Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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Update (Newsletter)

LCWR publishes a monthly newsletter for its members, entitled Update. Copies of the newsletter are available below.

Update (Feb. 2010)

On the verge of entering  a new liturgical season, Lent, and Ash Wednesday, its initiating day of focus for the weeks to come, we cannot help but hear the call to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These challenges bring us back to God at our center, our willingness to let go of those things that bind us in un-freedoms and our call to a communal focus of the needs of others. It’s that continuing call to a deeper conversation of heart, mind, and action.

Update (Jan. 2010)

The officers and national office of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious have received many letters from organizations and individuals expressing support as both the apostolic visitation of US women religious and the doctrinal assessment of LCWR continue.

Update (December 2009)

This issue coincides with the liturgical season of Advent — a time of waiting, a season rich in story and symbols, a holding of the tensions between what has been and that which is yet to come as we continue to birth new life. This Advent is particularly poignant for those of us holding membership in the LCWR, but Mary’s story is one in which we can both rest and gain strength for the future.

Update (November 2009)

Last year at this time, November 2008, we were immersed in headlines that surrounded us on a daily, if not moment by moment basis. It was the time of the US national election for President and the fall conventions were surprising in their results as well as their cultural shifts. The election of Barack Obama was a turn of the tide in our history as not just age but racial lines were crossed in the search for hope and peace with a “yes, we can” attitude of previous eras.

Update (October 2009)

On August 15 we traveled from the New Orleans LCWR Assembly back to our communities with hearts uplifted by the gracious Spirit of God that consistently prompts us to creative service. We were inspired by the leadership efforts to heal our beleaguered brothers and sisters devastated by Katrina. We heard the stories of our Sisters leading the recovery activities of the city, serving the church with invincible patience at the Vatican, and recreating the stories of our founding Women of Spirit. In deep conversatio, we pondered the current Vatican inquiries into our lives.

Update (August/September 2009)

In my presentation to the 2008 LCWR national assembly, I spoke of how midwives deliver new life, pass on to others what they have learned, and then step back so that others can lead. The time has come for me to step aside as others step up to lead our conference. As I write my final column, various feelings bubble up, particularly gratitude for the privilege of serving the conference.  

Update (August/September 2009)

In my presentation to the 2008 LCWR national assembly, I spoke of how midwives deliver new life, pass on to others what they have learned, and then step back so that others can lead. The time has come for me to step aside as others step up to lead our conference. As I write my final column, various feelings bubble up, particularly gratitude for the privilege of serving the conference.  

Update (July 2009)

The work of leadership these past six months has had a unique and historical challenge with the announcement of the Apostolic Visitation of women’s congregations by The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) and the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)

Update (June 2009)

The paradoxes of mission that Jesus presents in the Beatitudes as well as in the mystery of death and Resurrection could contextualize our perplexing situation in the church now. We might not fathom that the potential implications of an apostolic visitation and doctrinal assessment can also be meeting points of Cross, Resurrection, and mission.

Update (May 2009)

These are unprecedented times for us, leaders and women religious, who strive to respond to recent Vatican initiatives that affect women religious across the United States. Many feelings well up and swirl around our attempts to find ways to respond to what has come as a surprise. Regional gatherings and circles of quiet prayer ground and center us. Together we create a safe context for discerning how best to respond to the events that unfold even as I write this column.

Update (April 2009)

With a deep breath I begin this reflection. There have been so many agendas claiming attention these most recent days. Agendas within the Church and our world, within our congregations, within the lives of our sisters and those they serve… agendas within my own life as it is touched by all of these concerns.

Update (March 2009)

Through the liturgical year, we traverse the mystical reality of the Word Incarnate, the baptism of Jesus, and ordinary time. Slowly now – lento -- we move through the stories of the death of Jesus, a season for soul-reflection.

