Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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Information for the Media

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is a canonically approved membership organization which exists as a support system and corporate voice for leaders of institutes of women religious (Catholic sisters) in the United States.

2019 LCWR Assembly

Representatives of news organizations whose responsibility is religion coverage may apply for credentials to attend the LCWR assembly from August 13 - 16, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Information on the assembly, an application form, the assembly schedule, an LCWR media policy, and an LCWR fact sheet are available as attachments at the bottom of this page. Please submit your application no later than August 3, 2019.


Members of LCWR are Catholic women religious who are leaders of their orders in the United States. The conference has approximately 1350 members, who represent about 80 percent of the 48,500 women religious in the United States.


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.


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.


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.


Elected Officers:

Sharlet Wagner, CSC -- President
Jayne Helmlinger, CSJ -- President-Elect
Teresa Maya, CCVI  -- Past President


Executive Director: Carol Zinn, SSJ (
Associate Director for Finance and Planning: Christine Beckett, SCN (
Associate Director of Programs: Marie McCarthy, SP (
Associate Director of Communications: Annmarie Sanders, IHM (
Associate Director for Social Mission: Ann Scholz, SSND (
Director of Transitional Services: Mary Hughes, OP (