A group of women religious from China may turn out to be innovators of a very particular kind -- and that has everything to do with China's changing demographics.
Six Chinese sisters from five different congregations recently completed a 120-hour Geriatric Spiritual Care certificate program through the Avila Institute of Gerontology, the educational arm of the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm. The Avila Institute compressed a four-month program into four weeks, said Fr. Timothy Kilkelly, the coordinator of the Maryknoll China Education Project. "People can't come for four months, so compressing the program was a great service to us."
The sisters were in the United States in May and June under the auspices of the Maryknoll China Education Project, which since 1991 has brought priests and women religious to the United States for graduate academic studies at Catholic institutions.
The six sisters are the first brought by the project to the U.S. to study geriatric spiritual care. The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers are funding the program, which is also the first to focus on short-term training and not graduate-level degree courses.