Renée K. Gadoua is a Syracuse, N.Y.-area freelance writer and editor. She contributes to Religion News Service as well as numerous other publications. Previously, she was religion reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard. Her religion writing has won awards from Religion Newswriters Association and the New York State Associated Press Association. Learn more at www.linkedin.com/in/reneekgadoua and follow her on Twitter @ReneeKGadoua.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame, following the Gospel call to welcome the stranger, have welcomed Manal Mohammad Alazzam and her five children, letting the refugee family stay in a vacant house on their campus in Wilton, Connecticut. The sisters are partnering with the Wilton Interfaith Action Committee to support the family, with over 100 volunteers pitching in.
Greyhound had canceled bus service in San Antonio, and about 50 immigrants were stranded at the downtown station. Sr. Denise LaRock helped contact city officials and nonprofit organizations, and a local church agreed to shelter the immigrants during the storm.
Educating in many forms: School Sisters of Notre Dame committed to long-term Alzheimer's disease study
Sr. Gabriel Mary Spaeth, SSND, and another School Sister administered hundreds of assessments over 16 years, carefully recording and transcribing the results of tests on 678 sisters in their U.S. community, to study the causes and effects of Alzheimer's disease. The data they carefully collected became the basis of the Nun Study, which led to groundbreaking research on aging and Alzheimer’s. Epidemiologist David Snowdon’s 2001 book, Aging with Grace, was based on that research and drew immense attention to Alzheimer’s disease. The painstaking records Spaeth collected remain available for researchers to compare with new findings.
In November, Sr. Maureen Fiedler hand-delivered a letter to Pope Francis’ ambassador in Washington, D.C., urging the pontiff to renounce a 15th-century church document that justifies the colonization and oppression of indigenous peoples. She doesn’t know if the letter made it to the Vatican. But she’s hopeful a recent resolution by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will spur the pope to repudiate the centuries-old concept known as the “Doctrine of Discovery.”