LCWR president-elect Sr. Marcia Allen talks to Global Sisters Report about growing up in western Kansas, living through the overnight changes wrought by Vatican II for women religious, and her thoughts on the evolution of leadership. With degrees in French, history and administration, Allen also earned a doctorate in applied spiritual ministry. “What I really wanted to do was get an organized perspective of the development of spirituality,” she said, “because, as a matter of fact, the people of the world are yearning for spiritual depth rather than religious traditions.”
Book review - Women's ministerial vocations have differed throughout the centuries, but they have existed in every era and in every locale. Benedictine Sr. Laura Swan, former prioress of St. Placid Priory in the state of Washington, adds to her prodigious body of work with this comprehensive investigation into the lives of thousands of celibate women who lived outside the cloister as Beguines.
One aspect of the mission of Global Sisters Report is providing a place for sisters themselves to speak: about their challenges, success, dreams, hopes and fears. As in Nigeria, most of the sisters I met in Uganda politely declined when I asked them if they’d be interested in writing. Toward the end of my stay, I led another writing workshop to help the sisters put their stories on paper. Here are excerpts from the work of five sisters.
From A Nun's Life podcasts - We respond to a listener who recently became a Christian and is grieving her mother's death, and she wonders if grief is a rejection of faith. Also: A Nun’s Life Ministry has appointed a new program director, Sr. Julie Myers, OSF, who starts Feb. 2
Three Stats and a Map - In case you missed it, earlier this week, a blizzard buried parts of the United States in deep, deep snow. Areas of Connecticut and Massachusetts saw as much as 30 inches, and New York City was preemptively shut down to keep people safe. But of course, as is almost always the case these days, the snow storm brought out the climate change skeptics.
Global Sisters Report traveled to Concordia, Kansas, last month to visit with Sr. Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph based there. Allen is president-elect of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious; she officially will be installed at the LCWR assembly in August.
Rebirth of Catholic hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti - It has been just over five years since the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti destroyed the hospital in Haiti's capital. The Catholic Health Association helped fund the building of a new St. Francis de Sales Hospital, which was dedicated Jan. 15. Daughter of Charity Sr. Carol Keehan, CEO of Catholic Health Association, talks about the partnerships that made this piece of recovery possible.
Leading Filipino Catholics welcome pronouncements Pope Francis made on contraception, family and marriage when he met with thousands of families in Manila Jan. 16. Francis reiterated at the Manila meeting the church's teaching on human life, marriage and family promulgated by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. At the same time, the pope "offered leeway" for particular cases where the ban on artificial contraception may not apply, noted Benedictine Sr. Mary John Mananzan.
In the 36-year war in Guatemala that ended with a peace treaty in 1996, some 200,000 persons died or disappeared, most of them unarmed indigenous Maya, at the hands of the army. In the midst of the mayhem, the Poor Clares answered a call from the bishop of the hard-hit province of Huehuetenango to come out to the hinterland and pray among the suffering. With five other American sisters, Sr. Mary Peter Rowland founded the monastery of Our Lady of Wisdom of the Virgin of Guadalupe, still the base for the contemplative order's pastoral ministry.
GSR Today - Last week, I was bewildered when a male reporter asked Eugenie Bouchard, a tennis pro ranked seventh in the world, to comment on her outfit and to “give us a twirl” after her impressive and decisive victory in the second round of the Australian Open.
GSR Today - This week’s entry is all-Africa, and – as always – we’ve tried to find at least a little good news: Tunisian cooperation between Catholic sisters and the Muslim communities they serve; and South Sudan shelter upgrades for refugees thanks to Catholic Relief Services.