Life for children whose parents migrate to Vietnam's capital to make a living re-selling leftover produce, fish and plastic bags usually does not include formal education, but since 2010, the Dominican Missionary Sisters of Phu Cuong have been helping some attain literacy and move on to public schools. Their Binh An (Peace) Development Center in Ho Chi Minh City currently provides free education for 316 children, ages 5 to 15.
Holy Cross Sisters in Uganda have launched community discussions designed to increase awareness about the prevalence of family violence. During discussions, women and other stakeholders are given the opportunity to share their experience and identify the causes and possibly solutions to the violence they face.
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"She helped me discern what this call was all about. She's been there from the beginning." On the surface, these sisters' life stories seem radically different, but what they have in common was a connection with another woman, one that altered the trajectory of their lives — someone who sparked a desire for religious life they might not have known existed.
GSR Today - Fighting human trafficking ranks as the most focused global collective and collaborative effort by Catholic women religious. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, designated in the U.S. since 2010, with Jan. 11 marking Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
GSR Today - The holidays inspire memories of a family friend: the late Sr. Mary Lucy Downey, a hero to the cause of affordable housing in Denver, and the first sister I ever knew. Downey was a trailblazer whose legacy lives on in Colorado, Missouri and even the United Nations.
The Life - Sister panelists talk about how they and their communities are responding to Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate. In the document, they recognize a call to personal holiness, finding God in practical ways in everyday life, and its emphasis on the Beatitudes as an "identity card" for Christians.
The Daughter of Charity sister retires in June as head of Catholic Health Association — a tenure that saw her become the face of Catholic lobbying efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act. That often-bruising fight put to use her ability, in the words of a colleague, "to stay anchored to her principles grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, while ably working for what's possible and workable."
Sr. Wendy Beckett, the contemplative who became an unlikely television celebrity after hosting art programs on BBC and American public television throughout the 1990s, died Dec. 26 at a care facility near the Carmelite monastery where she lived in a trailer hermitage. She was 88.
"The reason behind my painting is really my passion since childhood," says Sr. Venus Pegar, a Filipina sister of St. Francis of Xavier. Now, with permission from her mother superior, she paints regularly to raise funds for her order's ministries.
Sr. Joan Mumaw is president and chief administrative officer for Friends in Solidarity, a partner to Solidarity with South Sudan, an African ministry that trains nurses, midwives and future leaders in South Sudan.
Notes from the Field: Living with the Salesian sisters at Casa Madre Mazzarello taught me the importance of "wasting" time in prayer, especially in the modern age. Being limited is a good thing.
My past spiritual experiences lacked an intentional connection with God. I was not ready for that relationship then. But now, as a Good Shepherd Volunteer, building a relationship with God feels more and more appealing.
GSR Today - While we love reflecting back on a year of hard work and sharing our favorite stories, we also find it useful to turn to your example to see what stories resonated in 2018. (It's no surprise that coverage of the clergy sex abuse crisis dominates the list.)
The proclivity to overlook black women and girls doesn't begin with their deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Data suggests institutions like hospitals and schools have routinely disregarded the needs of black women and black girls for years. And that's exactly where some sisters in the Baltimore area have seen an opportunity for change.
GSR Today - This year was gut-wrenching, but we found inspiration in women religious who confronted suffering by welcoming the stranger, helping the poor and building peace.
Accra, Ghana - Two recent convenings, in Ghana and in Uganda, provided an opportunity for women religious to meet with each other and members of nongovernmental organizations and educational institutions about forming new partnerships.
On Dec. 21, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas celebrate the 175th anniversary of their first arrival to the United States. And though the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy died two years before the congregation arrived stateside, the sisters constantly invoke Mother Catherine McAuley's legacy in everything they do.
Medical Mission Sr. Lilly Chunkapura is founder-director of Treatment Rehabilitation and Education of Drug Abuse, an addiction and counseling center in southern India. The center has helped thousands of addicts rehabilitate and improve their lives. Chunkapura spoke with GSR about the center and its work.
Notes from the Field - When a sister dies at Casa Madre Mazzarello, the community comes together not just to mourn but to celebrate the sister's life, the nearness of Jesus and Mary in the moment of death, and the reunion of the soul with the heavenly Father.