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.
Economic Justice Advocacy Critically Needed: NETWORK continues to assert that the budget is a moral document and that the spending and revenue outlined therein reflect our nation’s values. Women religious strongly support the “preferential option for the poor” and are, therefore, advocating to ensure that the budget preserves the social safety net so essential to those most in need...
Walking Together in Service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
A few weeks ago I attended the opening of the final stop of the Women & Spirit traveling museum exhibit in Sacramento. It was a glorious occasion, a bittersweet celebration, knowing that this excellent exhibit would not continue past June, but that more than a million people have learned about the contributions women religious have made to the growth of the United States.
Approximately 90 women religious leaders from the United States and Canada attended the recent LCWR New Leader Workshop held in Mundelein, Illinois from March 15 to 20.
Nancy Schreck, OSF served as the workshop facilitator, as well as a presenter, and was joined by faculty members: Janice Bader, CPPS; Judy Carey, RSM; Simone Campbell, SSS; Lynn Jarrell, OSU; and Lynn Levo, CSJ.
This issue of Occasional Papers focuses on how we take in new information and create an openness for seeing and understanding “the new” which God is doing. What does it take to live in the world today where much of what seemed certain and secure is no longer such, and where divisions in ways of thinking and perceiving seem to be separating us? What are the unique challenges to religious leaders during these times? How can women religious leaders best engage their members in inquiries that stretch their capacity to be transformed by new learning and new ways of comprehending the action of God?
Gathering in the desert at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Tucson, Arizona, the LCWR national board met to discuss some of the essential issues facing US religious life and the conference, and to conduct its regular business.
The meeting, held from February 19 to 23, covered a wide range of topics pertinent to LCWR and religious life leadership. In addition to reports from the presidency, the LCWR regions, the LCWR staff, and various committees, the agenda included discussion of the some of the key questions facing religious life leaders today.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is grateful that President Obama and the administration listened to the concerns raised about providing effective healthcare coverage in a way that respects and honors the conscience rights of religious institutions. We believe the resolution the President made is a fair and helpful way for us to move forward.