News & Views
Check in each week to read interesting articles from Catholic writers, discover what Catholics are talking about in the wider world, find out what's happening in the lives of Catholic leaders, and keep up with the latest news from the Sisters of Bon Secours!

Bring Good News

Joshua J. McElwee    |  National Catholic Reporter

Vatican City – Pope Francis is asking news outlets around the globe to remember to focus not only on news of the world’s tragedies or scandals but also on positive solutions to its problems.In his message for World Communications Day, released Tuesday, the pontiff tells media professionals:  “I am convinced that we have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news.’”

“This has nothing to do with spreading misinformation that would ignore the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naive optimism blind to the scandal of evil,” states the pope.

“Rather, I propose that all of us work at overcoming that feeling of growing discontent and resignation that can at times generate apathy, fear or the idea that evil has no limits,” Francis says.

“I would like, then, to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamourize evil but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients,” he continues. “I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart ‘good news.’”


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Be a Volunteer

Kristen Whitney Daniels, January 16, 2017 | Global Sisters Report

When Tracey Horan started her internship with the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, she had no idea what the next year would have in store. Horan thought that she might even “meet a nice farm boy and settle down.”

Now, Horan is discerning her first vows with the same group of sisters.

Horan, who interned with the sisters at the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice as well as with AmeriCorps VISTA, sees her time as a volunteer as critical to her journey to religious life.

She recalls a moment on Valentine’s Day where she was asked to help teach the sisters a dance to raise awareness about violence against women and also realized that she might be called to religious life.

“I just remember being in the front and showing them the moves to this dance and thinking there is nowhere that I’d rather be right now. And that was definitely one of the most memorable Valentine’s Days I’ve ever had – I think that was kind of telling,” joked Horan, who is also a contributor to Global Sisters Report.

Simple moments like these are what many former volunteers who have transitioned to a religious vocation say were crucial to their decision to pursue religious life.


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Pray to End Human Trafficking

January 11 – February 8, 2017

Saint Josephine Bakhita was born in southern Sudan in 1869. As a young girl, she was kidnapped and sold into slavery. She was treated brutally by her captors as she was sold and resold. She did not remember her name; Bakhita, which means “fortunate one,” was the name given to her by her kidnappers.

Daily Prayer

God of hope and peace, touch our hearts and energize our ongoing efforts in abolishing this crime against humanity so that every victim is freed and every survivor’s life rekindled. You blessed Saint Josephine Bakhita of Sudan with mercy and resilience. May her prayers comfort and strengthen the women, men and children who are in search of freedom.

We ask for transformation of heart for those who inflict pain, anguish and grief on our sisters and brothers. Give them compassion, generosity and the courage to stand in solidarity with others so that together we heal the hearts and lives of all your people.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, Forever and ever. Amen

2016 – Year of Mercy

Michael Sean Winters, December 29, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

In the life of the church, 2016 mostly coincided with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which officially began in late 2015 and concluded on the feast of Christ the King last month.

Pope Francis had the idea to not only open the holy doors in the four patriarchal basilicas in Rome, but asked every diocese in the world to designate a special door at the cathedral, and other significant places, through which pilgrims could pass. Bishops around the globe delivered pastoral letters about mercy, and made it the topic of presbyteral convocations, and published essays on the subject of mercy in their diocesan papers.

Francis had powerful assistance from St. Luke, the evangelist, whose Gospel was read throughout the year. Luke’s Gospel has often been called “the Gospel of mercy” and it includes the three great parables of mercy: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost, or prodigal, son. These parables, especially the last, are a hermeneutical key for understanding Francis’ pontificate: He knows that only by recovering a truly evangelical spirit, with the Gospel of mercy at its heart, can the church find new life.


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Pray to End Gun Violence

The Congregation of the Sisters of Bon Secours and Bon Secours Health System Support the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, December 14-18.

Why observe the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath?

It has been nearly 4 years since an individual armed with multiple weapons entered an elementary school in Newtown, CT, and took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults before taking his own life. In 2016 the terrible toll of gun violence continues to march before us in daily newspaper headlines and television news stories. Yet despite impassioned expressions of outrage and sorrow over needless loss of life, and polarizing political rhetoric, Congress has failed to take meaningful steps to address the escalating cycle of gun violence.

The Sisters of Bon Secours, along with the United States Catholic bishops, support policy and legislative measures that promote mercy and peace-building in our communities by implementing reasonable regulations on firearms such as:

  • Requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases
  • Limiting civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines
  • Making gun trafficking a federal crime
  • Improving access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence
  • Promoting restorative justice by passing legislation to support important reentry programs that help people avoid re-offending
  • Improving access to health care and treatment for those with addiction and mental health needs.

We invite you to place an extra “dinner plate” on your dinner table during the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend (December 14 -18) and pray for victims of gun violence everywhere.

