8-10-12 – The LCWR Assembly concluded today with a statement concerning the CDF Doctrinal Assessment. See NCR Online for more information: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/lcwr-will-proceed-discussion-might-reconsider-options.
8-9-12 – Thursday began with a Dominican gathering to share breakfast and conversation. Sister Kathleen Cour, OP described it as “a good opportunity to touch base with Dominican family and glean added insight and wisdom on the many facets of life and ministry we all share.” Following the Dominican breakfast gathering, the entire assembly entered into prayer and began another full day
A panel of presenters, including Tom C. Fox and Jamie L. Manson of National Catholic Reporter and Jennifer Gordon, SCL of the Religious Formation Conference, addressed the question “Religious Life in the Future: What Might it Look Like?” The panelists said Sisters ought to embrace who they are, focus on the gift they are to the Church and continue to be a deep blessing to one another and those on the margins whom they serve. They encouraged the Sisters to discern whether their decisions are made “with peacefulness intact” and that if there is risk involved, it is “risk on behalf of generosity of spirit.” The panelists urged Sisters to “continue to listen to the Spirit through multiple lenses” and named women religious as the authentic voice of the people of God.
The afternoon was devoted to executive meetings including votes on the resolutions addressing human trafficking and immigration, as well as further dialogue/feedback regarding the CDF Assessment. LCWR leadership is expected to issue a press release sometime today concerning response to the CDF Assessment.
Summarizing the day, Sister Kathleen said, “There is a strong spirit of hope and solidarity among all gathered, and we continue to feel and be so aware of your prayers and support. We are in the midst of a graced moment in our history as women religious and we hold that moment in great trust. You are with us on this journey.”
8-8-12 – Today began with Eucharist celebrating St. Dominic. Before the opening prayer, Mary Hughes, OP (Amityville), most recent past president of LCWR, gave a brief but powerful reflection on Dominic’s life and continuing message for our times.
“The opening prayer for the day was also very fitting to the Dominican feast as well as the communal discernment we are about these days, focusing on the search for truth and invoking the Holy Spirit,” Sister Kathlyn Mulcahy, OP said.
Barbara Marx Hubbard gave the keynote address during the morning and early afternoon. Her empowering and hope-filled message to us is summarized in this article in the National Catholic Reporter: http://ncronline.org/news/women-religious/keynote-lcwr-seed-bed-21st-century.
Members of the press are present and very interested in the conference proceedings. At a scheduled press conference during the morning break, Sister. Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP spoke along with others to share background information on the history of religious life.
The later afternoon was dedicated to LCWR business matters. Two resolutions were presented for discussion: one on human trafficking and the second on immigration reform. Voting on those resolutions will be held today. Executive board positions will also be voted on this afternoon. Sister Barbara Blesse, OP is nominated to renew her commitment as LCWR secretary. In the evening, an executive session was held, continuing a process of communal discernment.
Sister Kathlyn says the leadership team has truly felt the powerful effects of the prayers being offered by others. “We know you are with us in spirit as we continue in a stance of contemplative discernment during these days.”
8-7-12 -The atmosphere inside the LCWR Assembly is one of solidarity, hopefulness, peace and joy. Sister Rose Marie Riley, OP, Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, says she feels a profound sense of peace, knowing that God’s Spirit is guiding the gathering. “At my table, and I believe at others, hope was readily expressed yesterday, as was a desire to accept and honor diversity within the Church, to support and continue to walk with the laity, and to recognize the giftedness of women in the Church.
The Sisters received a warm welcome in St. Louis yesterday, as they arrived at the Millennium Hotel and were greeted by well-wishers holding signs which read “We support our Sisters!” and We love you, Sisters!” The huge banquet room where the meetings are taking place is lined with at least 100 tables, every one of which holds letters of support sent to LCWR by individuals or groups.
Sister Rose Marie finds these shows of support encouraging as the Sisters come together and ask God’s Spirit to open their hearts. With 900 Sisters in attendance, the atmosphere is charged with energy. The seriousness of the occasion is palpable and was made clear in LCWR President Pat Farrell’s opening remarks. She reminded the Sisters that they are there for their Congregations, their Church, their human family and the whole of life on the planet. Still, the goal of these days, Sister Rose Marie says, is not to formulate a well-developed plan but to gain clarity. Recognizing the Divine Presence in their midst, the Sisters hope to continue these meetings in a spirit of openness and hopefulness.
8-7-12 – Our prayers are with the Sisters on our leadership team as they attend the Leadership Conference of Women Religious Assembly the week.
Sisters Hope for Dialogue in Rome: Steven Spearie’s interview with Sr. Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP in the State Journal-Register, 6-3-12.
Updates to follow throughout the week.