The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, formally approved Dec. 10, 1948, in part as response to World War II, is a foundation for much of the advocacy work that religious congregations working at the United Nations do. But human rights defenders and advocates, including Catholic sisters who represent their congregations at the United Nations, say the commitment to uphold the rights enshrined in the document is under threat.
Wearing orange on the 25th of every month is a practice followed by a number of sisters and staff of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, Province of the Philippines-Japan. But on Nov. 25, Good Shepherd-run institutions and centers in the Philippines were ablaze in orange to commemorate the start of the 18-day anti-violence against women campaign.
Mary Killeen, a Sister of Mercy from Ireland, didn't choose to come to Kenya. She was in her late 20s, happily teaching in Ireland, when another sister got sick in Nairobi, and Killeen was asked to fill in. That was 42 years ago, and Killeen has been in Kenya ever since.
Sr. Agatha Chikelue started thinking about how to build bridges between Christians and Muslims in 2008, as northern Nigeria disintegrated into violence. Nigeria's population is evenly divided with 48 percent Muslims and 49 percent Christians, who commonly avoid direct contact with each other. Since starting in 2011, the Women of Faith Peacebuilding Network's activities have reached more than 10,000 Muslim and Christian women across the country through seminars, meditations, presentations by religious leaders, and dialogue.
When locals refused to rent to the Holy Spirit Sisters for a support center for people living with HIV/AIDS, the sisters instead set it up on the campus of their high school, St. Raphael's. In the past 15 years, the center, called Vishwas (meaning "trust"), has helped more than 5,000 HIV-positive people lead normal lives, and has effected change in perception about the disease.
On Sept. 4, 1838, 859 members of the Native American Potawatomi Nation began a forced relocation march from their home near Twin Lakes, Indiana, to Kansas. Three years later, on June 29, 1841, four Religious of the Sacred Heart departed from St. Louis to found a school for native girls at the Jesuit mission in Sugar Creek, Kansas, where the Potawatomi had ultimately settled. Every five years since 1983, the Potawatomi have organized a caravan to retrace the Trail of Death.
The International Union of Superiors General has called on women religious who have suffered abuse to come forward and report it to their congregations and church and state authorities.
I feel weary of seeing article after article about sexual abuse by priests. I want to scream, "Enough already!" But maybe not enough yet, because such abuse has also been perpetrated on women and nuns.
Women can take a place at the table, even when we're not invited or encouraged — and if we're shut out, we need to set up our own tables. We can take the microphone and speak, post the information and share it, open the door and walk in.
There was a creative way to demonstrate that representatives of the sisters and the laity should be treated as equals and given representation in the decision-making processes on all committees as well as programs held on the diocesan, deanery and parish levels.
- Page 1
Like what you're reading? Sign up for GSR e-newsletters!