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Sisters' Stories

Catholics protest altar server policy

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ARLINGTON, VA. -- A few dozen people walked along North Glebe Road in front of the Arlington diocesan headquarters Nov. 20, holding bright signs that called for justice and change.

“Pray for our diocese,” read one sign, handwritten on fluorescent pink cardboard. “Dignity for our girls,” said another. And another: “We support female altar servers.” And another: “Bishop we need your leadership.”

Author finds out just how much is expected of 'biblical' women

Living like a biblical woman, as Christian author Rachel Held Evans discovered, can be a real pain in thy rump.

That's especially the case during a woman's "unclean" time of the month, when sitting on any surface renders it unclean, and why Evans carried around a stadium seat cushion on those days as she attempted to live out a year as a true "biblical" woman.

Franciscan ready to accept consequences for joining woman-led liturgy

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Despite rumors that Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada would be excommunicated and expelled from his order for his participation in a liturgy led by a female priest, Zawada and the leadership of his order say that has yet to be discussed.

Zawada participated in the Nov. 19 liturgy while attending the School of Americas Watch in Fort Benning, Ga.

How do you welcome strangers?

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Editor's Note: The following is the homily preached Nov. 19 by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ordained a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. She and Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada led an inclusive Catholic eucharistic liturgy at the SOA Watch Vigil at Ft. Benning in Columbus, Ga., as part of the Progressive Catholic Coalition. Zawada and Sevre-Duszynska have both served jail time for civil disobedience to protest nuclear weapons and militarism.

First Reading: "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," in The Eucharist and the Hunger of the World by Monika K. Hellwig.
Second Reading: Ballad of the Carpenter (sung in English, then read in Spanish)
Gospel: Matthew 25: 31-46.

We afflicted the comfortable after showing "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican" for the first time in Rome in October. Following our press conference, our group met at the corner of Via Concilizione, the street leading to the Vatican. We were members of Call to Action, Women's Ordination Conference, and women priests. We were here to support Roy Bourgeois and women priests.

Pope: Prostitution, pornography threaten human dignity of women

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to prostitution and pornography, saying the practices denigrate women and represent "a serious lack of humanity."

The pope made the remarks as he welcomed Reinhard Schweppe as Germany's ambassador to the Holy See Nov. 7. The pope's talk focused on the church's role in defending human dignity.

"A relationship that does not take into account the fact that a man and a woman have the same dignity represents a serious lack of humanity," the pope said.

With the "materialistic and hedonistic tendencies" that seem to be gaining space in the West, there is a growing form of discrimination against women, the pope said.

"The moment has come to energetically halt prostitution as well as the widespread distribution of material with an erotic and pornographic content, including through the Internet in particular," he said.

The pope said the Holy See would encourage and assist the Catholic Church in Germany so efforts "against these types of abuse would be more decisive and clearer."

Dominican nun, doctor strives to heal the whole person

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- She enters the exam room clad in the standard physician's uniform: white lab coat, stethoscope, medical chart. But she is also wears the standard Dominican sisters' uniform: white habit, black veil, a long strand of rosary beads hanging from her belt.

As both a sister and a medical doctor, Dominican Sister Mary Diana Dreger embodies the unique intersection of spirituality and science in her medical practice.

"The idea of serving others is what we do as sisters anyway, so there's a nice flow there being in the medical field," she said.

A primary care provider at St. Thomas Family Health Center South in Nashville, Sister Mary Diana continues the legacy of Catholic health care that has been firmly rooted in Middle Tennessee since the Daughters of Charity founded St. Thomas Hospital in 1898.

Voice for women

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Mumbai, India, native Virginia Saldanha, 63, had completed one year of university and four years as a corporate secretary when she got married at age 22. By the time she turned 28, she had three children and had become a widow. “The experience of being a widow was life-changing for me in every way,” Saldanha told NCR in a recent interview. The experience would lead her first to a bachelor’s degree in economics, then to study Catholic catechetics and then theology.

8th Day Center for Justice pressured over women's ordination

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The 8th Day Center for Justice, long a staple of Catholic social justice activism in the Chicago area, is facing pressure from Cardinal Francis George because of a Sept. 18 event that featured a screening of the film “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” and a talk by Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois.

“Pink Smoke” is a documentary expressing support for women's ordination in the Roman Catholic church. Bourgeois is currently under threat of removal from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers if he does not recant his own support of women's ordination.

NCR has learned that heads of religious orders associated with the center, which is supported by 39 orders of religious men and women, received letters from George several days before the event.

FutureChurch celebrates Feast of St. Mary of Magdala

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- "If we are to build the kingdom of God, we dare not ignore the words of Paul: 'There is no male and female among you.'"

Thereby Ann Klonowski, presider at FutureChurch's 15th annual celebration of the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala, opened the event, which took place Wednesday, July 20, in the aptly chosen town of Independence. This year's program, "Unheard Homilies: Ending the Silencing of Catholic Women," featured three homilists, all female.

Time of ambiguity shadows Maryknollers' assembly

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FIRST PERSON

OSSINING, N.Y. -- I was surprised to see Fr. Roy Bourgeois’ name on the list of Maryknollers attending our annual U.S. regional assembly from May 23 to 27.

More than a month had passed since the superior general of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Fr. Ed Dougherty, issued the first canonical warning to Roy to recant his position on the ordination of women or face dismissal from our society and laicization by Rome. No one expected Roy, who had been ordered to be silent on this issue by former superiors, to comply now, despite having been excommunicated in 2009 for participating in an attempted ordination of a woman the year before.

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December 5-18, 2014

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