Update (February 2009)

Bold headlines, scrawled across the top of this morning’s newspaper, highlight a fragile economic climate around the globe. Many leaders of religious communities wonder how our assets can be stretched to care for members and to support ministry to those most affected by poverty. A new president promises to boost the economy by shoring up bridges and roads. If his strategy is effective, bridge-building may sustain many during this economic roller-coaster ride.      

Update (January 2009)

This month marks a major change for those of us who live here in the United States. We have the completion of the term of one President and the inauguration of another. For about two years we have been immersed in the prenomination, nomination, convention, and election process for this new national administration.

Update (December 2008)

The Sufi mystic and musician, Hazat Inayat Khan, wrote:

A person who, alone, has seen something beautiful, who has heard something harmonious, who has tasted something delicious, who has smelled something fragrant, may have enjoyed it, but not completely. The complete joy is in sharing one’s joy with others.

Update (November 2008)

While attending a meetingin Pennsylvania, I hadan opportunity to visitGettysburg, a site of a CivilWar that scarred our country and lefthundreds of thousands of soldiers dead,wounded, or missing. There on thebattlefield I grieved the loss of so manylives in a conflict that tore a union apart.Standing on the ground where AbrahamLincoln addressed a splintered nation,I glimpsed something of the impact ofa courageous president’s efforts to healdivisions, end the Civil War, free those enslaved, andredirect the attention of individual states toward thegood of the whole.

Update (October 2008)

Over the course of this summer many of us, as individuals or as congregations and organizations, have been through some major transitions. LCWR, too, has had major changes and this summer’s assembly process has set the stage for more.

Update (August/September 2008)

Almost three years ago I was “elected into” one of the most remarkable experiences of my life—the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. From my perspective, the only appropriate theme for my last letter is “thank you."

Update (July 2008)

In the October 2006 issue of LCWR Update, Carole Shinnick wrote an article entitled “Did You Ever Thank the Angels In Your Life?” As I write this column, I am aware of an “angel” who will transition out of her position as executive director of LCWR after our August assembly. Carole has given a total of nine years to LCWR, six years as executive director and the prior three years as secretary of LCWR. As you read my reflection, I invite you to pause to appreciate this “angel” in our lives.

Update (June 2008)

In the May issue of Update you found coverage of the LCWR officers’ meetings with Vatican officials in Rome. The written word gave an excellent overview of the sessions. The colorful photos included some of the women and men with whom we met and also shared informal time together.

Update (May 2008)

In early April the LCWR presidency and executive director, along with the executive committee of CMSM, traveled to Rome for our annual visit to the Vatican offices. Perhaps because this was my last visit, I was more conscious of the Scripture readings as our small “community of believers” gathered to celebrate Eucharist each day. Over the course of the week, we prayed over and listened to vivid stories of post-Resurrection encounters and the struggles of an emerging church.

Update (April 2008)

This is an exciting time for my community as we partner with a developer to renovate our motherhouse and to develop our land into the Village of St. Mary’s. Having explored a variety of alternatives for our future, historic designation of our buildings and senior housing tax credits will enable us to remain on our property and open up our space to others. We are well on the way to creating a master plan for the use of our land.

Update (March 2008)

Easter is early this year. We have heard it said many times that the Christmas tree was just taken to the back porch and we were in procession to receive ashes on our foreheads.

Update (February 2008)

I am writing this reflection in the afterglow of holidays and New Year’s resolutions. From talk shows to ordinary conversations, everyone seems caught up in the desire to lose weight, become fit, and make healthy life choices. For us as religious, especially those in leadership, the “resolution of choice” often has more to do with slowing down and getting off the treadmill of activity and busyness. Easier said...

Update (January 2008)

On a chilly afternoon in midNovember between LCWR meetings and the US bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, Lora  Dambroski and I headed for Annapolis, Maryland, to do a bit of sightseeing. We walked the streets of this historic city unaware that within two weeks these same streets would buzz with reporters who would be covering important conversations about peace in the Middle East.


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