Women religious

Holy Hangouts connect Daughters of Charity with discerners

Daughter of Charity Sister Marguerite Broderick, right, and web content assistant Bryanna Hampton demonstrated the technology used for the order’s regular Holy Hangouts at the Daughters’ provincial office in St. Louis May 23.

Don't call it an online chat. The Daughters of Charity prefer the more appropriate name "Holy Hangout."

For a little more than a year, Daughters of Charity across the United States have been hosting every couple of months a Holy Hangout, an online discussion among the Daughters that shed light on their lives as women religious -- including the vows they take, a glimpse into their daily lives and mission work.

Battling sex trafficking | Women religious join fight against multi-billion trade, St. Louis ranks among top 20 trafficking cities

St. Louis has become a prime area for sex trafficking, primarily because of the growing online marketplace for the sex trade as well as easy access to interstate highways and its position as a hub for large-scale conventions and sporting activities. The Department of Justice has identified St. Louis among the top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions in the country.

At 15 years old, she lived in a loving household, homeschooled by her family. Young and curious, she decided to study abroad. With her parents, she did some research and found a program. When she arrived at her destination, she quickly discovered she had been lured into a sex trafficking ring. Her father eventually flew overseas to rescue her.

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Students reveal positive impact of women religious through gifts of words and wisdom

Gabby Johnson, left, wrote an essay describing why she thinks that her teacher, Sister Sarah Heger, CSJ, is the best teacher in the world. The two gatherd with other students and religious at the School Sisters of Notre Dame motherhouse to honor the Incarnate Word Foundation essay contest winners who wrote about their favorite sister or religious order of women.

What do a community of nuns who spend their entire day in prayer, another who was active in the civil rights movement and yet another who is the beloved principal at a Catholic school have in common?

They were all honored for their contributions to the Church through an essay contest to highlight their historical significance and ongoing importance of women religious in the area.

TWENTY SOMETHING | Let's hear it for the nuns!

Christina Capecchi

When Mary Margaret Gefre's boyfriend drove her to the train station in their small North Dakota town, the 19-year-old farm girl didn't tell him where she was headed on that brisk December day, clutching a small bag containing a rosary, her childhood prayer book, a few dresses and a pair of shoes.

She was bound for a cloistered convent in St. Paul, Minn. She was going to become a nun.

Today, at age 84, she marks the passage of that heart-wrenching winter by three feast days.

Little Sisters of the Poor | From 1839 to today


The Little Sisters of the Poor stay grounded in the knowledge that they are carrying on the work of their foundress.

In 1839 St. Jeanne Jugan, a poor 47-year old working woman in post-revolutionary France, shared a small apartment with a friend. They took in an infirm, blind, elderly neighbor who had been left alone when her sister was dying in the hospital. Soon they began caring for other elderly, and girls from the neighborhood joined in providing care.

Little Sisters, Big Hearts

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org

The Little Sisters of the Poor operate their St. Louis Residence on the northside of the city. The Supreme Court last month issued an order affirming a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of a contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act against them. The sisters have expressed concern about the impact on their ministry but continue their ministry, seeing Christ in the elderly they serve. Sister Jean Dwyan laughed with Martha Spurgeon in the hallway of the St. Louis Residence, which serves about 110 people.

Katie Hoormann stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. She waved the bat around and got set.

The young man who was the pitcher let an underhanded toss soar. Katie swung and made contact, driving in a run for the Little Sisters of the Poor residents' team. Applause erupted in the open-space auditorium.

"She's 96 years old," exclaimed a gentleman sitting in a chair, with his walker at his side.

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