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A Life of Ministries

A Life of Ministries

(p.118) Five A Life of Ministries
Unequal Partners
Casey Ritchie Clevenger
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the various settings where Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur work and explores different understandings of authority, obedience, and personal autonomy within religious life. In Greater Boston, Sisters of Notre Dame responded to Vatican II and declines in Catholic education by recognizing the city’s changing demographics and developing ministries for immigrants, adult learners, single mothers, working-class families, and women who have been trafficked. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sisters of Notre Dame expanded beyond their traditional ministries in education, religious instruction, marriage preparation, and health care by founding women’s development centers and developing new agricultural projects. In Greater Boston, sisters are personally concerned with finding a ministry that will enable them to both contribute to the mission of the congregation and develop their own gifts and capacities, while in the Democratic Republic of Congo a growing concern with becoming financially independent has motivated leadership to prioritize a different set of communally and regionally focused concerns. Sisters of Notre Dame throughout the world have embraced expansive definitions of spiritual mission and diversified their ministries since Vatican II, but local factors lead US and Congolese sisters to invest themselves and their resources differently.

Keywords:   Catholic sisters, Catholic ministries, religious work, development, Boston, Democratic Republic of Congo, religious vows

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