“In the afternoon of Monday, 21 March, other shots were fired near the monastery of the Poor Clares. Fortunately, the sisters were in the chapel praying,” continues Sister Rosaria. The sister describes the drama that the neighbourhood is going through: “Rounds are fired suddenly, when you least expect it. The exodus of the population continues. There are people dying of starvation because food and medical supplies are scarce. Add to that the effects of heat on the physically debilitated. After the bombing this morning, the people in the district seem to have disappeared, no one knows where. Perhaps they are preparing something dramatic.”
Sister Rosaria is outraged because “human rights are not being respected. It is impossible to watch people dying simply because they have no medicine. The pharmacies are closed and the embargo that was imposed (to force Gbagbo to concede power), aggravates the situation. The people are tired of not having anything.”
“It is the poor who are paying the price for everyone. The smallest pay in the struggle for power. I saw an eight year old girl taken to the dispensary with her brains hanging out of her head. How can we stop this massacre?” asks the sister.
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: The National Catholic Education Commission has said it expects "funding maintained" provisions will not survive the school funding review being led by David Gonski, according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Tim Smith of the National Catholic Education Commission also told a Canberra forum organised by the Independent Education Union, which represents non-government school teachers, that the Catholic sector would argue that no school should be worse off in real terms.
''We think it's gone,'' he told the forum.
Under the model introduced in 2001, the federal government allocates funding to private schools according to a formula that measures the socio-economic status of a school community as determined by census data. Schools that draw students from higher status areas receive lower levels of funding than those from lower status areas.
Critics have pilloried the so-called ''funding maintained'' provisions, which apply to 55 per cent of Catholic schools and 17 per cent of independent schools.But because the Howard government promised that no school would be worse off under its system, 1083 schools have had their funding entitlements preserved with full indexation at the levels they enjoyed before joining the socio-economic status model.
An issues paper released by the Gonski review panel in December said education groups had told it ''the arrangements seemed to operate as a separate and second funding model that applied to a prescribed group of non-government schools which provided a secure and favourable funding environment, but one that was not consistent with the equal application of the SES funding model''.
The review panel is expected to deliver its report to the government late this year.
Beijing (AsiaNews/CAA) – Two Christians have been in police custody for the past ten days after their house church was raided and closed on 13 March. In China, any unauthorised religious meeting is deemed a criminal offence and anyone involved can be prosecuted.
On 13 March, a dozen underground Christians were worshipping in the home of Weng Zemei in Ma’an Village, Zhongchang township (Baihe county), when the local police chief Xia Huashan and two officers burst into the home and took all 12 worshippers into custody.
Ten were released the same evening, but two remain in detention. They are Weng and Zhang Yongkuan. Police also confiscated all the Bibles and other religious books and publications.
For years, Beijing has tried to crush underground Protestant communities, either by forcing them to disband or by inducing them to join the Movement of Three Autonomies, the official state-sponsored organisation for Chinese Protestants. However, most of the faithful, estimated to be at least 50 million, have rejected an entity that, in their view, has “sold out to the state”.
In recent weeks, many underground Protestant communities have launched a prayer campaign in favour of a Chinese version of the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ that swept away the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt.
Alarmed by this, the government has placed its security forces and the army on high alert to crack down on dissidents and activists and prevent any kind of demonstration.
St. Catherine of Sweden
CO-FOUNDRESS OF THE BRIGITTINES, DAUGHTER OF ST. BRIGID OF SWEDEN
Feast: March 24
The fourth child of St. Bridget and her husband, Ulf Gudmarsson, born 1331 or 1332; died 24 March, 1381. At the time of her death St. Catherine was head of the convent of Wadstena, founded by her mother; hence the name, Catherine Vastanensis, by which she is occasionally called. At the age of seven she was sent to the abbess of the convent of Riseberg to be educated and soon showed, like her mother, a desire for a life of self-mortification and devotion to spiritual things. At the command of her father, when about thirteen or fourteen years, she married a noble of German descent, Eggart von Kürnen. She at once persuaded her husband, who was a very religious man, to join her in a vow of chastity. Both lived in a state of virginity and devoted themselves to the exercise of Christian perfection and active charity. In spite of her deep love for her husband, Catherine accompanied her mother to Rome, where St. Bridget went in 1349. Soon after her arrival in that city Catherine received news of the death of her husband in Sweden. She now lived constantly with her mother, took an active part in St. Bridget's fruitful labours, and zealously imitated her mother's ascetic life. Although the distinguished and beautiful young widow was surrounded by suitors, she steadily refused all offers of marriage. In 1372 St. Catherine and her brother, Birger, accompanied their mother on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; after their return to Rome St. Catherine was with her mother in the latter's last illness and death.
In 1374, in obedience to St. Bridget's wish, Catherine brought back her mother's body to Sweden for burial at Wadstena, of which foundation she now became the head. It was the motherhouse of the Brigittine Order, also called the Order of St. Saviour. Catherine managed the convent with great skill and made the life there one in harmony with the principles laid down by its founder. The following hear she went again to Rome in order to promote the canonization of St. Bridget, and to obtain a new papal confirmation of the order. She secured another confirmation both from Gregory XI (1377) and from Urban VI (1379) but was unable to gain at the time the canonization of her mother, as the confusion caused by the Schism delayed the process. When this sorrowful division appeared she showed herself, like St. Catherine of Siena, a steadfast adherent of the part of the Roman Pope, Urban VI, in whose favour she testified before a judicial commission. Catherine stayed five years in Italy and then returned home, bearing a special letter of commendation from the pope. Not long after her arrival in Sweden she was taken ill and died. In 1484 Innocent VIII gave permission for her veneration as a saint and her feast was assigned to 22 March in the Roman martyrology. Catherine wrote a devotional work entitled "Consolation of the Soul" (Sielinna Troëst), largely composed of citations from the Scriptures and from early religious books; no copy is known to exist. Generally she is represented with a hind at her side, which is said to have come to her aid when unchaste youths sought to ensnare her.
Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stcatherineofsweeden.asp#ixzz1HZlZ3GoD