The Life

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The Life is a monthly feature about the unique, challenging and very specific lives of women religious around the world. The format is simple: GSR poses a question and publishes responses from several sisters who are part of a panel of 20. Read more about the project.

Think locally, act locally: We are all neighbors

The Life: Being neighbor is about relationship, trust, being known and accepted, being there to share joys and sorrows. Sisters are out in the world, living among the people they serve, sharing their charism and sense of community and prayer with anyone they encounter. This month, wrapping up the 2018-2019 panelists' participation, GSR asked them: Are there meaningful interactions with others for you, personally, or for your community in your neighborhood? If yours is a changing neighborhood, how are you responding to the changes?

Legal structures like civil law can strengthen sisters' ministry

The LifeOur sister panelists shared stories of how they benefit from legal structures afforded by their own constitutions as well as civil and canonical law. Our question to them: Is canon law oppressive of women religious, or is it more of a legal protection? Do you think religious congregations could use civil law more to enhance their ministry?

The Life: In prayer, sisters find the unconditional love of God

The panelists shared a variety of approaches that help bring them into union with God: eucharistic adoration, poetry, Scripture, yoga, dancing, drawing, and centering prayer. But all approaches ultimately involve a personal encounter of love, a contemplative experience with the Divine. They described unique individual encounters with God as they responded to this question: "What is your favorite type of prayer? Why?"

For different times and different cultures, sisters adapt the mission

The Life - Changes and challenges called the founders of congregations to discover and present-day women religious to rediscover their charism. GSR heard about it from our sister panelists this month as they responded to this question: How have you or your congregation taken your mission or charism and adapted it to the culture of your surroundings or your country's history?

Violence is everywhere: This is how Catholic sisters respond

Through education, forgiveness, self-knowledge, power of witness and service, sisters and their congregation are making a difference in the face of racism, religious zealotry, gun violence, tribalism and other forms of violence. This month, Global Sisters Report's Life panelists wrote to talk about how their communities have been impacted by guns, crime, war or other forms of violence — and how they responded.

Our lives are mission: Sisters reflect on Pope Francis' call to holiness

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.

Sisters know what youth need to stay 'in' the church

The Life - Has the church left young people? Do youth have enough adult leadership? Are we listening to their wisdom? Is the church truly home? Do they feel responsible and valued? Accompaniment … listening … building prayer and community …"walking the talk" … making them feel valued … changing our own hearts — these are some of the ideas sisters shared when asked about young people leaving the church.

When it comes to politics, sisters are dedicated to confronting pervasive structures of oppression

The Life - When we asked them whether sisters should be politically active, the panelists for October all answered with a resounding "yes." As one sister put it, "Attending to the vulnerable is the mission of religious life." And that is, at heart, politics.