Monday Starter: Ursuline Sisters sponsoring project to assist tornado survivors

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Volunteers with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth sort through and clear debris from a home severely damaged by tornadoes in Campbellsville, Kentucky, accompanied by the surviving family and friends. (Courtesy of Ellen Sprigg)
Volunteers with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth sort through and clear debris from a home severely damaged by tornadoes in Campbellsville, Kentucky, accompanied by the surviving family and friends. (Courtesy of Ellen Sprigg)
Editor's note: Global Sisters Report's Monday Starter is a weekly feature from GSR staff writers that rounds up news from or about women religious that you may otherwise have missed.

A project by the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, Kentucky, inspired by the Knights of Columbus, will assist survivors of devastating tornadoes that hit numerous western Kentucky communities in December.

Using the example of the biblical story of the Magi who bore gifts to Jesus and the Holy Family, the Three Kings Project seeks to give hope and encouragement to those trying to rebuild their lives by offering prayers and emotional support.

Emulating the work of the Knights of Columbus chapter in Louisville during Christmastide, Dec. 25-Jan. 6, the Ursuline Sisters are asking congregational members, associates, friends and supporters to write a note, a card or share a children's drawing "to inspire hope and joy."

In announcing the project, the congregation said that Ursuline Sr. Martha Keller "has been handing out the cards to storm victims who she sees in need of a lift."

Keller is heading relief efforts through her ministry at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Fancy Farm, near Mayfield, Kentucky. Mayfield sustained some of the severest damage from the tornadoes, which killed more than 75 people.

The project will likely continue through Easter, the congregational announcement said, "but the sooner your positive thoughts can be shared, the more hope you can bring to these people who are living day to day."

Details about how to participate are available here.

Course focuses on ways to respond to Action Platform

A two-session online course entitled "For All the Earth" will be held Jan. 18 and Feb. 1, and is intended to provide congregational leaders and members "with a foundation on which to better respond to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform," said Sr. Sheila Kinsey, campaign coordinator of the initiative Sowing Hope for the Planet.

The Tuesday events will be held 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., European Central Time (8 to 10 a.m., U.S. Eastern Standard Time).

Click this link to register for the event.

The Rome-based Sowing Hope for the Planet campaign, begun in June 2018, is showcasing how women religious globally are living out the spirit of Pope Francis' milestone 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."

Simulcast will focus on efforts to combat human trafficking

In the midst of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and the ongoing efforts of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, a live national simulcast will focus on how those concerned about the issue can engage in anti-trafficking activism.

The event, which will include the particiption of advocates, artists, service providers and trafficking survivors, will be held Jan. 26 at 6 pm EST and is sponsored by Samaritan Women - Institute for Shelter Care. Among those participating will be former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson, producer and director Jaco Booyens and survivor leader Annie Lobert.

The simulcast will air live on the Samaritan Women website, Facebook and You Tube.

A similar event was held in 2021, and for which there is a video.

UN announces largest-ever appeal for Afghanistan

The United Nations has announced a record $5 billion appeal for Afghanistan in what the global body says is needed support for "shoring up collapsing basic services there."

The grave humanitarian situation, five months after the country fell to the Taliban, has left 22 million people needing assistance inside the country and 5.7 million people requiring help outside Afghanistan's borders, UN News, the United Nations' news service, reported Jan. 11.

It is the largest ever appeal for a single country, the U.N. report said.

The situation in Afghanistan has become the one of the world's most dire humanitarian crises, UN News said, as "half the population now faces acute hunger, over nine million people have been displaced and millions of children are out of school."

Martin Griffiths, the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, said he is particularly concerned about the fate of 1 million children who face the threat of acute malnutrition.

"A million children — figures are so hard so grasp when they're this kind of size — but a million children at risk of that kind of malnutrition if these things don't happen, is a shocking one," he said.

As part of global efforts to resettle refugees who have left Afghanistan, Catholic sisters in the United States are among those assisting, GSR reported in December.

Chris Herlinger

Chris Herlinger is the New York and international correspondent to Global Sisters Report and also writes on humanitarian and international issues for NCR. His email address is

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