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.

Spirit's light illuminates congregations' distinct 'facets'

The Life - This month illustrates the infinite variations in the organizational relationships one congregation can have with others. Congregations' uniqueness makes a difference in their history, ministries and future plans — whether helpful or complicated. We asked panelists: How unique is your congregation? Is it the only one like it in the world, or do you share a charism or a founder with another group of sisters? 

Education is key to spiritual formation of sisters

The Life - This month, the panelists gave us an insight into the education of sisters around the world. One thing they all agree upon: Education is the highest priority in terms of preparing their sisters for ministry. However, sisters question the adequacy of education for women religious in different parts of the world. We asked: How successful is your congregation at attending to the educational needs of its sisters? In what way is your congregation participating in the ongoing education of sisters from around the globe?

Learning everything again -- and other challenges of religious life

The Life - Too far away. Too close. Culture or charism? Church changes. Lifestyle changes. Holding preferences lightly. The panelists relate what they found most difficult about religious life, both when they entered community and — for some — even now. Influences of culture, of charism, of age all play a role. They addressed this question: What was your most challenging adjustment to religious life?

The Life: Ministries change, charisms remain vibrant

The Life - New roles. Social analysis. Diversification. Growth and decline. Collaboration. Freedom. Widened horizons. The Life panelists discuss the creative ways the ministries of their congregations are evolving and how they are moving to ministries of presence, empowerment and systemic change — yet in all their ministries, they see the persistence of their charism.

Collaborating north-to-south, sisters exemplify changing world demographics

The Life - Openness to cultures. Psychological shifts. Economic differences. Succession planning. Forgiveness. This month our sister-panelists from all over the world speculate on the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing demographics of religious life, as the shift from global North to South becomes more evident. They addressed this question: What challenges and opportunities do you see as leadership shifts from the global North to the global South?