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Religious Life

Preview: Monks' age-old link to ink hits high-tech age

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Throughout history, monks have been linked to ink, penning beautiful calligraphy in books and illuminating manuscripts.

The Benedictine monks at St. Andrew's Abbey in Valyermo, located in California's Mojave Desert 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, have updated the ink connection for today's digital age with their new venture, Monks-Ink, an online ink and toner business.

Preview: Philippine Carmelites launch independent province

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A mission area of the Dutch Carmelites in the Philippines has emerged from a painful era of establishment with members and partners prepared to take on the challenge of carrying on as an independent province.

As first provincial of the Philippine Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma, "It makes me feel a little tense," Carmelite Fr. Christian Buenafe, 47, said at provincial headquarters in Quezon City, northeast of Manila. "We will run our own structure, finances, formation, leadership and governance."

Preview: One nun's journey from Iraq to the US and the Catholic church

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Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart bursts through the door, arms flung wide in anticipation of an embrace. "How brave of you to come," she says, hugging me as if I were her long-lost sister. Outside the convent window, a January blizzard whirls, and the nun, an Iraqi native, marvels that anyone would drive in such conditions.

Olga Yaqob, 48, is barely 5 feet tall, clad in a Marian blue habit. In her hands are rosary beads, which she fingers constantly. When she reaches up to tenderly clasp my head, I smell perfume.

Preview: Understanding Franciscan identity key to US friars' restructuring

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For the first time in their centuries-long history, the leaders of the seven separate provinces of the major group of Franciscan friars in United States met together in Milwaukee in December 2012.

Joined by the international head of the order founded by the 13th-century St. Francis of Assisi, the leaders had made the historic summit to answer a decidedly uncomfortable question faced by religious orders across the globe: What to do in an era of steeply declining numbers?

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In This Issue

April 11-24, 2014

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