man and woman. And call me a sucker, but that’s why I love them so. If only, in real life, we could live by those sentiments year-round.
Finding a place to celebrate midnight Mass in the Holy Land took years – and it wasn’t in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is struggling to develop tourism in the city, even during the Pope’s visit earlier this year. Poverty and the political situation with Israel have stagnated the city, and the lack of Christmas development for tourists and locals alike is just one example of this. And although I am Jewish, I’ve always loved midnight Mass on Christmas.
Last spring, Lifetime TV began promoting a reality series called “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns,” in which five 20-somethings would visit three religious congregations and, at the end of six weeks, decide if they wanted to pursue religious life. When the series premiered at the end of November, it was to mixed reviews. Now that it’s over, the reviews are still mixed, but in the four weeks that it aired, some key themes emerged. First, as the cameras showed Christie, Claire, Eseni, Francesca and Stacey living and serving alongside the Carmelites for the Aged and Infirm in Germantown, N.Y., and the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence in Chicago and the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker in Walton, Ky., it became clear that the sisters were the real stars of the show.
When Mother Mary Clare Millea, the apostolic visitator to U.S. women religious, took the microphone at the press conference presenting the visitation’s final report, her address proved just how emotional the three-year visitation process had been. Holding back tears, she thanked the report’s authors – Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz and Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo – for hearing sisters’ voices and concerns.
Dr. Sr. Mary Virginia Annel works to prevent the proliferation of HIV/AIDS in a tiny Central American country that is still rebounding from a 12-year civil war that took 75,000 lives. Beginning as an Archdiocesan team, now a non-profit foundation, Annel’s group grew to number 20 social workers, communicators, pastoral accompaniers of the afflicted and 250 volunteers. Soon CONTRASIDA was reaching 40,000 people a year with classes, literature and workshops for teachers and others who might “multiply” correct information.
The Vatican has an archived copy of the press conference from Dec. 16 at the Vatican where the apostolic visitation report was released and discussed, and Rome Reports has three short video interviews of key players: Mother M. Clare Millea, Sr. Sharon Holland and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan. Filmmaker Melissa Regan, who is making a Nuns on the Bus movie, talked to Sr. Simone Campbell about the report, too.
GSR Today - There have been numerous reports about the issues of detaining families who fled violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to seek asylum in the United States, from how they’re often deported before they get the hearing American law says they are entitled to, to how they’re being held in what critics say is essentially a prison. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit hoping to stop the process.
Three Stats and a Map - Christmas means many things to many people. Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day, while for others, the holiday season is about Santa Claus, presents and caroling. But whatever Christmas means to you, chances are you aren’t alone. Last year, the Pew Research’s religion and public life project outlined the ways Americans celebrate Christmas.