LCWR

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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Update (January 2002)

LCWR Links America and the World in December 7 National Day of Contemplation 

By reports already received, The LCWR National Day of Contemplation and Fasting has linked LCWR members and others in prayer, not only across the United States but also around the world. By December 6th, the National Office was aware of 70 prayer gatherings held with all 15 LCWR regions represented. 

Just as with the LCWR National Day of Contemplation held in March 2001, messages of solidarity arrived from other countries. For example, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton, Canada sent a message of solidarity, indicating that communities in Haiti, Honduras and in many cities across Canada would hold prayers to mark Dec. 7th. In Rome, morning listeners to Radio Vatican heard an interview with LCWR president Kathleen Pruitt, CSJP, discuss the National Day of Contemplation.

In many parts of the United States, Communities joined in prayer at different moments in the day. Mary Ann Caufield, OP, Florida Mission Chapter (Adrian Dominicans) Prioress in West Palm Beach, FL, tells of gathering with 25 sisters and lay women for a morning prayer service with an hour of contemplative prayer, sharing and a simple meal. "At 1:30 everyone left with a renewed spirit and a promise to pray the Prayer for Restoration of Right Relationships," she recounted. In Broken Arrow, OK, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother held a two hour prayer service with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 7-9p.m. on Friday, December 7. "Parishioners from nearby parishes, some of our Associates and other sisters in the area joined us," noted provincial Dorothy Ann Dirkx. 

Please continue to send your reports and photos from your region’s prayer services to the National Office, as a fuller report on other prayers held across the country will be featured in the February edition of UPDATE (deadline for submissions is January 5, 2002) 
 

LCWR Benchmarks Study Results Published

Published under the title Women and Jurisdiction: An Unfolding Reality – The LCWR Study of Selected Church Leadership Roles, the results of the long-anticipated Benchmarks Study are now published. Now on sale, the book will be publicly launched in January 2002. 

Scholars who have reviewed the study prior to its public release offer high praise on the book’s back cover. "This important study shows that while scholars have been busy debating whether lay people can exercise jurisdiction in the Church, lay people have been busy exercising jurisdiction. Women and Jurisdiction provides a much needed look at the extent to which lay people are actually engaged in decision-making processes in the Catholic Church in the Untied States," says John P. Beal, Chair, Department of Canon Law at Catholic University of America. "Church leaders will ignore, at their peril, this compelling evidence of the gifts and the potential women already bring to leadership and governance in the Church," says John A. Coleman, SJ, Casassa Professor of Social Values, Loyola Marymount University. "A must read for every bishop in the United States!" 

Anne Munley, IHM, Benchmarks Research Task Force leader, has identified what sets this study apart from others concerning women in church ministry. "Women and Jurisdiction is the first empirical study of women’s experience in Church leadership roles which involve jurisdiction in decision–making affecting persons, Church property and ecclesiastical policy. The results of the study show that the women interviewed and surveyed do indeed exercise jurisdiction in decision-making. The findings also provide considerable detail about the contexts in which these women participate in governance and ways in which they influence the exercise of jurisdiction."

The Benchmarks Research Project Task Force was headed up by sociologist Anne Munley, IHM, former LCWR president and current president of the Sister, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Other task force members included specialists in pertinent fields to this study: Rosemary Smith, SC (canon law); Helen Maher Garvey, BVM (pastoral planning); Lois MacGillivray, SNJM (sociology) and Mary Milligan, RSHM (theology).

LCWR president Kathleen Pruitt, CSJP comments on the potential impact of this study. "Women and Jurisdiction builds on a vision of Church, which emphasized the call of baptism as that which disposes the faithful to exercise influence and leadership within the Church. This is a hopeful, energizing and dynamic look at influence and leadership in an ever-changing Church reality."

To order the book, call LCWR Publications at 1-800-207-7618 or use the order form enclosed in this mailing. 
 

LCWR 2002 Assembly Theme Chosen

"Leadership in Dynamic Tension" was chosen as the theme for the 2002 LCWR National Assembly at the LCWR Assembly Planning Committee meeting December 14-16 in Washington, DC. Speakers at the Assembly will include keynoter Mary Mahr,SSND, Provincial Councilor, Northeastern Province and poet David Whyte, author of The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Sould in Corporate America. 

With settlement of the NAACP lawsuit against the Adam’s Mark Hotels, LCWR will go ahead with plans to holds the 2002 Assembly August 17-21, 2002 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in St. Louis, MO. 
 

