Is there a future for religious women in North America and Western Europe? Even heavily Catholic regions like Ireland and Quebec have populations of Catholic sisters who are overwhelmingly elderly.
Pope Francis and Simone Campbell's recent books have much in common. Yet the standoff between U.S. sisters and the Vatican continues.
The April 4 issue of the Century offers Ruth Burrows's witness to her life as a contemplative Carmelite; it also includes an homage to a community of students shaped by their experience with Trappist monks, which in turn shaped Faith Matters writer Stephanie Paulsell in her faith and thinking. Yet Carmelite, Benedictine, Trappist and other monastic communities find themselves in a precarious place these days, with many of them closed or closing. Must we lose these Catholic (and Protestant) communities before we realize that they are a profound presence to those of us out wandering in the world?
Prayers linger in choir stalls, soak into walls. Centuries of prayer can make you feel buoyant in medieval European cathedrals. Gratitude settles over you like a benediction within busy urban shrines.