In December 2008, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) made the decision to conduct an Apostolic Visitation with the institutes of women religious in the United States which engage in apostolic ministry. This visitation had four stages and the process took place between 2009 and 2012. This morning in Rome, CICLSAL issued their final report in a Vatican press conference.
Overall, the comments from those presenting at the Press Conference reflected a positive tone. Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP (Prioress General of Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL) said she is grateful for the realistic portrayal of women religious in the United States and the recognition of their witness to the Gospel through prayer, ministry and communal efforts. Sister Rebecca Ann noted,”The rich diversity of charisms and the expressions of these charisms among women religious congregations was identified well and the challenges we now face were not denied. Recommendations from CICLSAL for further growth and the deepening of our consecrated life were not unlike those that our congregation often addresses in our local Conventual Chapters, General Assemblies and General Chapters. This in itself is an affirmation of our desire to live our call with integrity and active hope; being mindful of God’s abundance in our lives and our responsibilities that come with such blessings.”
In a personal message to the Springfield Dominican Sisters, Sister Rebecca Ann said, “Let us REJOICE, for we have been called by our God into this life where we are one in the unity of the Spirit and co-creators of God’s reign. Centering our lives in Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, we walk into the mystery unfolding before us. We are truly grateful that you share with us the mission of Jesus to proclaim the Good News.”
She invites all to take time to prayerfully reflect on the final report in the context of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians:
Sisters and Brothers:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and will also accomplish it.
A PDF copy of the final report of the Vatican’s Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on the apostolic visitation of US women religious may be found below, as well as the text of the remarks made during the press conference.
Click here to read the Report of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation of US Women Religious on the LCWR.org along with remarks made at the press conference.