Celebrating sisters during a special week

At Global Sisters Report, we highlight the ministry and mission of Catholic women religious every day. I'm continually inspired by these women, and since joining as editor of GSR in January, I am glad to be part of a team helping to tell their stories.

But this week is particularly special. As part of our coverage of National Catholic Sisters Week, we're focusing on four women who are on their journey to religious life. Please read their stories and share with others who may be considering such a path.

National Catholic Sisters Week is an annual celebration to honor women religious in the United States with a series of events "that instruct, enlighten, and bring greater focus to the lives of these incredible women" and encourage more young women to follow their example. It starts today, International Women's Day, and runs through March 14. NCSW is held during Women's History Month in the U.S. to underscore the important role Catholic women religious have played — and still hold — in the church and communities around the world.

In the spirit of sharing and celebration, we also have a list of some NCSW events in Dan Stockman's overview, and we will cover some events and include links to other coverage. Check out other sisters' stories at Catholic Extension's website and with the hashtags #NCSW and #NunsRock on social media.

Also special this week is a transcript of an immigration roundtable that we will publish Wednesday based on a recent video conference with GSR and seven sisters who are heavily involved in immigration issues. They were part of a larger group of sisters participating in a leadership development program by Faith in Public Life.

We invite you read Global Sisters Report regularly: Daily, we have new stories about sisters and columns written by sisters at the front lines of the church's social justice mission on human trafficking, migration, equality, environmental protection and other issues. Other columns by sisters share insights into spirituality and theology.

As an example of the scope and breadth of sisters' voices, we're pleased this week to publish a remarkable column by American theologian Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio, a regular contributor to Global Sisters Report, who has written 16 books and holds an endowed chair in theology at Villanova University. She writes on the cosmic and spiritual significance of the recent discovery of scientists who were able to amplify the noise and measure the gravitational waves produced by the collision of two black holes. "Scientists were listening to nature, like a stethoscope on the heart," she writes.

Show your appreciation by hitting the "Say Thanks" button at the end of stories and columns. Please send us story ideas and feedback at info@globalsistersreport.org.

For all the joyous reasons to celebrate sisters, I confess my heart is heavy given the brutal killings of four Missionaries of Charity sisters March 4 in Yemen. The women, who were part of the order founded by Blessed Mother Teresa, were among at least 16 victims of gunmen who attacked a convent and nursing home for elderly and disabled in Aden that had been open since 1992. The sisters had courageously stayed and cared for the home's residents even as the country's civil strife worsened, and it became increasingly lawless. They have been identified as Sr. Anselm from India, Sr. Margherite from Rwanda, Sr. Reginette from Rwanda, and Sr. Judith from Kenya.

We join Pope Francis in expressing our grief: "I pray for them and the other people killed in the attack, and for their kin," Pope Francis said Sunday, exclaiming: "These are today's martyrs!

"They are not on the front pages of the newspapers; they are not news — they give their blood for the church," the pope said. "These people are victims of the attack by those who have killed them [but] also of indifference — of this globalization of indifference."

Sadly, they join other Catholic women religious in Burundi, El Salvador, Brazil and elsewhere across the world who have been killed as they lived out the faith. They, their families and members of their congregations are in our prayers, as we trust they are in yours.

[Gail DeGeorge is editor of Global Sisters Report. Her email address is gdegeorge@ncronline.org.]

Learn about the benefits of communal living in our latest Notes from the Field installment. Notes from the Field reports are written by a Catholic Volunteer Network volunteers.
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