In the tiny country where a slice through the Earth connects its two greatest oceans, Maryknoll Sr. Melinda Roper and her fellow sisters have staked a claim to protect a bit of Panama's lush biodiversity — and are working to rekindle a spiritual connection to the planetary ties that bind us all.
GSR Today - Come along on a "virtual retreat" as Global Sisters Report offers a look into a 10-day eco-scientific-spiritual program led by Maryknoll sisters in the heart of Panama's tropical forest.
"Most parishes just go on holding Mass and have a few things going on, but what is the real mission of the parish?" asks Dominican Sr. Donna Ciangio. "How is the parish a school of discipleship?"
World Refugee Day - Tension remains amid relative calm in Wau, and the thousands who fled violence and found refuge at the city's St. Mary Cathedral still fear to return to their looted homes.
From her mission deep in Panama's rainforest, Sr. Melinda Roper embraces a human rights focus much broader than the one that thrust her into the international spotlight nearly four decades ago. Roper was at the helm of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic on Dec. 2, 1980, when four U.S. churchwomen — two of them Maryknoll sisters — were murdered in El Salvador.
In guidance posted June 15, the Department of Homeland Security said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will continue, ensuring that so-called "Dreamers" are safe from deportation for the duration of their work permits.
Through nearly 20 years of teamwork, congregations in St. Louis, Missouri, have come together have meet local education needs. They have developed a program that provides English tutoring to children from families of refugees and immigrants, and they founded a Catholic all-girls middle school.
Over her 36 years of prison ministry, the St. Joseph sister's work has chipped away at U.S. support for the death penalty, fellow activists say: "They don't get argued into thinking differently, they get storied into thinking differently." Sr. Helen Prejean said she never set out to be an activist, especially one advocating on behalf of death row inmates. She spent her early years as a sister working in the suburbs as a middle school teacher, director of religious education at a New Orleans parish and a director of her order's novices.
GSR Today: On my visits over the years to Myanmar, I have seen the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions grow past political challenges and become more involved in development projects for women: Farming, training of young women in computer skills, tailoring and other income generation skills.
GSR Today - The Dilley Pro Bono Project files a lawsuit challenging a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy that restricts legal services. Meanwhile, Guatemalan mine opponents win a legal victory in Canada.
School Sister of Notre Dame Rose Rita Huelsmann recently retired after 13 years as the coordinator of volunteers at the sister-run Criminal Justice Ministry, which provides services to currently and formerly incarcerated people in St. Louis.
In Nong Khai, Thailand, Good Shepherd sisters have created a safe space for anyone who needs healing, education or fair employment. Sisters focus on every individual's success, without judgment.
New Delhi - For 12 years, Franciscan Clarist Sr. Celine Arikkat has helped cycle-rickshaw taxi drivers ply their trade with dignity and civility, including freeing them from the vehicle rent that ate up their earnings.
Since 2015, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious' Intercultural Outreach Committee has presented Esposas de Cristo (Wives of Christ), a summer program to bring together Spanish-speaking sisters from around the U.S. for study, renewal, spiritual formation and networking. The next gathering is July 17-28 in upstate New York.