Discovering the Gospels

William Reiser, November 21, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

Just Jesus (three volumes)
by José Ignacio López Vigil and María López Vigil

(Crossroad, 2000)

During my second year of college, one of our religion assignments was to read a life of Christ and then write a review. I looked through the shelves and found a number that looked interesting. On the shelves were Giuseppe Ricciotti’s The Life of Christ (1947), Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ (1958), the three volumes of L. C. Fillion’s The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical, and Apologetic Exposition (1928-29), and Ferdinand Prat’s two volumes Jesus Christ: His Life, His Teaching, and His Work (1950). To be honest, I cannot recall whether I chose Fillion or Prat to read and review. I may have done both.

I also discovered Romano Guardini’s The Lord (1954), with its stunning Rouault painting on the dust jacket. I read it, slowly, over the course of a year. The butcher at our local grocery store had already read it several times and urged me to give it a try (a memory I cherish). Fillion and Prat struck me as more academic and scholarly, while Guardini was more reflective and existential.

The book that eventually caught my imagination, however, was Alban Goodier’s two-volume The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: An Interpretation (1936). I was a first-year novice and had just finished making the Spiritual Exercises. Each evening we had a half-hour devoted to reading the life of a saint or a life of Christ. That’s when I discovered Goodier. I loved it. I must have read it three or four times before moving on to his volume on the Passion.


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Cindy Wooden, November 23, 2016  | 

Everyone experiences doubts about the faith at times — “I have” many times, Pope Francis said — but such doubts can be “a sign that we want to know God better and more deeply.””We do not need to be afraid of questions and doubts because they are the beginning of a path of knowledge and going deeper; one who does not ask questions cannot progress either in knowledge or in faith,” the pope said Nov. 23 at his weekly general audience.Francis said that although the Year of Mercy has concluded, he still wanted to continue his general audience reflections on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

With fewer than 10,000 pilgrims and visitors present and with rain forecast, the Vatican moved the audience indoors to the Vatican audience hall.

The pope, with a voice that was a bit hoarse, focused on the spiritual works of mercy of “counseling the doubtful” and “instructing the ignorant,” which he said was not meant as an insult, but simply as a description of a person who does not know something.

Calling a lack of access to education a “grave injustice,” Francis asked those in the audience hall to give a round of applause to teachers and the “long list of saints, who throughout the ages, brought education to the most disadvantaged.”

Education, he said, is both a work of evangelization and a work of mercy and justice because it recognizes the dignity of the human person, fights discrimination and, by preparing people for jobs, combats poverty.


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A Preoccupation With Money

Michael Leach, November 2, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates lists 10 rules for good writing. The first is “Write your heart out.” The tenth is “Write your heart out.” She could have been thinking about Heather King.

King writes her heart out on every page. She has authored several gripping memoirs. In Parched (2005), she reveals her 20-year addiction to alcohol with the naked truth of a William Burroughs and tells of her fall into grace through the intervention of her family. In Redeemed(2008), King writes of her embrace of Catholicism — and Catholicism’s embrace of her — in words so genuine that the Los Angeles Times called it “as honest and raw as the model of the spiritual memoir, the ‘Confessions” of St. Augustine.”

In Shirt of Flame (2011), she spends a year reflecting on the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, comes to an understanding of her own brokenness, surrenders to God and endeavors, like Thérèse, to become “a victim of love.” In Stripped (2015), the memoir of her journey with breast cancer, she strips away all pretenses and makes us feel what she feels and understand what she has come to understand, that the potential for all healing lies within ourselves.

And now in Loaded, King takes on a taboo topic that no authors I know of have had the courage to write their heart out about: the attention we give to money.


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Living Sundays

Michael Leach, November 15, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter


Sometimes I say the Our Father when I wake up. My favorite line: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I know God’s will for us is better than anything I could think of myself. I also know that my consciousness (heaven) has everything to do with how I will experience life (earth). We don’t go to church on Sunday because it is more than a chore. On Tuesdays, one of the priests says Mass at 11:30 a.m. at River House, the adult day care center Vickie goes to during the week. I’d like to say I “pray always” as Jesus instructed, by being awake and aware of my thoughts and more interested in the things of God than anything else, but this boy’s got a way to go.


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Wanted: SAINTS

Tony Magliano, November 7, 2016 |  National Catholic Reporter

Most likely, you are reading this shortly before, or shortly after the U.S. presidential election.

America’s next leader will have the means at hand to do tremendous good or tremendous harm. The new president-elect of the United States will have many opportunities to purposefully move forward policies and legislation that can make not only the U.S., but the world a far better place. Or the next president can dangerously choose to greatly exacerbate the many serious problems facing humanity.

Our prayers and political activism will be needed to persuade the fledgling president to reject all that is deadly, and instead choose the way of goodness, the way of life, the way of God (see Deuteronomy 30: 15-18).

But we should not place all of our marbles in the one basket of the U.S. president.

No single human being alone — president, prime minister or pope — can build a world where justice, peace and love reign. Such a vision realized needs all of us, and not just a mediocre version of ourselves, but rather the best version of ourselves.

The world needs saints!

Our hurting world needs Christians who are committed to being the very body of Christ on earth — saints.


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