Young Vietnamese women train to avoid slave labor, trafficking

Finding work in remote areas of Vietnam is still a problem for young people, especially since they come from large families and lack access to advanced formal education. For the past 12 years, sisters in the Ba Ria Vung Tau Province have been training young ethnic women about the dangers of accepting job offers that disguise human trafficking and other exploitation, instead giving them vocational skills they can use to find legitimate work as trained housemaids, for example. One graduate, Pham Thi Tham, said, "I am proud of my job that helps change my life."

"I believe that if we do not as a people say 'Enough!' now, we will regret it for years."

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Holy Land's religious talk openly on hierarchy, charism at encounter events

Notes from the Field – I participated in four encounters held by the Union of Religious of the Holy Land. We analyzed a Vatican letter on the relationship between the church's hierarchial and charismatic gifts. Women and men religious from throughout the region shared their experience with the hierarchy, and discussed diversity and inclusion.

Inclusion in India: Women religious sign Mass, advocate for hearing impaired

Forty sisters in India from different congregations are working to make the Catholic faith more accessible to people who are deaf or have partial hearing loss, including using sign language during Mass. They serve in the Syro-Malabar Church, one of three Catholic rites in India; its synod approved offering Mass in sign language last year. They also provide marriage counseling, interpretation and legal advocacy to the wider deaf community.

Q & A with Sr. Boitumelo Albertina Matlhabe, directing Botswana's oldest Catholic school

Sr. Boitumelo Albertina Matlhabe has spent most of her life at St. Joseph's College High School in Gaborone, Botswana. The Sister of Calvary graduated from St. Joseph's in 1979, and she's been teaching there since 1985. In 2005, she became the school's managing director. She spoke with GSR about the realities of running a school that is partially funded by the government.

Sister shares stories of brutality in Congo, hopes awareness will bring help

GSR Today - The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a crisis; sisters are doing what they can to help save people, especially orphans, amid the burning of villages, brutalization and rape of women, militias' conscription of children, and the targeting of Catholic convents, schools and clinics.

Sr. Catherine Pinkerton, Network lobbyist and justice-seeker, remembered

Appreciation - Advocate for the marginalized, well-known health care lobbyist on Capitol Hill, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious during heightened scrutiny of religious life, a "center of power," Sr. Catherine Pinkerton modeled how to stand on the line of "what is and what is yet to be" in justice and care of people.

Syrian refugee family lives, thrives on School Sisters' Connecticut campus

The School Sisters of Notre Dame, following the Gospel call to welcome the stranger, have welcomed Manal Mohammad Alazzam and her five children, letting the refugee family stay in a vacant house on their campus in Wilton, Connecticut. The sisters are partnering with the Wilton Interfaith Action Committee to support the family, with over 100 volunteers pitching in.

We own nice

See for Yourself - Can you imagine having two different work crews for the same job, one "nice" and one "not so great?" During a lunch break at a recent conference, I had the chance to chat with one of the event planners. Because the lunch items were just delicious and so nicely presented, I wanted to thank the planners.

Heart of forgiveness: Ugandan women once child soldiers now lead peace

As Pope Francis reminds the world to pray for peace on Jan. 1, Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe hopes the message of the women of northern Uganda will reach forgotten corners of the world where conflicts are just beginning to fade and wounds are still fresh. Nyirumbe is overseeing the creation of the Transformative Peace Education curriculum, part of a partnership with the University of Oklahoma that gives survivors, not academics, responsibility for designing the program.

Tourists, pilgrims find sisters' welcome at Montmartre's Sacré-Coeur

Paris - The Bénédictines du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre are eager to engage in conversation and welcome anyone who comes to the sanctuary of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. To make this welcome easier, a sister often sits on a bench, folding bulletins. If a pilgrim does not speak French, the sisters use English and Spanish. "When visitors see me doing something, they find it easier to come and sit by me, perhaps start a conversation," Sister Anne-Christine said. The church is the site of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, unbroken since 1885.