LCWR Vice President Participates in November 17 School of the Americas Protest

While military action continued in Afghanistan, sanctions remained imposed on Iraq, and scenes from September 11 stayed vivid, approximately 7000 protesters gathered in Columbus, Georgia, in the hope that our solidarity would release energy for peace, not just at the gates of Fort Benning, but around the world. In a year when popular opinion is dramatically swayed toward retaliatory bombing, it was good simply to be with thousands of people who believe that nonviolence is the only viable response to violence and that, in the words of buttons and bumper stickers coloring the procession, "peace is patriotic." 

For me, a first time participant in SOA and one who found being there particularly meaningful in the light of my last December’s pilgrimage to El Salvador, I was grateful to sit in the sun-soaked bleachers at Golden Park on Saturday morning, move to the rhythm of the music, listen to the testimonies of those who lost family members in the war in El Salvador, take in Roy Bourgeois’ affirmation that "there is more evidence linking the SOA with the murders in Central America than there is evidence linking Osama bin Laden with the U.S. terrorist attacks," and simply absorb the mysterious life processes that brought me here with such utter conviction. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was Saturday night when about 350 of the approximately 500 women religious present gathered at a United Methodist Church. There we prayed, sang, and listened to the stories of Mary Kay Flanigan and Rita Steinhagen who had been imprisoned for action at past SOA events. A phrase from Rita’s reflections stays with me, "You who have gathered here share the "burden of knowing."

On Sunday we participated in a miracle of sorts. It was only on Friday that Judge G. Mallon Faircloth ruled against the City of Columbus and for the SOA Watch. In the same Columbus courtroom where six months ago he sentenced 26 SOA Watch protestors to federal prison, Faircloth, rejecting an injunction sought by the City of Columbus and appealing to our First Amendment rights, ruled that we could conduct our symbolic funeral procession marching down Benning Road to the edge of the historic Army post. And, march we did. We processed for three hours in a reverential silence broken only by the continuous sung litany of the names of those murdered by SOA graduates and by our solemn response, "Presente." We processed toward the fence where we attached crosses, fresh flowers, and banners. Our action transformed the fence into a memorial wall for the victims and deepened our own resolve not to forget.

As the procession made its way down Benning Avenue toward the fence, I stepped out for awhile to take pictures of the stream of people behind me. They walked behind banners that read, Franciscan Sisters, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Providence, Dominican Sisters, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sisters of St. Agnes, Sisters of St. Joseph, Maryknoll Sisters, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters of Loretto, Sisters. . . . It was good to be there; it was good to be there with all of you.

Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM  
 


 

LCWR Year of Contemplation 2002  
Monthly Reflection:  
Mary Mollison, CSA

As we enter the Year of Contemplation 2002, the LCWR Executive Committee thought it might be helpful to have a brief focusing thought in each Update to remind us all of our commitment to a monthly Day of Contemplation.  Regions have made various plans on how to continue the practice.  The Spirit will "blow where She will" among us all. 

              January 2002 

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly."  Antoine de Saint-Exupery. 

Where is my heart being lead as  
I begin Year of Contemplation 2002? 

New Software Helps LCWR Reach Membership

On December 6 and 7, the LCWR membership learned of president Kathleen Pruitt’s Vatican Radio interview via a new National Office e-mail software that will enhance LCWR’s ability to swiftly communicate time-sensitive material to members. The World Merge software program enables the National Office to send "batch e-mails", thus making it possible to send messages to all 1, 350 LCWR members at one time. In addition to the speed of this method of communication, the $49 software will reduce postage costs and paper use.

If members do not wish to receive messages by e-mail or wish to change their e-mail address, please contact Pat Nash at the national office, pnash@lcwr.org. 
 

Global Concerns Committee reflects on September 11th

The Global Concerns Committee enjoyed unseasonably warm weather in the autumn landscape of the Bon Secours Spiritual Center for their meeting November 30-December 2. After sharing how they were affected by the attacks of September 11 and the "war on terrorism," the group designed an action by which LCWR members can speak with a corporate voice to urge U.S. political leaders to pursue peace. [See flyer in this mailing.] They also suggested a pre-Assembly event for 2002; reviewed implementation of Assembly resolutions; and planned issues of their publication, Resolutions to Action.

Committee members are Mary Brigid Clingman, OP; Marie Cooper, SJC; Shalini D’Souza, SCN; Toni Harris, OP; Maria Elena Martinez, OSF; Mary McGlone, CSJ; Aline Marie Steuer, CSC; and Judy Cannon, RSM (staff). 
 

LCWR Finance Committee Reviews 2002 Budget

The LCWR Finance Committee’s Fall meeting at the National Office in Silver Spring, MD was an opportunity to discuss the 2002 LCWR budget and ponder the implications of the present economy with the financial projections of the Leadership Conference

Agenda items discussed by the committee included recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding the 2002 LCWR Budget, a review of the LCWR Investment Portfolio with a Rittenhouse Financial Services representative and the LCWR Budget projections through 2004.

