Praying with texts describing the days of the early church — texts often read during the Easter season – can lead us to wonder what it was like to live in this time of new birth. The courage, the generosity, and the living faith of the early disciples were extraordinary. That time can lead us to recall the conversations that generated so much excitement in the days following the Second Vatican Council. There was a heightened emphasis upon the study of both charisms and scripture. There was an eagerness to experiment and to deepen our fidelity to religious life. There were renewed efforts at courage and generosity and new expressions of living faith.
The circumstances of our recent lives brought challenges, many of which surprised us. Some challenges were hurtful. This year, however, has been a year of honoring. The Women & Spirit exhibit continues to draw hundreds of thousands to learn the stories of Catholic sisters in America. LCWR has received an honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco. The American Catholic Historical Association honored LCWR as did the National Federation of Priests’ Councils with its Mandatum Award. In the same week we might be attending a reception at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC to celebrate the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI and the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Our visits to offices in Rome yielded new hope. We dare to hope for a rebirth of relationships.
Our voices have always been present. Now, more than ever, we are being recognized as having voices that matter. Our fidelity to the principles of Catholic social teaching has been consistent and clear, if not always understood. We have reached a new depth in our process of renewal and we are speaking in ways that continue to require courage, generosity, and new expressions of living faith. We are speaking with solidarity, with joy, and with conviction. At the same time, may we always speak with humility, with truth, and with holiness. How else will we perceive what God is doing in our midst?
Mary Hughes, OPLCWR President
Pat Farrell, OSFLCWR President-Elect
Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPALCWR Past President