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.
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.
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.
GSR Today: In the Philippines, the Religious of Mary Immaculate run a hostel and training center for house helpers — young girls whose parents send them from small islands to cities to earn money for their families.
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.
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.
A look into what happened in the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania, in 1960: a story of racially motivated rejection, the pain that followed, and an eventual present-day apology to Patricia Grey.
Notes from the Field - We have been organizing learning stations for tutoring children at the Immigrant Outreach Program. Through the stations as well as field trips, we hope to teach the children social and emotional skills to succeed on their own or in a group, so that they can navigate the world independently.
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.
Following last August's presentation to LCWR about anti-black racism among Catholic sisters in the U.S., historian Shannen Dee Williams has been invited to see the archives of and speak directly to a number of congregations. For her, interest in her work epitomizes the complex relationship white women religious have with anti-black racism, as they are now trying to learn more and do the right thing.
Read next: A sisters' community apologizes to one woman whose vocation was denied
Hundreds of Venezuelan children have died amid food and medicine shortages brought about by the country's economic crisis. Two sisters and Catholic organizations like Caritas Internationalis are saving the lives of the children they can reach, but a majority remain in desperate need of help.
For nine years, 83-year-old Frances Joseph Piazza, a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities and a former pediatric nurse, has spent her days as a baby cuddler at the Sisters of Charity Hospital neonatal intensive care unit in Buffalo, New York.
Sr. Sonia Zuleta Ruiz prayed that God would let her get assigned to work at the Hogar Acogida de Belen, a girls orphanage in Medellín, Colombia. But after almost a year working at the orphanage, she knows this is where she belongs.
Sr. Doyet Luarca never thought she would be among the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit who were doing mission for almost four decades in her Mangyan tribal community. But in a historic event in 2005, she professed her first vows in a ceremony mixed with Mangyan rituals. Since that time, she has worked extensively with indigenous people in the Philippines.
GSR Today - I'd like to start the new year off by looking back at the old one. For the third year in a row, I have compiled a list of 10 noteworthy stories (in no particular order) for you to revisit or to read for the first time. We have some really great ideas up our sleeves for 2018. We can't wait to journey through this new year with you!
GSR Today - Most women's congregations in Europe and America have been around a long time, founded by women who lived hundreds of years ago. However, in my travels in Asia and Africa, I have met numerous congregations whose foundresses are still living, and whose congregations are less than 100 years old.
Sr. Carol Shinnick of the School Sisters of Notre Dame has been appointed to serve as interim director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by its board for a six-month term effective Jan. 1. The three-year term of Sr. Joan Marie Steadman, a Sister of the Holy Cross of Notre Dame, Indiana, ends Dec. 31.