Welcome to the Reading Room

Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Religious life: The path is less chosen, but young women still hear the call

by Ann Rodgers

Angela Russell was a teenager visiting relatives in France when she prayed in a chapel where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in 1830. That was where she first felt a call to be a Catholic sister.

"It was an overwhelming sense that I was going to dedicate my life totally to Christ," said Sister Angela, 21, a Beaver native who recently entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tenn.

Far fewer women than in the past take that path, and those who do are often attracted to traditions that many communities no longer practice. Since 1965, the number of sisters in the U.S. has fallen from 180,000 to 61,000. A Vatican-ordered study is under way of conditions that may have contributed to the decline.

Yet women still answer the call. Sister Angela is among three local women seeking vows in the Nashville Dominicans. Two just made temporary vows in the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, formerly the Millvale Franciscans. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a community in Brighton Heights known for traditional habits and ministry to the elderly, count a medical doctor among two novices. This weekend a half-dozen women were expected at a discernment retreat for the Sisters of the Holy Spirit in Ross.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.