Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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Remarks by Mary Daniel Turner, SNDdeN Recipient of the 2005 LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award

Remarks by Mary Daniel Turner, SNDdeN

Recipient of the 2005 LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award


In 1962, when I was named provincial, the outgoing provincial offered me only one bit of advice:  “Mary Daniel, she counseled, become actively involved in CMSW.  There you will learn the meaning of leadership.” Today, in 2005, unequivocally I say, “LCWR has been – and is – a most cherished formative agent in my life.” 


Over the years, companioned by women from many diverse congregations; mentored by women steeped in very differentiated charismatic graces; and challenged by women passionately in love with God, today I name these companions oaks of justice planted by the Lord to show His glory.  That glory has illuminated my journey; wondrously; it has illuminated our church. That glory has yielded energy, which when embraced, gifts us to be simultaneously prophet and mystic in the household of God’s universe.


Indeed then, a most fitting word for me to speak tonight is simply one of gratitude: profound and heartfelt!  I have been privileged – I am privileged – to be in the company of women for whom matters of the Spirit matter; for whom the church (we and all the people of God) matter; for whom Earth matters, mightily. Yes, tonight my spirit magnifies our good and gracious God, and it magnifies this conference, a reservoir of grace. 


That grace has been exceedingly brilliant during this assembly. Christine, Margaret, Maria – and the many workshop presenters – have inspired us to be Jubilee women; they have invited us to delight in the gift of Sabbath; they have urged us to immerse ourselves in our times – a trust confided to our tendering.


Given the richness of what we have heard during this Assembly, it seems gratuitous for me to add to the speakers’ words.  In fact, it is; nevertheless, I want to join with the speakers in urging us to be women who say, “Yes, yes, yes” to God’s continuing self-revelations; to be women exquisitely attentive to the Spirit’s movements within and around us: to be women finely-tuned to what God is asking and gracing us to do and to be. Quite simply, I urge us to be women rooted in contemplation.


I join our speakers, too, in calling us to be women boldly responsive to the exigencies of our times. Embracing the corporate power that our respective charismatic gifts generate, we will be graced to invest ourselves and our resources in the multitudinous poverties of our global village. Claiming our corporate charismatic power, we will experience that we are endowed with the steadfastness of the bent-over woman who changed the face of the earth – where she was, without having to see the difference she was making. Like her, we must tenaciously work to change the face of the earth – where we are. Our respective charismatic endowments demand no less!


Thus, rooted in contemplation and empowered by the abounding energies our respective charisms engender, we will discover (borrowing again from Hafiz)  that

“We have all come to the right place.

We all sit in God’s classroom” –

not ready to throw spitballs,

but ready to learn from one another and others, especially the poor,

 and from Earth;

eager to respond to the moral imperatives of the NOW;

and passionately in love with our God who first loves us!


And so, let us go forth and JUBILEE:

  • Standing at the margins,
  • Incarnating Gospel deeds responsive to the needs of our times, and
  • Clothed with an unyielding reconciling spirit.


Welcome, Jubilee Year!