LCWR Finance Committee members are Mary Bernadette McNulty CSJ,(chairperson); Paulette Gladis, CSJ, (recording Secretary); Maureen Comer, OP; Bonnie Morrow, DHS; Mary Jo Shingler, PHJC; and Eleanor Granger, OSF (LCWR staff). Jackie Kelly, LCWR Business Manager, joined the group for a portion of the budget discussion.

The next Finance Committee will be held in St. Louis MO. at the Carondelet Center, April 26-28, 2002. 
 

LCWR Send a Peace Prayer Initiative Launched

The Global Concerns Committee is promoting an LCWR campaign to ask our government to seek and implement peaceful responses to terrorism in the world. Based on our 1999 successful "Send a Prayer" campaign of writing to international finance ministers to urge debt cancellation, this is a request to our own national leaders. The committee chose the week of February 5-10, 2002, because the days following the World Day for Consecrated Life are a particularly appropriate time to make our voices heard in a prophetic call. The flyer included in this mailing can be duplicated for broad distribution. The Global Concerns Committee will invite your reports on this action at a later date. 
 

2001 CMSM-LCWR Assembly Resolution in Congressional Record

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) caused the LCWR-CMSM Joint Assembly resolution opposing trafficking in women and children to be read into the Congressional Record November 29. Congressman Smith held a hearing of the International Relations Committee on the implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, signed into law in 2000. He noted, "What we need to make this law work are ‘true believers’ who will spare no effort to mobilize the resources and the prestige of the United States government to implement this important Act and shut down this terrible industry, which routinely and grossly violates the most fundamental human rights of the world’s most vulnerable people." 
 

Assembly Follow-Up On Implementation of Maquiladoras Resolution

In table conversations at the 2001 Assembly LCWR members reported on their implementation of the 2000 Assembly resolution to "be informed and work actively for the improvement of the living, working, and environmental conditions of our 1.2 million brothers and sisters (ages 16-25) who work in maquiladora manufacturing facilities along the Mexico-U.S. border and in other sweatshop conditions."

Members reported that:

· 65 of them stressed education through the use of media, meetings and committees.

· 54 members reported advocacy work in regard to sweatshops which included consciousness of buying patterns, boycotts, and the development of corporate stances.

· 40 respondents promoted border experiences with visits to maquiladoras or sweatshops.

· 32 made socially responsible investments, particularly with Interfaith Committee for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

· 29 had engaged in lobbying activities including letter writing and demonstrations.

· 29 gave financial support to missions that serve people working in sweatshops.

· 27 gave financial assistance to workers, made alternative investments or underwrote educational programs for people working in sweatshops.

For a quick analysis of how you are involved with maquilas:

1. Look at the labels in your clothing. In what country were your clothes made? What do you know about the working conditions of the people who made them for you?

2. Where do you most frequently shop? What do you know about the stores’ purchasing policies? What do you know about the extent of workers’ rights enjoyed by their employees?

3. Do you have social guidelines for your investment managers? Do you use your proxy votes to influence companies to develop socially responsible policies?

4. Does your social justice committee keep your congregation aware of ongoing issues in regard to the people exploited by the maquiladoras? 
 

For Your Information

Chaos on the U.S. – Mexico Border: A Report on Migrant Crossing Deaths, Immigrant Families and Subsistence-Level Laborers, a 100-page report published in November 2001 by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, puts a human face on immigration laws through case studies and legal analysis. It is an excellent tool for study and action implementing the 2001 Joint CMSM-LCWR Assembly resolution on immigration. The report is available on the web site www.cliniclegal.org or by phone (202) 635-2556.  
 

Hunger No More is a new resource is available from Bread for the World for adult education and action around hunger and poverty. A cooperative effort of the hunger programs of major Christian, Jewish and Islamic organizations, the six-session study materials help people become informed of decisions that will be made by our government in 2002 that will affect hungry and poor people for years to come. The materials include a Leader's Guide for adults/youth, hunger resources for children and fact sheets on hunger and poverty in the U.S. For information, go to www.bread.org.  
 

Think Tank V on Systemic Change

There are still spaces available for the fifth Think Tank on Systemic Change, from 6:00 p.m. February 10 – noon, February 12, 2001 in Tampa, Florida. Topics to be discussed: How can religious leaders respond to events such as those on September 11? Promote nonviolence? Embrace our multiculturalism? To register, see the Think Tank registration form in the October UPDATE mailing or phone Jane Boland, OP, 608-748-4411 Ext. 255. Registration deadline extended to January 11, 2002.

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