Sisterhood is global, high school girls learn at the U.N.

Catholic schools with ties to a variety of religious congregations were well represented during the March 9-20 Commission on the Status of Women conference at the United Nations and a parallel event known as the NGO CSW Forum that marked the accomplishments, and noted the continued challenges, of women in the two decades since the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Between them, the two events hosted topical presentations from a variety of women’s groups, including Catholic sisters whose work is trying to improve the status of women throughout the world.

 

"Each day my heart was broken and then lifted up by the ministry of the sisters."

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Q & A with Sr. Jessy Kurian

Sr. Jessy Kurian is a leading human rights activist whose mission is to provide legal assistance to marginalized women in India. Kurian was the first Catholic nun in India to hold a quasi-judiciary post. A member of the St. Anne’s Providence of Secunderabad, she was a member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions and is the first member of her congregation to study law. The educator-turned-lawyer is now based in New Delhi and practices in the Supreme Court of India. She shared with Global Sisters Report what prompted her to take up law and work for the poor.

'It was the women who stayed'

The  feast of the Annunciation marks the beginning of Jesus' earthly sojourn. On Palm Sunday, we commence a weeklong journey remembering Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. And truly, as Sr. Helen Brancato's painting (above) eloquently reminds us, "it was the women who stayed." Yet Jesus' female disciples are all but invisible to most Christians. Often no more painfully so than during Holy Week, when preachers commonly emphasize that Jesus was "abandoned by everyone." Everyone, that is, but the women, whose presence must have meant a great deal to Jesus, if to no one else.

'They feel besieged' - Immigration update

Women and children fleeing horrific violence in Central America remain caught in the wheels of the American legal system, advocates say, despite a February court order that the government take their cases seriously. More than 1,000 families are still in detention, mainly in Karnes and Dilley, Texas, where advocates say they are traumatized and depressed as their cases languish in the immigration court system. Advocates also continue to work with the thousands of other asylum seekers who are released until their court dates, providing legal and logistical support.
March 30: Faith leaders call for end to 'harsh policy' of detaining immigrant families on NCRonline.org

United in action and prayer: Las Hermanas helped create new way of being 'church'

Starting in the early 1970s, an organization founded by two women religious worked to increase educational and leadership opportunities for Latinas, advocated for more Latino bishops and fought for the right to work with Hispanics. Las Hermanas also played a pivotal role in the foundation of the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio. “They not only mobilized women religious; they partnered with women in general, with Mexican-American Latina women who were on the front lines of social change in the late ‘60s-early ‘70s,” said Arturo Chávez, the college's president. “They were also important voices for change in the educational systems that they were a part of.”

LCWR's new executive director looks to reflective desicion-making

Holy Cross Sr. Joan Marie Steadman finds herself in a unique position: As the executive director of an organization, she must implement decisions, sometimes quickly. But Steadman is the executive director of an organization known for its contemplative, collaborative – and time consuming – process for making decisions. As of Jan. 1, Steadman is the executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

On the front lines of mining protests with the Maya

In the last decade, a worldwide boom in mining has ravaged delicate regions of developing countries like Guatemala. Governments give concessions for the extraction of raw materials to foreign companies, especially from Canada, the United States and China, without consulting local residents, ignoring the threat to wildlife and even to water. Good market prices and new technologies are encouraging extraction in areas once considered marginal. Sr. Dani Brought, a Sister of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, stands with the people here who are part of a growing world-wide movement of resistance against outside exploitation.

Q & A with Sr. Gabriella Bottani

The stats and facts of modern-day human trafficking are shocking. Human trafficking facilitates sexual exploitation, forced labor, domestic servitude; it leads to organ removal and forced marriage. It represents, says Comboni Missionary Sr. Gabriella Bottani, a new form of slavery. Bottani was appointed in January as the new coordinator of Talitha Kum, a Rome-based international network of religious sisters working to end human trafficking.