Tag Archives: sisters

18 April: Racism and Resurrection


St Josephine Bakhita
Dorothy Stang.jpg
Sister Dorothy Stang

Archbishop John Wilson preached this homily on Racial Justice Sunday in February, but it’s message is also particularly telling at Eastertide.

Dear friends, if we think that racism is a thing of the past, then suddenly we need to think again.

It’s a present reality in our communities.

I was shocked the year before last. I met with a group of young women students from a school in our diocese, and I was shocked to listen to their experience of racism.

Through comments, through insults, through slurs, through discrimination, alive and present today.

Racism is not a thing of the past, and therefore we cannot be silent about it. We cannot be silent about its existence, and we cannot be silent about its causes.

We must unite in Christ with other people of goodwill. We must unite in Christ, to work for justice. To speak out for equality for every person no matter what the colour of their skin is, no matter what language they speak. No matter where they come from, no matter what they look like.

My friends, it is our mission to continue to make our parishes and schools places where the gifts and the skills and the experience and the heritage of all people of every background honoured and valued and cherished and celebrated.

We have in our church some inspiring examples of people who have spoken out, spoken out against slavery and work to overcome the sufferings of those enslaved. I want to name just two today. There are many others we need to learn of them because they’re truly inspirational.

The first is perhaps more familiar to us.

Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman sold into slavery and eventually brought to Rome where she was cared for by a community of religious sisters.

And she developed her own Christian faith and joined a religious community. She was such an outstanding example of what it means to live the values of the kingdom that in the year 2000 She was made a saint – Saint Josephine Bakhita.

I think of someone perhaps very few of us maybe only one other in this church today will know the name of Sister Dorothy Stang.

An American Sister of Notre Dame, who was martyred 17 years ago yesterday, the 12th of February 2005.

Why was she martyred? Because she upheld the rights and the dignity of indigenous peoples in Brazil.

The voices of all those in our church who have defended and protected people of different racial and cultural backgrounds, those voices must be alive in us. They must be.

Dear friends,

Are we one in Christ?

Are we one in Christ? We are one in Christ who is risen. Christ who is risen, who has overcome death, who has conquered sin and therefore we are people of hope. Are we not – people of hope? And as people as hope, one in Christ, we are committed to working side by side to consign racism to history.

And so, we pledge today, to continue journeying together into the future.

One in Christ and one with each other.

Amen.

Watch the homily: www.facebook.com/ArchdioceseOfSouthwark/videos/1104318056808474

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2 April: Recognising dignity is the first act of care!

Saint Josephine Bakhita

This is the conclusion of Pope Francis’s message for the eighth World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking. this is marked on Saint Bakhita’s day, 8th February. All our posts for the month were in place awaiting publication when this message was issued, but Francis’s call to be conscious of, to recognise the dignity of each person accords with our Lenten theme.

Saint Bakhita shows us the way of transformation. Her life tells us that change is possible when one lets oneself be transformed by God’s care for each one of us. It is the care of mercy – it is the care of love that changes us deeply and makes us able to welcome others as brothers and sisters. Recognising the dignity of each person is the first act of care, it is the first act of care! Recognising dignity. And taking care of others is good for all, for those who give and those who receive, because it is not a unidirectional action, but rather it generates reciprocity. God took care of Josephine Bakhita; he accompanied her in the process of healing the wounds caused by slavery, until her heart, mind and inner self became capable of reconciliation, freedom and tenderness.

I encourage every woman and every girl who is committed to transformation and care, in school, in the family, and in society. And I encourage every man and every boy not to be left out of this process of transformation, recalling the example of the Good Samaritan: a man who is not ashamed to tend to his brother and to take care of him. Taking care is God’s action in history, in our personal history and in our history as a community. God has taken care ‘of’, and takes care ‘for’ us continually.

Caring together, men and women, is the appeal of this World Day of Prayer and reflection against human trafficking: together we can encourage the growth of an economy of care, opposing with all our might every form of exploitation in human trafficking.

