Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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December 2019

 In Hopeful Expectation


 by Elise Garcia, OP -- LCWR President-Elect

As we enter this season of Advent in hopeful expectation of the new life that Mary will soon birth, the nations of the world gather in Madrid for their 25th year of climate talks, with the window for meaningful action fast closing.

These last weeks of 2019 bring us to the brink of the last remaining decade in humanity’s brief span on Earth when our actions, or inactions, will determine the fate of the Earth community. Will we carve a new evolutionary path* for the common good of all? Or sentence the new life in all the “Marys” of the world – and millions of other species – to irreversible climate chaos and its unimaginable consequences?

The coming 2020s also mark a decade when religious life in the United States will undergo massive change, with the window for meaningful action also fast closing. We face a similar opportunity to carve a new evolutionary path for the future unfolding of religious life. The steps we leaders take now will make all the difference to the birthing of new life that the younger sisters, or “Marys,” in our congregations are now carrying.

The parallels of peril and promise, although on very different orders of magnitude, are striking. It will take the same kind of awareness and shift in consciousness in both arenas to negotiate the challenging years ahead. The shift begins by recognizing that most of us in leadership today will not be alive to experience the consequences of our action, or inaction, in the near future of religious or Earthly life.

We who are entrusted with leadership positions today are largely “Elizabeths” – women in advancing years with surprising fecundity. Like the “Marys” in our congregations, we “Elizabeths” are also called to birth the new. We share with our “Marys” a common ancestry and faith tradition, a deep love for one another and a Spirit-centered life. And the new life in each of us is to be given over for the common good of the whole.


But we face very different futures. (to continue reading, download the document below)

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