Life for children whose parents migrate to Vietnam's capital to make a living re-selling leftover produce, fish and plastic bags usually does not include formal education, but since 2010, the Dominican Missionary Sisters of Phu Cuong have been helping some attain literacy and move on to public schools. Their Binh An (Peace) Development Center in Ho Chi Minh City currently provides free education for 316 children, ages 5 to 15.
After an open letter to the president, Sr. Norma Pimentel was invited to a roundtable on immigration issues, but not allowed to speak. Behind her witness for more humanitarian treatment of asylum-seekers is a host of women religious who have traveled to volunteer at the border in recent months.
"The reason behind my painting is really my passion since childhood," says Sr. Venus Pegar, a Filipina sister of St. Francis of Xavier. Now, with permission from her mother superior, she paints regularly to raise funds for her order's ministries.
The Daughter of Charity sister retires in June as head of Catholic Health Association — a tenure that saw her become the face of Catholic lobbying efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act. That often-bruising fight put to use her ability, in the words of a colleague, "to stay anchored to her principles grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, while ably working for what's possible and workable."
GSR Today - The holidays inspire memories of a family friend: the late Sr. Mary Lucy Downey, a hero to the cause of affordable housing in Denver, and the first sister I ever knew. Downey was a trailblazer whose legacy lives on in Colorado, Missouri and even the United Nations.
The Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church believe events in a small Ugandan village show it is truly being overtaken by social evils. They decided to challenge that with a monthly prayer procession around the town. When the decision was made, they informed the village authorities and embarked on the prayer.
Sr. Joan Mumaw is president and chief administrative officer for Friends in Solidarity, a partner to Solidarity with South Sudan, an African ministry that trains nurses, midwives and future leaders in South Sudan.
The Life - Sister panelists talk about how they and their communities are responding to Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate. In the document, they recognize a call to personal holiness, finding God in practical ways in everyday life, and its emphasis on the Beatitudes as an "identity card" for Christians.
GSR Today - This year was gut-wrenching, but we found inspiration in women religious who confronted suffering by welcoming the stranger, helping the poor and building peace.
Sr. Wendy Beckett, the contemplative who became an unlikely television celebrity after hosting art programs on BBC and American public television throughout the 1990s, died Dec. 26 at a care facility near the Carmelite monastery where she lived in a trailer hermitage. She was 88.
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