Where do we see living examples of Catholic social teaching in action? Catholic sisters are at the forefront of work for justice, peace, and care for creation. They lead schools, soup kitchens, environmental advocacy efforts, anti-trafficking initiatives, and countless ministries in parishes and communities across the globe.
Throughout the world, there are more than 700,000 Catholic sisters. They can often be found leading the ministries that bring dignity and hope to young people, families, and communities; vocations are rising in countries in Africa and Asia in particular. Sisters’ ministries are powerful examples of Catholic social teaching in action.
This online Public Dialogue offered a window into that renewal and ways religious sisters make the Gospel come alive in some of the poorest and most challenging places on earth. The dialogue featured sisters who raise awareness and address critical issues like education, economic empowerment, migration, and conflict. Four Catholic sisters working in Kenya, Peru, Uganda, and at the U.S. southern border explored their understanding of religious life and how their vocation makes a difference in their communities via questions such as:
- What led you to become a Catholic sister, and what joys and challenges do you face in your everyday life? How is your life different than it would have been had you chosen another path? As a Catholic sister, how do you understand the principles of Catholic social teaching, and how do they shape your service?
- In what ways have religious communities adapted their practices and missions to address contemporary social challenges, such as climate change, immigration, and economic inequality?
- How should the rest of us understand religious life and your ministries? How can others support this work?
- How do religious sisters integrate a commitment to Catholic social teaching and social justice with other critical elements of our common faith?
- What does women’s leadership look like in your community? In the global Church? How could the Church expand leadership roles for women?
- What is the vocation of religious sisters in this time and your place?
- Why are women choosing to join your congregation, and what lessons can the Church in the rest of the world learn from that?
- What are your greatest challenges? What are your greatest hopes?
Kim Daniels, director of the Initiative and member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, moderated the conversation.
This Public Dialogue was co-sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
View articles, statements, and other resources for this dialogue.