Dear sisters and dear brothers, I know that many of you are participating in this Day of prayer and reflection, from various countries and different religious traditions. I wish to express my gratitude and encouragement to all of you: let us go forward in the struggle against human trafficking and every form of slavery and exploitation. I invite you all to keep your indignation alive – keep your indignation alive! – and to find, every day, the strength to engage with determination on this front. Do not be afraid of the arrogance of violence, no! Do not surrender to the corruption of money and power.

Thank you all, and keep going, do not be discouraged! May God bless you and your work. Thank you.

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21 March: It’s not a disease.

This post is from an article by Dominique Greiner in Croire-La Croix of 4.02.2022. In it he cites Pope Francis urging us to be conscious of old people as our elder brothers and sisters worthy of our respect, worthy of our spending time with them.

Growing  old is not a disease nor a cause for sadness. Old age is a new stage of our life. For sure it can be marked by a decline in strength and various unpleasantnesses due to age, but that doesn’t take away anything  from people’s dignity or the respect that is their due.

Pope Francis has denounced the abandonment of old people as a hidden euthanasia, brought about by our throwaway culture. “Old People’s Care Homes should be the lungs of humanity in a country, a neighbourhood, a parish.  They should be sanctuaries of humanity, where a person who is old and frail is treated like an elder brother or sister.” In other words, caring for old people is not just for the professionals. Each one of us should feel concerned about the well-being of our elders. Even if we only visit them regularly, we are showing them that we haven’t abandoned them, and they are still important in our eyes.

So who in our neighbourhood or extended family should be receiving a word, a letter, an email, a visit from you or me these next few days? And what about a thought and a prayer for the carers who enable families to live their own lives, with their own duties and responsibilities?

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18 February, Going Viral CIII: Sisters in Africa educate people to get vaccinated.

Sr. Dr. Lucy Hometowu, a member of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, educates the parishioners in Ho Dome, a town in the Volta Region of Ghana. (Damian Avevor)

Sr. Dr. Lucy Hometowu, a member of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, educates the parishioners in Ho Dome, a town in the Volta Region of Ghana. She is also the COVID-19 vaccine campaign coordinator of her congregation’s medical team. (Damian Avevor)

17 February, 2022 by Doreen AjiamboDerrick Silimina

A taster from Global Sisters’ Report follow the link to the article

GHANA

Many people believed that the vaccine was unsafe and had severe side effects on human bodies, thus vowing never to take “the jab,” as it is referred to in many African countries.

Religious sisters in the West African nation of over 31 million people have been working hard to debunk COVID-19 vaccine myths that are rampant, ranging from denial that the virus exists to various false side effects. As of Feb. 16, just over 15% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.

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15 February, Going Viral CII: God still has more work for me. My vocation today XIII.

Clare Boehmer

Clare Boehmer is a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. She is now retired after 60 years of active ministry, which included teaching English and computer science, serving as a librarian, and developing a computer center for teenage girls living in an emergency shelter.

She reflects on her recent covid-19 infection. Read her whole article in Global Sisters Report. Highly recommended; here’s part of her introduction. Click on the link and enjoy!

I have realised that the entrance of the corona virus into our world has changed that world dramatically. Our pre-COVID-19 “normal” is not something that we can return to completely.

So what’s new? Sister Clare gives a few pointers.

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13 February: Reflections for Lent.

It’s not yet Lent, but not too early to share an excellent resource for teaching or personal reflection.

The Global Sisters Report offers, free of charge, six Lenten reflections designed for the secondary school, drawing on the Sunday Gospels and sisters’ experience of ministry in many parts of the world. Teachers or catechists may find these resources valuable and interesting, but other readers will discover aspects of the Good News we were unaware of. Excellent starting points for reflection.

There are more free reflections on many more topics.

https://www.globalsistersreport.org/classroom/lessons/topic/136213

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8 February: Reactionary Pope Condemns Slavery!

