It probably goes without saying that we here at Global Sisters Report have a particular interest in the Year of Consecrated Life. After all, how often does the pope dedicate a special year to promote the very thing your start-up publication is devoted to covering?
In a letter issued Friday – two days before the official start date – Pope Francis said the purpose of the Year of Consecrated life was to honor the past and embrace the future of religious life, encouraging religious communities to reflect on their unique histories with an eye to the histories yet to be written.
“We all know the difficulties which the various forms of consecrated life are currently experiencing,” he wrote. “But it is precisely amid these uncertainties, which we share with so many of our contemporaries, that we are called to practice the virtue of hope, the fruit of our faith in the Lord of history, who continues to tell us: ‘Be not afraid . . . for I am with you.’”
In many ways, the work of honoring the past and embracing the future is the only story we tell at GSR. In the almost eight (eight!) months we’ve been around, GSR has published numerous stories highlighting how Catholic sisters, rooted in their charisms, are forging ahead, often ministering to those that society has been quick to forget or cast aside.
We’ve covered sisters who care for the women fleeing torture and violence in eastern Africa, sisters using social media and a podcast to increase vocations, and sisters protesting dangerous environmental practices.
Just in the last month, I personally have written about a sister serving as a missionary in a small town above the Arctic Circle and about Sr. Sung Hae Kim, the first Korean General Superior of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill – an American community CARA singled out for its notable international growth.
Just a few decades ago, some of these ministries didn’t even exist.
When I asked Fay Trombley, the Sister of Charity of the Immaculate Conception in the Arctic Circle, how her ministry related to her community’s charism, she told me the Sisters of Charity have always been educators and that helping an impoverish people lead better lives was an equally valid form of education. Education, she said, is “not necessarily sitting in school.”
So, as Catholics around the world mark the Year of Consecrated Life (examples of what’s happening globally can be found here, here and here), GSR is proud to continue sharing stories in keeping with the theme.
And if you’re interested in particularly novel ways that women religious embracing the future, join me tonight as I and a colorful online community live-tweet the second episode of Lifetime’s reality series The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns. Follow any of these hashtags: #TheSisterhood, #RealPostulants or #RealNun.
It’s great fun and great conversation. I promise.
[Dawn Cherie Araujo is staff reporter for Global Sisters Report, based in Kansas City, Mo.]