Written on: September 10, 2014
Sisters serving in Leadership for the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart attended the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The meeting was held from August 12 to 15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is comprised of nearly 14,000 Catholic sisters who serve as leaders of their congregations. The group represents about 80% of the more than 50,000 women religious in the United States.
Sister Julia Lanigan, President, and Council members Sisters Diane Bardol, Cecelia Cosgrove, Dawn Gear and Mary Elizabeth Looby were among the nearly 800 women religious gathered to pray, contemplate and discuss issues of faith, vocation, conscience and leadership in the face of a Vatican ordered doctrinal assessment, ongoing since 2009.
The assembly theme, Holy Mystery Revealed in our Midst, encouraged the attending sisters to be aware of how Holy Mystery is revealed in their lives as they discern ways to serve God and the Church in today’s world.
During the assembly, the sisters addressed issues of religious life, ecology, Christian history, immigration, social and economic justice and the evolving global future.
LCWR officers updated members on their work with the bishops appointed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The sister speakers emphasized the moral imperative to live their vocations in accordance with Gospel values and to maintain integrity as vowed religious while cooperating with the work of the Vatican. LCWR members entrusted the Board to continue the conversation with Vatican church leadership. At the conclusion of the meeting, the board issued the following statement:
“Our study, discernment and prayer led us to reaffirm our strong belief that ongoing conversation with church leadership is key to building effective working relationships that enable both women religious and church leaders to serve the world. It is our deepest hope to resolve the situation between LCWR and CDF in a way that fully honors our commitment to fulfill the LCWR mission as well as protect the integrity of the organization.
“We will continue in the conversation with Archbishop Sartain as an expression of hope that new ways may be created within the church for healthy discussion of differences. We know thousands of persons throughout the country and around the world long for places where they can raise questions and explore ideas on matters of faith in an atmosphere of freedom and respect. We believe that the ongoing conversations between CDF and LCWR may model a way of relating that only deepens and strengthens our capacity to serve a world in desperate need of our care and service.”