Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans is a religion columnist for Lancaster Newspapers, Inc., as well as a freelance writer. She is a longtime book reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a contributor to Religion News Service and the National Catholic Reporter. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post and The Washington Post, as well as other nationally-known publications, including Publisher's Weekly. Evans resides in bucolic Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, with her family.
An everyday reality of religious life that gets little formal attention: lasting friendships between sisters and women who have left the religious communities that they once called home.
For centuries, nuns both in Europe and as immigrants to the U.S. have been ahead of their time, bringing fervor and entrepreneurial skill to their mission of tending the sick and preventing illnesses from spreading.
Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane's televised statement to Pope John Paul II, a politely worded but direct challenge about including women in all church ministries, drew intense media coverage, spurred scrutiny of U.S. sisters and marked a new era of progress.
Amid times of sadness as colleagues died and ministries were reconfigured or surrendered, women religious have not been overwhelmed. Instead they have brought skill, resilience and profound faith to the task of planning for their individual and corporate futures.