First black sisters pioneered black spirituality in Catholic Church

The first black U.S. sisters ensured that future generations would know what it meant to be authentically black and Catholic.The 400 black women religious in the United States today can be found in both the historically black congregations and in the predominantly white congregations from which they were previously banned. However, they make up less than 1 percent of the nation's vowed women religious, which perhaps explains, in part, why people are often surprised to learn they exist.

Knowing the commands
of the Christ,

Let this be our way of life:
Let us feed the hungry,
Let us give the thirsty drink.

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Q & A with Sr. Joanna Chan, playwright who finds inspiration in the Gospels

Maryknoll Sr. Joanna Chan's renowned work in the theater began with writing plays for youth at New York's Transfiguration Church. "But theater is not only about the writing. Mounting a production involves bringing very diverse types of art and artists together. I have stayed in the profession for a number of reasons, and one of them is that idea of working together."

Black spiritual traditions have long history in Catholic Church

It's been nearly 30 years since Sr. Thea Bowman famously declared to a gathering of the U.S. Catholic bishops that her "black self," with all the black songs, dances and traditions she'd imbibed while growing up in Canton, Mississippi, was a gift to the church. In this two-part series, Global Sisters Report is looking at the way black spirituality has shaped religious life for black women, starting with a background on its history.

Bakery gives women path to independence and makes Communion hosts for Ghana

Visual essay - In the Volta Region of Ghana in west Africa, the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church Congregation run a health care facility, the Mater Ecclesiae Clinic, and the Mater Ecclesiae School for young students in the area. Their convents include facilities for baking bread, meat pies and Communion wafers — which are distributed for Masses all over the country.

Q & A with Sr. Marie-Paul Ross, providing an education on sexuality

Because of her work trying to counteract the fact that formation programs usually focus on poverty and obedience and have little education on sexuality for the vow of celibate chastity, Sr. Marie-Paul Ross of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception was called "the nun from Canada who is speaking clearly and openly about sexuality" — and was called to Rome.

We are called to step outside our comfort zones

Notes from the Field - I joined Dominican Volunteers USA not because it was a Catholic volunteer program, but because I identified with their mission and admired the great work they did. When my service year started and I came out to New York, the sisters I met here were of similar minds to the people I knew at the Dominican University Ministry Center, in that they were just as progressive about the issues I cared about and were open to learning.

Take them bowling: National Catholic Sisters Week event brings students, sisters together

Bowling with Nuns was one of many events around the country marking the fifth annual National Catholic Sisters Week, which ran from March 8 to 14. The week's purpose is to honor women religious, bring awareness of sisters in the United States to laypeople, and perhaps draw young women to join missions.

Trivia night with sisters attracts young people for social time, raising money for aging religious fund

National Catholic Sisters Week - The "Are you Smarter than the Sisters?" trivia night held in Arlington, Virginia, was part of an effort to reach out to more young Catholics while also promoting awareness of Support Our Aging Religious. More than 100 people came to the fundraiser.

Parents sell children as Kenya's sex tourism normalizes exploitation

Despite sisters' efforts, social acceptance of sex tourism on Kenya's coast means victims are unlikely to seek help. Sex work, including for children, is seen as an acceptable means of earning a living in coastal Kenya. What is seen as a quick way out of poverty makes it hard for women and men religious to rescue young girls from sexual exploitation.


'Hidden jewel' St. Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana now a national landmark

When Katie Spanuello Rahman recalls the campus of her alma mater St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, she paints an idyllic picture.

"It was like living in a fairy-tale setting, with a marble staircase to ascend to my room" in Le Fer Residence Hall, said the 1993 alumna. "I always took great pride in the castlelike buildings and the surrounding natural beauty of the trees and the religious shrines on campus."