Gold mine's closing leaves uncertain legacy in Guatemala Mayan community

The Marlin mine began operations in 2005 in the regions of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipacapa, Guatemala, bringing jobs and prosperity to some residents, but changing the landscape and the social fabric of the indigenous community. It is slated to cease operations, renewing issues about true costs of its operation.

"The structured injustice of war, violence, sexual exploitation of women and girls, and the rape of Mother Earth at times seems overwhelming. Yet we stand facing these injustices not in despair but in hope."

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In the silence of the heart

Notes from the Field - Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me knows that I like noise. The weekend of May 14, all of the East Coast Good Shepherd volunteers spent their time at a retreat center in New Jersey. This particular retreat happened to be a Silent Spirituality Retreat, which could also be referred to as my worst nightmare.

Q & A with Sr. Abeba Hadgu, empowering women in Ethiopia

Daughters of Charity Sr. Abeba Hadgu, 50, looks on with pride at the food-preparation class. Since 1992, more than 2,000 young women have graduated from the congregation's six-month women's empowerment program in food preparation or sewing. Even the current teacher, Bedla Solomon, is a successful product of the empowerment course. She graduated from the food-preparation program six years ago, gained experience working for the Filippini Sisters in the nearby town of Adigrat, and returned to teach this class.

Q & A with Sr. Melinda Pellerin, on having two callings

Last summer, Sr. Melinda Pellerin stood before friends and parishioners at Holy Name Parish in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she serves as a pastoral minister, and professed her first vows as a Sister of St. Joseph of Springfield. Pellerin — then 57, a widow and retired — made history as the congregation's first African-American sister.

Illegal gold mining in Ghana undercuts church's plans for land, threatens environment and lives

A church plan to build a nursing college in a rural village is upended when they discover the site has been turned into an illegal gold mine. The price of gold, lax regulation and an impoverished population of subsistence farmers practically guarantee against change in the West African nation.

Listening helps sisters build community spirit in Texas border town after storm

Small trailers peppered the barren colonia of Penitas, Texas, when Immaculate Heart of Mary Srs. Fatima Santiago, Emily Jocson and Carolyn Kosub arrived in 2003. A recent tornado had ravaged the border town in the Rio Grande Valley, and its residents were long underserved: the town had no shops, schools or Catholic church. Neighbors were strangers, often only making contact at the single stop sign when they dropped off their kids for the school bus.

US sisters turn their lands over to trusts, preserving them from development

The Victory Noll sisters are selling their land to a trust at a price based on fair market value — a move that many other communities of women religious in the United States have made to preserve land from development. In some cases, the preservation provides money that can pay for other expenses; in others, communities forgo a larger windfall by preserving land that developers would pay handsomely for.