Notes from the Field - There are nuances and complexities within orders that at times seemed daunting to understand. But from an outsider's perspective and through my experiences talking with men and women religious of a variety of orders, there are changes I wish to see in parishes and religious communities.
"As children are among the most vulnerable members of our society, ensuring their continued access to comprehensive health care should remain our priority."
The Vatican released an instruction May 15 with new norms for contemplative orders of nuns, encouraging cooperation among their monasteries and outlining procedures for communities left with only a few members. The rules in Cor Orans ("Praying Heart") went into effect immediately.
The story is well-known. Two people are walking back to their town, wondering what had just happened — or perhaps more accurately, what didn't happen. This question of "why" allows Jesus to enter the conversation and provide the reframe. It is the answer to this "why" to which men and women religious are called today. Of course, the answers are unfolding and undefined.
GSR Today - Kansas City's annual Blisters for Sisters celebrates sisters and raises a little money for the Serra Club. From the 174 sisters in attendance at this year's walk/run and more, I encountered sisters from around the world — a microcosm of religious life today.
Little Sisters of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus work in the areas of health, agriculture and education, serving those who live in rural Haiti. The sisters help residents deal with drought, fallout from climate extremes like hurricanes, the effects of climate change, illness and the need for clean water. The sisters carry on their mission with a sense of enduring hope.
Kon Tum City, Vietnam - The Filles de la Médaille Miraculeuse congregation, which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, has 153 sisters from eight indigenous groups who work in 32 communities in the provinces of Kon Tum and Gia Lai. Three ya, a Bana ethnic word meaning "sister," shared with Global Sisters Report their stories about their vocations, work and the choice to live with the order.
As the Sisters of Mercy appeal the Nebraska Medicaid program's denial of coverage to 21 sisters, their predicament has national implications. Women's and men's congregations already face a growing shortfall between retirement assets and the amount needed to care for aging religious.
"Sr. Carol brings a breadth of experience to this role and a heart for religious life that kindles our hope," LCWR president Teresa Maya told GSR. Notably, Sr. Carol Zinn was part of the leadership team that shepherded LCWR through three years of Vatican oversight following a doctrinal assessment of the organization that began in 2009.
Notes from the Field: Veterinary technician Songé Sengela gives interactive formation sessions for families who receive goats as part of the Caritas goat program in Haiti's Gros Morne parish. Participants who follow her advice raise healthier animals that will sell for a better price at the Friday animal market in Gros Morne.