The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) offers its congratulations and heartfelt prayer to Pope Francis as he assumes the papacy at this critical time for the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio demonstrated great dedication to the mission of the Church during his leadership in Argentina. As he serves in the papacy, we trust that his many gifts will continue to be spent on behalf of the universal church, and most especially for people who live in poverty in all parts of the world.
[Silver Spring, MD] The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) thanks Pope Benedict XVI for his many years of tireless service to the Catholic Church and for the contributions he has made as a theologian, as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as pope. We respect his integrity in making what must have been a difficult decision to resign and promise him our prayer as he prepares to leave the papacy. May he be richly blessed for his profound dedication to the service of the Gospel.
[Silver Spring, MD] The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) welcomes the release of the bipartisan proposal by Senators Schumer (D-NY), McCain (R-AZ), Durbin (D-IL), Graham (R-SC), Menendez (D-NJ), Rubio (R-FL),Bennet (D-CO) and Flake (R-AZ) and President Obama’s pledge to work with Congress to fix our nation’s broken immigration system.
As LCWR continues to respond to the process of the doctrinal assessment, I have frequently callled to mind Einstein’s assertion that it is impossible to solve any problem with the same mindset that created it. That thought carries a challenge. First of all, our own mindsets are usually quite invisible to us. How do we personally and collectively touch into and live from a new consciousness capable of transcending our blind spots?
'Blessed are the Peacemakers' Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the World Day of Peace
For over 45 years the pope has issued a message calling for world peace at the beginning of each New Year, traditionally released on December 8th. However, this year Pope Benedict’s message was delayed until December 14th, the day America was consumed with grief over the murder of 20 innocent first graders and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Seen through the eyes of this tragedy, Benedict’s open paragraph takes on poignant meaning:
The tragedy of the past days has called the nation into a period of mourning. We are all deeply affected by the killings in Newtown, Connecticut. Perhaps it was the thought of first graders suffering such brutality, innocent children enduring trauma just before Christmas. Perhaps it was the tragedy of yet another young person losing complete control while suffering from mental illness. Perhaps it is the poignant reminder that every day in urban areas, children are gunned down, often by other children. There is much to mourn, but mourning is not enough. The killing must stop.
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.