Jonathan Luxmoore is a freelance writer covering church news from Oxford, England, and Warsaw, Poland, and serving as a staff commentator for Polish Radio. He studied modern history at the University of Oxford and international relations at the London School of Economics and was a co-founder of the Polish chapter of Transparency International, the world's largest anti-corruption nongovernmental organization. His coverage of religious affairs during the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe won five Catholic Press Association awards, and his books include The Vatican and the Red Flag (London/New York, 1999), Rethinking Christendom: Europe's Struggle for Christianity (Leominster, 2005) and a two-volume study of communist-era martyrdom, The God of the Gulag (Gracewing, 2016).
According to an Oct. 11 report from the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, children suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of nuns, priests and staffers at orphanages run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The abuse took place over decades, resulting in frequent deaths.
A convent of Capuchins in Poland took up boxing to raise money for their orphanage. "We'd like to stress no one was knocked out or injured," explained Sr. Cecylia Pytka, local superior of the Capuchin Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Siennica.
Mali's Catholic Church said it hopes to obtain the release of a kidnapped Franciscan nun after her Islamist captors released a video showing her pleading with the pope to help save her life.
When Pope Francis made a special appeal in early September on behalf of refugees from Syria and the Middle East, Catholic communities all over Europe mobilized to do more to help. While bishops urged a generous attitude and Catholic charities stepped up their aid efforts, the continent's women religious also responded with offers of shelter and support. "Each religious congregation has its own charism and tradition and has had to think how it can best help," said Sr. Martina Salmaier, of the Franciscan Sisters of Vierzehnheiligen, Germany.