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.

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.

Including everyone: How sisters go to 'ends of the earth' to share Jesus

The Life - Living among people who are poor, living an exemplary life that speaks louder than words, recognizing Christ in others, incarnating God's tenderness, love, mercy and justice for all they meet, realizing that the people they serve are their salvation — these are the ways in which sisters fit into the "great commission" of Jesus in Matthew 28: to make disciples of all nations.

The Life: Ecumenism in experience, sisters share their spiritually enriching encounters

The Life - Anglicans, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Methodists, Muslims, Sufis, Quakers: The panelists for August responded on a very personal level, sharing their life experiences that led them into an appreciation of other religions and ecumenical experiences. The panel responded to the following question: There are many entryways to ecumenical experience. Describe the door that let you, personally, walk into a sacred experience with or in a different religion or denomination.

The Life: It's all about helping women survive and succeed

The Life - This month, the panelists shared some of their congregational ministries with women, describing how they meet the special needs of this vulnerable half of humanity in various places around the world, especially those experiencing war and violence. Two things they agreed on: Education is a powerful shield against poverty, and peace is a key ingredient to a prosperous and happy life. The panel responded to the following question: Women seem to always get the worst of the world's crises. How does your congregation help women deal with the effects of poverty, war, terrorism or violence?

A year in The Life: We have interwoven our lives and dreams

The Life - Inspiring. Enriching. Expanding. Sustaining. Nourishing. Creating solidarity. A profound sisterhood. A shared community of life around the world. That is how the panelists described their experience of writing for The Life this year. This month — the last month of the 2017-18 panel — we invited all the panelists to reflect on the year.

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?