The eye-opening experience that sparked her lifelong commitment to justice.
Sister of St. Joseph Helen Prejean grew up in a bubble. “My family is very Catholic and very white,” she says. When Prejean joined the religious life at age 18, she went from one social bubble to the next. Throughout her childhood, her parents employed African American servants. “They ate separate from us and had a separate toilet, but I never thought anything was wrong with that,” Prejean says. “That’s what culture does. Culture says, ‘Honey, that’s just the way we do things here.’ ”
Churches in Washington State are building real connections with prison inmates.
Sam Middleton had already been in prison for 26 years when the letters started coming. One day he had a pile of five unopened envelopes, addressed to him from people he had never met. Each return address was from a family in his hometown of Bay View, Washington.
New insights into the story of the Good Samaritan from behind bars.
I pulled out a bright green Naugahyde chair from the pile in the sparse room and started down the checklist in my mind. Let’s see. . . . The two bathrooms were unlocked, one for the men, one for me. I had dragged the heavy oak podium across the room to place it near the table that would soon serve as an altar. The consecrated hosts were safe in a pyx in my black leather burse. I’d set up five chairs in a row in front of me and put missals on the seats. Everything was in place.
It's not the size of the gift but the intention behind it that shows the true meaning of Christmas.
The Christmas baskets were almost ready. Only a few donations were still needed. “If anybody can help,” the chairman announced, “We still could use a couple of soups, two bars of soap, and a book of stamps. I know it’s a lot and you guys have been real generous, but c’mon, y’all. It’s Christmas.”
In typical Catholic fashion, the answer is both/and.
Where were you on April 15 when you first saw flames tear through the ancient wood roof of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral? What thoughts and emotions gripped you as plumes of smoke rose from that sacred space? And, equally relevant, how did you react days later when protesters hit the streets of Paris waving placards that read “1 Billion for Notre-Dame! Zero for the Homeless!”?
The mission to protect human dignity is a central part of the Catholic faith.
Jamie Pizzi remembers the lunchtime meetings. They would take place in a college classroom. There, people would discuss their work, work not just happening on campus but in the community.
Pizzi, then 23 years old, was a first-year student at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Her classes had rigid curricula with a lot of reading on law and its foundations. There was little room to see the law in action, she says, and not much space in the initial coursework for specific law interests. That’s why Pizzi loved the weekly meetings.
The pope's resolve on this life-or-death issue poses a challenge to the U.S. church.
About 25 years after the brutal murder of her older sister, Jean Parks unearthed her true feelings about the death penalty.
Francis on the margins lives up to his rhetoric.
At the beginning of his papacy Francis famously spoke about his desire to lead a church that was willing to go to the margins on behalf of the oppressed and the vulnerable, and he has lived up to those words, sometimes at no small personal risk.
U.S. social services often turns what should be a hand-up into a civic pushdown. One example: disposable diapers.
My wife asked me a week before school started this September if I had remembered to purchase my youngest child’s “school toolbox.” For the uninitiated, that’s the giant package of everything your kid needs to survive grade school that better-organized parents never fail to preorder.
To my great shame, I forgot to buy one this year.
Work is good not just because it helps us pay the bills, but because it helps us to be the selves that God intended.
Americans have always struggled with work: seeking just wages, securing equal rights, and balancing time for family with the necessary demands of supporting one.
In the early 20th century Americans campaigned for more humane working hours in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. In the mid-20th century, Americans struggled with adding extra hours to their week in order to increase the capacity to pay for their increased access higher education.