Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans is a frequent contributor to the Global Sisters Report, and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Sojourners, Christian Century, The Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer. She resides in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, with her family.
It has been 20 years since the publication of Aging with Grace, a book about the effects of aging on 678 School Sisters of Notre Dame. The so-called "Nun Study" remains relevant. Meanwhile, congregations offer examples of graceful aging and care.
When it comes to helping immigrants, Catholic sisters are one of the few constants in a tempestuous American landscape often shaped by hostility and division. In the 21st century, they leverage the power of institutions they founded.
When nativist powers like the Ku Klux Klan and the Oregon governor confronted the religious community of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in the 1920s over schools, the ensuing case set the precedent for how children are educated in the U.S. today.
The story of Catholic sisters was that of the rise of American Catholicism writ large: immigrants confronted with suspicion and resentment who ultimately succeeded in not only integrating themselves into American culture but leaving an indelible mark on it.