Regarding your May 18 editorial “Rome & Women Religious”: I visited a fetid Bolivian prison with a diminutive American sister of the Daughters of Charity who brought warm food and medicines to starving and sick prisoners. I rode on the back of a motorcycle in Cochabamba with a gregarious Maryknoll nun who ministered to blind street people. I visited a home for abandoned, disabled children in Venezuela, operated with great love by Dominican sisters. I have worked here in Syracuse with Sisters of St. Joseph, whose own Sr. Mary Vera inspired the well-regarded nonsectarian home for abused women named Vera House. So many of us had members of the various religious communities as teachers in our youth.
While there have been women who were poorly suited for religious life and caused real pain, in general these women have helped make Christ’s presence felt and have lived in service to all. For the Vatican to question their leadership and their ways of living the renewal that Vatican II called for breaks the hearts of many who believe that their fidelity to the message of Christ is to be celebrated, not questioned or demeaned by a hierarchy that cannot even discipline itself. Sisters of all stripes, we respect you, thank you, pray for you, and love you. May the Spirit sustain you as you continue your paths of ministry.