Raised on the shores of Lake Michigan, I never did learn to swim. The cold, cold water took my breath away. Yet this did not hinder my enjoyment of water as “speaker of wisdom” in my life. In reflecting on the topic, I realized water has been a focus in my annual retreats. A retreat in southern Mississippi offered the luxury of a swimming pool. I came prepared with my floatation device. In the midst of enjoying my swim, while thanking God for water, the realization struck me that God has been my floatation device; carrying me through life.
How could you allow the earth to be destroyed for some money? And you told me that it did not really matter because at the end of time, according to your faith, Jesus Christ would return and make the world whole again for his faithful, and those people who did the damage to the world would receive their just due. But don’t you see that ‘those people’ are you? ‘Those people’ are all of us if we allow the destruction of our earth. –Stephen Cleghorne (May 18, 2012) (Download attachment to read more)
As the days grow shorter and colder and nature calls attention to itself in the change of seasons, I am reminded of the story of a little girl who learned to swim in the winter. She took swimming lessons during the summer, determined to learn, but summer was soon over and she was still straining to get her breathing coordinated with her arm movements. Frustrated, she saw the swimming pool close for the season and she returned to school. The following spring the pool re-openned and she eagerly went to practice again, hoping to eventually get it right. She jumped in the pool and, to her surprise, effortlessly swam from one side to the other, arms and breath easily coordinated. Somehow she had learned to swim in the winter. When she was no longer even thinking about swimming, the learning continued within her on some other level and showed itself in the spring. (Read more by going to the attachement)
Four and a half years ago, the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph came to Nix Conference & Meeting Management to research the hotel site for their conference. They asked about the hotel’s policy on human trafficking. We were not aware at the time that hotels were the venue for this crime. Together with the sisters, we worked to generate conversation with the Millennium Hotel St. Louis to sign the ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) Code of Conduct.
At the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held in St. Louis, MO, August 7-10, the more than 900 participants planned their response to the doctrinal assessment of the organization by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). (The attachments below are the press release in its entirety in English and Spanish.)
The address that I am about to give is not the one I had imagined. After the lovely contemplative tone of last summer’s assembly, I had anticipated simply articulating from our contemporary religious life reflections some of the new things we sense that God has been doing. Well, indeed we have been sensing new things. The doctrinal assessment, however, is not what I had in mind!
At the 2012 LCWR assembly, the conference presented its highest honor, the LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award to theologian and biblical scholar Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM. In her acceptance speech, she illuminated the characteristics of gospel leadership in our post-modern culture. The address may be found in the PDF attachment below.
Many people report having recurring dreams. I have a biblical theme or two that recurs in my prayer, consciousness, and wonderings. It may recede for a bit, but somehow, that theme finds its way to the forefront of my heart, and I pray with it again and again. The authority of Jesus is a theme that continually rises up in me. Recent LCWR activities have invited me to deeper but as yet unfinished reflection. However unfinished, I offer it to you.
[Silver Spring, MD] The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) appreciated that the Supreme Court struck down three of the four most controversial provisions of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070. In its 5-3 ruling the court rightly held as unconstitutional provisions of the Arizona law which would have:
Statement of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious Regarding Meeting with CDF
[Silver Spring, MD] On June 12, LCWR president Sister Pat Farrell, OSF and executive director Sister Janet Mock, CSJ, met with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and Archbishop Peter Sartain. The meeting had been requested by the LCWR to address what the conference considered deficiencies in the process and the results of the doctrinal assessment of the organization released by the CDF in April.
[Washington, DC] The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held a special meeting in Washington, DC from May 29-31 to review, and plan a response to, the report issued to LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
LCWR seeks to hire an associate director for business and finance as well as a program director.
The associate director for business and finance coordinates and supervises the management of the conference finances and property. In addition, she/he will coordinate local arrangements for the annual LCWR assembly, board meetings, and conference programs.
The program director is a new position. This person is responsible for guiding and overseeing all LCWR programs, including the launching and directing of a new effort to offer online/onsite learning for LCWR members.
The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will meet May 29 - June 1, 2012 to begin its discussion of the conclusions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s doctrinal assessment and the implementation plan put forth by that Vatican office. The board will conduct its meeting in an atmosphere of prayer, contemplation and dialogue and will develop a plan to involve LCWR membership in similar processes. The conference plans to move slowly, not rushing to judgment. We will engage in dialogue where possible and be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Sandra Schneiders, IHM will be the recipient of the 2012 LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award. This prestigious award honors a person whom the LCWR members wish to recognize and thank for modeling extraordinary leadership.
Our LCWR annual assemblies are bookends, holding between them a variety of texts. A theme connects the volumes, but each is penned with the distinct flavor of a specific region. Sometimes, as was the case this year, there is a turn of events that leads to a surprise ending, or more accurately, to a still-evolving story line that we construct together. Mystery is the predominant genre.
As the LCWR presidency met with various Vatican councils and congregations shortly after Easter, our experiences paralleled those of the liturgical season recalling death and resurrection, persecution and a faith community committed to the Gospel, and Jesus’ greeting to his dispirited disciples, “fear not, I bring you peace.” We appreciate your prayers, words of wisdom, and encouragement as we continue to discern both “what is the new emerging?” and our response to the mandate given to LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.