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December 6, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos, This post has been updated. See below for details.
BEIRUT - Syrian rebels are demanding the release of 1,000 female government detainees in exchange for the freedom of a group of Greek Orthodox nuns being held by opposition forces, according to an account published Friday in a pan-Arab newspaper. The proposed swap indicates that the nuns are now hostages -- contradicting earlier opposition assertions that the sisters were evacuated for their own safety during heavy fighting early this week in Maaloula, a Christian landmark town outside Damascus.
December 3, 2013 | By Nabih Bulos and Raja Abdulrahim
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A day after rebel forces largely retook a predominantly Christian town north of the Syrian capital, the fate of 12 nuns remained unknown with both sides in the conflict blaming each other for their disappearance. Free Syrian Army fighters along with Al Nusra Front, an Islamic group linked to Al Qaeda, fought with government forces for several days before regaining control over much of Maaloula. The town sits near the strategic highway between Homs and Damascus, the capital.
November 12, 2013 | By Richard Winton
An Orange County real estate consultant who stole $285,000 from Roman Catholic nuns and used it to buy lingerie and lease a sports car was convicted Tuesday of three counts of wire fraud. After a three-day trial, a federal jury in Santa Ana convicted Linda Rose Gagnon, also known as Linda Gualtieri-Gagnon, 59, of defrauding the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus and Mary. Asst. U.S. Atty. Robert Keenan said Gagnon told the nuns in 2008 that she was an expert in handling short-sale and foreclosure transactions and offered to help them buy a small home in San Diego they were renting for retired sisters in the religious order.
October 17, 2013 | Richard Marosi
Sister Antonia Brenner, a Beverly Hills-raised mother of seven who became a Roman Catholic nun and moved into a notorious Tijuana prison where she spent more than three decades mending broken lives, easing tensions and dispensing everything from toothbrushes to bail money, has died. She was 86. Brenner, who had been in declining health, died Thursday of natural causes at the home of her religious order in Tijuana where her fellow sisters had cared for her in her final days, said Christina Brenner, her daughter-in-law.
August 28, 2013 | By Carla Hall
The death of Sister Sheila Walsh, believed to have been the first Roman Catholic nun in the nation to be a full-time registered lobbyist, reminded me of how many other activist nuns have contributed so forcefully and significantly to the causes of the poor (or, as Sister Sheila preferred, the less stigmatized “people living in poverty”), the homeless, the victims of warfare. Nuns dedicate their lives to service in the name of God, and that service can be -- and should be allowed to be -- more than pastoral.
July 13, 2013 | By Jenny Deam
On Feb. 22, 1999, 4-year-old Luke Burgie hopped up from the couch and announced: "My tummy doesn't hurt anymore, Mommy. " The terrible sickness that had ravaged his body for six months had vanished. His doctors were as baffled by the sudden and complete recovery as they had been about what had caused his illness in the first place. His mother, Jan Burgie, called it a miracle. Sister Margaret Mary Preister, one of two nuns at a local convent who had been praying for Luke's recovery, was less sure.
July 5, 2013 | By Susan King
Dolores Hart was one of Hollywood's top ingenues, giving Elvis Presley his first screen kiss in 1957's "Loving You" and then reuniting with him a year later in "King Creole. " She worked with such legends as Anthony Quinn and Anna Magnani in 1957's "Wild Is the Wind" and Robert Ryan and Montgomery Clift in 1958's "Lonelyhearts," then earned a Tony Award nomination in 1959 for her first play, the romantic comedy "The Pleasure of His Company. " A devout Catholic since the age of 10, she broke off her engagement to Don Robinson in 1963 and entered the cloistered Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., where as Mother Dolores Hart she has lead a life of contemplation and hospitality.
April 15, 2013 | By Tom Kington, Los Angeles Times
ROME - Pope Francis has backed the Vatican's doctrinal crackdown on a major group of American nuns, reasserting the Roman Catholic Church's conservative approach to various social issues in a move that could cool the warm reception he has received from some liberal Catholics since taking office last month. The Vatican said in a statement Monday that Francis had reaffirmed the doctrinal evaluation and criticism of U.S. nuns made last year by the Holy See under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The assessment accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents most U.S. female Catholic orders, of promoting "radical feminist themes" and ignoring the Vatican's hard line on same-sex marriage and abortion.
December 29, 2012 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Midge Turk Richardson, a former nun and parochial school principal in Los Angeles who cast off her habit for the world of New York publishing, where she reigned for nearly two decades as editor of Seventeen magazine, has died. She was 82. Richardson, who was found in her New York City home Dec. 17, appeared to have died in her sleep from natural causes, according to her stepson, Kevin Richardson. A Los Angeles native, Richardson spent 18 years as a nun in the order of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, including seven years as superintendent of Our Lady Queen of Angels High School.
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