A Journey to Religious Life

Photo credit: CNS/Tyler Orsburn

Photo credit: CNS/Tyler Orsburn

Iliana Maldonado was like many modern twenty-somethings: going out with her friends at night and updating Facebook from her smartphone that rarely left her side. But despite all the trappings of modern life, she still felt unfulfilled.

Maldonado, a cancer survivor, remembered being drawn to the religious sisters who ministered to her during her childhood battle with cancer, and expressed a desire to join their order. Now Iliana is a postulant with the Poor Clare sisters at the Monastery of St. Veronica Giuliani in Wilmington, DE. Iliana said of her transition to religious life:

“I thought it would be very different; a lifestyle change that would be very difficult to adapt to. But no, I adapted very fast. This way of life is very beautiful. It fulfills me. I feel very happy.”

Take a look at the Catholic News Service video of Iliana’s journey to the convent: (more…)

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Pope Francis: Only God can bring peace to Holy Land

Photo credit: CNS/Paul Haring

Photo credit: CNS/Paul Haring

Pope Francis hosted a peace prayer summit with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican Gardens on Sunday. The meeting was a result of an invitation the Holy Father issued during his trip to the Holy Land two weeks ago, in which he requested that the two presidents meet at the Vatican for an “invocation for peace” in the Holy Land. Catholic News Service reports:

The event, at which Christians, Muslims and Jews prayed in each other’s presence, was almost certainly the first of its kind at the Vatican, according to Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office.

The starting time of 7 p.m. had been chosen in part to avoid the midday heat, yet temperatures were still in the mid 80s less than an hour earlier, when Peres arrived by car at the Vatican guesthouse, where the pope lives. Abbas arrived at 6:30 p.m., and 15 minutes later the two presidents embraced in the presence of the pope.

“Nice to see you,” Peres and Abbas told each other in English.

Joining the group was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, whom Father Lombardi had described as one of the event’s “four protagonists,” and Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, custos of the Holy Land and the principal coordinator of the event.

(more…)

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Baby with Down Syndrome celebrated on 200-foot billboard

what makes you different makes you beautiful“What makes you different is what makes you beautiful.”

That is the quote that accompanies a photo of Pip, an 18-month old girl with Down Syndrome, on a 200-foot billboard in one of Toronto’s busiest intersections.

The billboard is the result of a contest run by Indie88, a radio station in Toronto, and Pip’s billboard entry gained about 45,000 votes to win the coveted spot. Pip’s mom, Tara McCallan, said:

“I hope people see value in any and all life. I hope they get to see what I see in my daughter every day: a little, beautiful , happy soul. And yes, she has Down Syndrome, but I think differences in people need to be celebrated and we need to see the beauty in that.”

(more…)

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