Slaves are evident in this triumphal procession from a Methodist children’s book contemporary with Gregory XVI. The grooms leading the horses, but also the crowd of captives following the chariot, are all slaves, or about to become slaves.

Each year about the feast of Saint Bakhita, we turn our thoughts to those caught up in slave trade, which we know all too well has not gone away.

Gregory XVI was not the most liberal of Popes. He condemned railways as ‘chemins d’enfer’, roads to hell, because they encouraged the rise of the culture of trade and increased the power and influence of the middle classes, upsetting the social order. For all that he followed a number of rprevious popes in recognising that the slave trade was indefensible. His 1839 encyclical ‘In Supremo Apostolatus’ cited Saint Paul to the Ephesians (6:5ff) and Colossians (3:22ff, 4:1) as signs of the early Church demonstrating a new attitude to slavery. Slave and Master were both human, both answerable to one Lord, both to be treated with respect. Gregory’s language is not that of Pope Francis, but sadly, Francis and today’s Church must still address the issues of modern slavery. First Pope Gregory, followed by Sisters in Zambia today, who are working to address these issues.

We have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men. … Desiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations, having fully reflected over the whole question and having taken the advice of many of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals, and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to use violence against anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour.

We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices mentioned above as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.

The following photograph is from Global Sisters Report, it introduces an article by Sister Eucharia Madueke about how Sisters in Zambia are organising to combat human trafficking. ‘Open your eyes’ is a call to us as well. Read the full article here.

Sisters from across Zambia attended a workshop in November 2021 in Makeni, Lusaka, on advocacy against human trafficking. The sisters stand with the signs they made as part of their awareness-raising efforts. (Sr. Eucharia Madueke)

Sisters from across Zambia attended a workshop in November 2021 in Makeni, Lusaka, on advocacy against human trafficking. The sisters stand with the signs they made as part of their awareness-raising efforts. (Sr. Eucharia Madueke)

Note froom the Editor of Global Sisters Report: In observance of the Feb. 8 feast day of Sr. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of human trafficking survivors, which is also the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Global Sisters Report is publishing two special columns about a workshop held in Zambia by the Africa Faith and Justice Network to raise awareness among sisters about modern-day slavery and train them as advocates against it. (Read the other column here.) This is an example of efforts across the globe that sisters are undertaking to help stop human trafficking. Learn more at Talitha Kum; the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, and through Global Sisters Report’s extensive coverage.

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Synod Newsletter, February 2022.

#newsletter n.03 – 02/2022 
Hello, how is everything going?
Did you know that, following Pope Francis’ message for the 26th World Day for Consecrated Life, the Congregation for Consecrated and Apostolic Life invited us to reflect on the word “participation” linked to the synodal process? In response to the call, we wanted to know how consecrated persons participate in the synod. We share some of the resources received from all around the world.

Sinodality and Consecrated Life
The Pope Video For religious sisters and consecrated women Via the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer): https://www.popesprayer.va/

Religious missionaries of the Divine Word hope that the Synod will serve “to live the synodal experience in their life and mission wherever they are carrying out their missionary presence”.For more information…

Consecrated life “is the bearer of a great evangelical adventure open to the future and to the breath of the Spirit. It is a demanding and exciting task, a long-term process of conversion.Anne-Marie Grapton, secretary general of Corref (religious of France)
Read more in French…

With his book, Salvatore Cernuzio sheds light on a serious problem within the female consecrated life: the abuse of power, of conscience or sexual abuse within orders, monasteries, and institutes, which leads women and girls to put out the fire of their vocation and to abandon the religious path they have undertaken, even after years. It is they themselves, nuns, or former nuns, who are about to leave or have already left what for years was their “home”, who relate what they have suffered…. Read more

The Synod in the World
AMECA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa) and the Jesuits Conference of Africa and Madagascar, are providing resources that will enable the local churches in Africa to engage fruitfully in the synodal process.Read more…

