Catholic nuns raise hope among Kerala's flood victims, farmers

More than 1 million people who took refuge in relief camps as unprecedented floods battered 12 of Kerala's 14 districts during July and August. At least 474 people died in the floods, most of them when the deluge was severest Aug. 15-20, says Fr. George Vettikattil, who heads the relief operations under the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council, in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. The floods affected more than 5.41 million people, he estimates, based on data from various jurisdictions.

Extension of compensation to women of Ireland's 'Magdalene laundries' adds to healing

Women who worked in Ireland's "Magdalene laundries" but were denied compensation under the state's Magdalene Restorative Justice program have won their long-running battle to have their applications reassessed. New legislation will ensure that payments to the women will be fast-tracked by the Irish state in an effort to make amends for the delay they have endured over their disputed compensation for their time working in the laundries. 

On 70th anniversary, UN declaration still linchpin of human rights

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.

On the 'holy boldness' of Thea Bowman: Q & A with Sherrie Tolliver and Gayle Bullock

Cleveland's Thea Bowman Center provides meals and help with education and social services to the predominantly black Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. The center's annual gala raises money for operating costs. This year's gala featured actress Sherrie Tolliver as Bowman in a one-woman show. GSR spoke to Tolliver and board member Gayle Bullock about Bowman's legacy.

Sisters in Philippines 'go orange' to protest violence against women

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.

Congregations seek sustainability through goals to reduce waste, go organic

Three congregations, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Kentucky, Adrian Dominican Sisters and Sisters of the Humility of Mary, are charting toward a sustainable tomorrow by establishing goals that reduce greenhouse emissions and focus on sustainable energy. The sisters are applying principles such as permaculture to all aspects of community life.

Women's interfaith network builds bridges amid Nigeria's violence, Muslim and Christian mistrust

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.

Work by Sisters of the Holy Spirit diminishes HIV stigma in central India

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.

The tenet of simplicity when it's intentional, optional

Notes from the Field - Those of us who grew up in a religious environment can attest to hearing "Live simply so that others can simply live" rather often. One of the goals of being a Good Shepherd Volunteer is to implement this idea, focusing on the tenant of simplicity in our own lives while serving alongside communities that don't necessarily have a choice in living this value.