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!


Christin Tomy, May 27, 2016 – Global Sisters Report

In a little less than a month I’ll make my first profession. The date has been chosen, and the invitations have been sent. The liturgy is planned. And I’m not sure I’m ready.

Oh, I’ve prepared. For three years I’ve studied, prayed, and journeyed into the life of the community. I’ve been accompanied by sisters who have lived their vows twice as long as I’ve been alive and have tried to absorb a tiny fraction of their wisdom. I’ve explored the congregation’s deep story and tried to remain open to the stirrings of Spirit within. When asked whether this is what I choose, I have wholeheartedly responded, “Yes!”

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Joshua J. McElwee, May 23, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

Catholic sisters could be of greater service to the church in various parts of the world were they able to “go a step further” and be ordained as deacons, says the leader of the global network of some 500,000 Catholic women religious.

“Very often in different parts of the world we are doing most of the work that needs to be done,” said Sr. Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).

“We are living very much in the periphery . . . and priests are very rare in some of the places,” said Sammut, speaking in a GSR/NCR interview Friday. “There are services that we can give to the church, especially to the peripheral church where we are, which would be opened if we were women deacons.”   (more…)

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Catherine M. Odell, Global Sisters Report | May 16, 2016

Many Catholics have never heard of spiritual direction, a practice of spiritual guidance that helps believers see God working in their lives. The practice, which has its roots in early Christianity, has its greatest support today from women religious and their communities.

Spiritual direction doesn’t mean preaching or catechetical instruction. Instead, spiritual direction is a quiet, one-on-one ministry of respectful companionship rooted in prayer. The best direction is offered by mature Christians schooled in spiritual theology and spiritual practices.  (more…)

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Nancy Sylvester, April 25, 2016 | Global Sisters Report

Many years ago I toured St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. I can recall climbing up to the top of the cupola and going outside on the balcony from which there is a marvelous view. Of course, I could see the wall that surrounds Vatican City. As I stood there, I reflected on how impenetrable this wall was and couldn’t help making the connection to how difficult it was to communicate with many of our bishops and cardinals about critical issues.

Suddenly something caught my eye. There in the midst of the wall was one single yellow flower pushing itself through the bricks and mortar. It was determined to live and flourish. I thought, “What a sign of hope! If life can get through that wall, then life can flourish in this church.” Hope is certainly tenacious.


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April 12, 2016, Paul Jeffery | Catholic News Service

To be blessed by those who suffer, one must walk with them

IRBIL, Iraq — Every morning, as her son prepares to leave for preschool, the mother of 4-year old Luis Firas takes a stick of oil and makes the sign of the cross on his forehead.

Blessing is important for this Christian family, which fled from Mosul during the 2014 takeover of the area by Islamic State militants and today — like tens of thousands of other displaced — live in a small modular temporary shelter in Irbil, a town in northern Iraq controlled by Kurds.

As I photographed their morning ritual, Luis grabbed the stick and marked a cross on his mother’s forehead, also blessing her. (more…)

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Junno Arocho Esteves-Catholic News Service| May 13, 2016

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Without a repentant heart, Christians can risk living out their faith superficially and fail to live out God’s desire for “mercy, not sacrifice,” Pope Francis said.

Instead, Jesus’ love for sinners shows that the church is not “a community of perfect people, but disciples on a path who follow the Lord because they recognize themselves as sinners and in need of his forgiveness,” the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square April 13.

Jesus’ mission is “to search for each one of us, to heal our wounds and call us to follow him with love,” he said.

The pope reflected on the Gospel passage, which recounted Jesus calling Matthew to follow him despite the fact he was a tax collector and considered a sinner by the people.  (more…)

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Sr. Rose Pacatte, April 2, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

National Geographic’s beautiful and intelligent filmic pilgrimage about God is narrated by an actor who comes with solid credentials: Morgan Freeman played God in two feature films directed by Tom Shadyac: “Bruce Almighty” (2003) and “Evan Almighty” (2007). In “The Story of God,” aired as a six-part series beginning Sunday, Freeman moors himself in Greenwood, Miss., his hometown and source of his family and identity.

From Greenwood, he travels the world in search of beliefs about the afterlife, the end of life (as in the apocalypse), creation, God, evil and miracles. The gorgeous press kit contained the first three episodes and these were enough, certainly, to engage my interest and extend an invitation to my readers to watch the series.    (more…)

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Beth Griffin, February 29,2016 |National Catholic Reporter

NEW YORK —While it may come as a shock, humans are neither central nor supreme in the grand scheme of creation. Humans have a place among other beloved creatures of the same living God, and it’s more humble kinship than dominion.

On Friday evening, St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, distinguished professor of theology at Fordham University, shared thoughts on the idea of such kinship with nature and described new ways to understand how humans fit into God’s work of creation during a well-attended talk at Mary House, a Catholic Worker house in New York’s East Village.

The talk, titled “Creation: Where Do People Fit?”, was part of a regular Friday evening meeting series held at Mary House.

The natural world and its creatures are in crisis as a result of consumerism and greed, as well as their diminished place in contemporary religious imagination, Johnson said. The remedy is a 180-degree conversion to the earth by focusing on God who loves the earth.  (more…)

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Gillian T. W. Ahlgren. Mar. 28, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter 

The Interior Castle

by Teresa of Avila, tran. by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez               (Paulist Press, 1979)

My “Take and Read” came from the hands of a favorite professor, just after I had finished my first course in church history. “Gillian,” Grover Zinn said, placing a book in my hands, “you have to read this.”

I was 19 years old, and I had been led to Grover soon after my first trip to Europe. That trip had been unexpected: a wonderful and thoroughly surprising odyssey that had taken me into the ethereal landscapes of the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, Spain, and then into the inner world of the sculptures and stained glass windows of the cathedral of Chartres. If God had ever wanted to capture the imagination of a young woman, that would have been the way. And now Professor Zinn, a specialist in the Christian mystical tradition, was handing her Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle after introducing her to a host of writers, all calling us to take life-giving relationship with God seriously: Antony and the desert dwellers, Bernard of Clairvaux’s On Loving God, Bonaventure’s Soul’s Journey into God, Julian of Norwich’s Showings. The road had been well paved.


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 Cindy Wooden and Junno Arocho Esteves, 3/27/16 | Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Easter is a feast of hope, a celebration of God’s mercy and a call to pray for and assist all who suffer, Pope Francis said before giving his solemn blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).

The risen Jesus “makes us sharers of his immortal life and enables us to see with his eyes of love and compassion those who hunger and thirst, strangers and prisoners, the marginalized and the outcast, the victims of oppression and violence,” the pope said March 27 after celebrating Easter morning Mass


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