The Maronite Diocese of Antelias in Lebanon and the Bishops’ Conference of India use creative means to encourage the synodal journey and answer the fundamental questions: What is a synod, what are the differences between one synod and the other? Read More…
How to listen to the poorest in the Synod process? The Centre Sévres of Paris has prepared a tool for attentive and fraternal listening so that everyone can have a voice. For more information…

Pray for the Synod
In order to support the synodal journey and ask for the Spirit’s assistance, together with the World Network of Prayers of the Pope and UISG, we have set up a website in 5 languages: Church on the Way. Pray for the Synod. You too can send your prayer. See how to do it… 

In silence, we listen

We come to you, Oh God,
in silence to listen with the ear of the heart 
to the indwelling voice of your Holy Spirit.

We pray for unity of all the poor,
the voiceless, the marginalised and all of those who are excluded.
Gift our bishops with open hearts and ears
to hear the Church, the people of God,
with wisdom, knowledge, patience and courage. Amen.

St. Scholastica Monastery – USA
Share our story!Are you witnessing or living a particular synodal experience? Have you experienced good practice and want to share it? Fill in the attached form and send it to  media@synod.va.
If your story appears to be original or considered a good practice, we will publish it in our next newsletter and who knows… maybe even in VaticanNews!
Radio continues to play a significant role in raising awareness and promoting the Synodal process in Africa. This situation came alive recently as Radio Tumaini – Radio station for the Archdiocese of Mombasa in Kenya hosted a panel of speakers Continue to read…


We need You !
Young People are fresh air moving in the Church around the world, so fundamental to the Synod. Tell us about the experience of your  youth organisation in the synodal process, to share it in Synod Resources.
Latest news
The Secretariat of the Synod met with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.The Spirit continues to overflow from the Amazon two years after Querida Amazonia
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4 February 2022, Praying with Pope Francis: Sisters.

Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa at a farewell Mass as their mission to Zambia comes to an end.

This month Pope Francis invites us to pray for religious sisters and consecrated women

We pray for religious sisters and consecrated women; thanking them for their mission and their courage; may they continue to find new responses to the challenges of our times.

Religious sisters have always found new responses to the challenges of their times, but they have not always been supported as they should have been by clergy or lay people. The sisters shown above were handing over their work to local sisters and lay people; we have seen how lay catholics have taken charge of schools in England and Wales that were founded in grinding poverty in the 19th Century.

Let us join Pope Francis in thanking God – and the sisters – for their often heroic work and pray that the Spirit may lead them by quiet waters or amid th’encircling gloom.

I recommend the Global Sisters Report a free news web site which tells of the work and lives of sisters throughout the world. I understand there may be more wisdom from our own Sister Clare in GSR this year.

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18 December: Saint Samthan

Saint Of The Day

Another remarkable young woman from these islands, Saint Samthan was an 8th century Irish nun. She was a foster child of King Cridan, who found a suitable husband for her, but she was determined to become a nun. The king decreed, We bestow you in marriage and join you to God, the spouse of your choice. After training under St Cognat in Donegal she started a convent in County Longford.

She sounds rather saner than some of her contemporaries in the religious life. Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich described some of the practices in early Irish monasteries: Fasting, silence, curtailment of sleep, repeated genuflections, prayer for long periods with arms outstretched, and corporal punishment with a leather strap were normal forms of mortification or could be inflicted for breaches of Rule.* 

When a monk asked her what was the best attitude for prayer, she answered: “every position – sitting, standing or lying down.”

When another said he wanted to give up study to pray more, she said he would never be able to fix his mind on prayer if he did not study. When a monk said he was going on pilgrimage, she told him: “the kingdom of God can be reached without crossing the sea and God is near all who call on Him.”

St Samthan refused large estates for her convent and lived in poverty with her community and six cows.

I’ve never met a Samthan but I’m sure any Samantha seeking a patron saint could adopt Saint Samthan, a saint with determination!

  • Tomas O Fiaich, Columbanus in his own Words, Dublin, Veritas, 1990, p17-18.

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