This will be my last column for Update as my tenure in the office of the presidency comes to completion at the August 2021 assembly. As I recall the last three years in service to you, I do so with deep gratitude and joy.
In reflecting upon the themes of our assemblies these past three years, I am reminded of our call to the horizons of religious life as we take each step into mystery unfolding:
As I sit down to write this reflection, it is almost one year ago that the COVID pandemic was upon us and we were staying safe at home. And then, in May, the murder of George Floyd brought us face-to-face with the pandemic of racism.
As summer ends and schools reopen, LCWR enters a new year following our annual culminating gathering at the August assembly. Like so many other things in this age of pandemic, the 2020 assembly was like none other in our 64-year history. More than 1000 gathered in virtual space, experiencing both the bane (technology glitches) and the gift (safe togetherness) of that medium.
On July 10, 2020, the national board of LCWR unanimously affirmed a call to place the conference on a five-year journey to address systemic racism and white privilege. The call emerged from an open and honest conversation held among leaders of LCWR and the National Black Sisters’ Conference.
Let Us Be Living Sankofas by Sharlet Wagner, CSC -- LCWR Past-President
While I was living in Ghana I discovered the rich world of symbol in that country’s history and culture. One of the Ghanaian symbols that spoke to me deeply was the Sankofa, a word meaning literally, “Go back and get it.” The Sankofa (pronounced SAN-koh-fah) symbol is a bird with an egg held gently in its beak. The bird’s feet and body are facing forward, while its head is turned, looking backward.
Just after Easter, as I sat looking out my bedroom window, I could see the signs of spring vividly blooming in the bougainvillea, gazanias, hibiscus, and many other flowers whose names I don’t know! This beauty was a bit disquieting to me as I sat with the growing river of feelings that continually swirl within.
The topic most capturing my attention these days is intercultural living. Our congregation has long had women from other-than-the- dominant culture entering, specifically, Chinese, Filipina, and Latina. These women were the minority within their “bands” and assimilated into the congregational culture over the years.
Emmanuel, God-With-Us, Here and Now, Today and Tomorrow
by Carol Zinn, SSJ - LCWR Executive Director
As I’ve journeyed through these Advent days of holy waiting and watching, preparing for the feast of the Incarnation with eyes focused on a new calendar year filled with Epiphanies, the experience of the 2019 LCWR Assembly remains with me. The speakers and processes invited us to:
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.
As I sit down to write this column, it has been one month since our wonderful assembly in Scottsdale. Since that time, I’ve been in numerous energizing and stimulating dialogues about all that transpired during those short, yet impactful days together.
As I reflect on this past year as president-elect for LCWR, I’m filled with gratitude. Clearly, as religious life leaders, we live in a time that provides numerous opportunities for deep transformation of ourselves and our institutes. As I reflect on this year, some key words surface: listening, engaging, energizing, expansive, communion, letting go, and leaning in.
Canon law is not a topic that typically causes the eyes of women religious to light up. It is generally seen as dry and dogmatic, with a focus more on rules than on spirit and heart. I recently told some of our sisters that I find a great deal of wisdom and inspiration in the Code of Canon Law. They looked at me in a way that suggests they were mentally making plans to have me assessed for early-onset dementia!