The Leadership Conference of Women Religious ( LCWR ) is the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has about 1350 members, who represent nearly 80 percent of the approximately 38,000 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, the conference assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today's world.

The scope of the conference's concerns is broad and includes collaborating in Catholic church and societal efforts that influence systemic change, studying significant trends and issues within the church and society, utilizing our corporate voice in solidarity with people who experience any form of violence or oppression, and creating and offering resource materials on religious leadership skills. We serve as a resource to our members, as well as to members of the public seeking information on leadership for religious life.

Purpose

The scope of the conference’s concerns is broad and includes:

  • collaborating in Catholic church and societal efforts that influence systemic change
  • studying significant trends and issues within the church and society
  • utilizing our corporate voice in solidarity with people who experience any form of violence or oppression 
  • creating and offering resource materials on religious leadership skills.

LCWR serves as a resource to its members, as well as to members of the public seeking information on leadership for religious life.

Mission

The purpose of the Conference shall be to promote a developing understanding and living of religious life by:

  • assisting its members personally and communally to carry out more collaboratively their service of leadership in order to accomplish further the mission of Christ in today’s world.
  • fostering dialogue and collaboration among religious congregations within the Church and in the larger society.
  • developing models for initiating and strengthening relationships with groups concerned with the needs of society, thereby maximizing the potential of the Conference for effecting change.

History

At the request of the Vatican’s Congregation for Religious, leaders of pontifical orders of women religious in the United States founded the conference in 1956 and named it the Conference of Major Superiors of Women. The name was changed in 1971 to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Use the timeline below to explore more about LCWR over the years.