Background: The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has more than 1500 members, who represent more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. In April, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) called for reform of the LCWR and named Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle as its Archbishop Delegate for the initiative. Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield (IL) were also named to assist in this effort. LCWR’s leadership has asked for prayers as it begins its discussion of the CDF’s conclusions and the implementation plan put forth by that Vatican office.
On May 17, 2012 the Board of Directors and staff of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest issued a letter of support and gratitude for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Since the first Jesuit Volunteers (JVs) answered the call to service and ministry in Copper Valley, Alaska, in 1956, JVs have been inspired and supported by women religious. It would be impossible to tell the story of JVC Northwest without recalling and celebrating the compassionate, prophetic, and heroic work of women religious who have collaborated with us throughout the past five decades. Drawing on the strength that community brings, we invite our friends, supporters, former Jesuit Volunteers, and partner agencies to join us in intentional acts of celebration and solidarity for US women religious. Here are some ways to get involved:
- Share stories, memories, or photos of women religious you worked with while you were a Jesuit Volunteer. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion in future newsletters or web pages.
- Write directly to an individual sister or community to express your thanks for their good work
- Write to your bishop or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to express your support for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
- Make a financial contribution to a community of religious sisters that is dedicated to a particular social or ecological justice issue that holds special meaning for you
- Educate yourself about the mission of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
- Stay informed through publications such as: National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, and America, and on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Finally, we ask our friends and supporters to join us in praying for US women religious, for Archbishop Sartain and his fellow bishops, and for all women and men of the church. May we be guided by the Holy Spirit to proclaim and enact Christ’s good news, as expressed in the words of Luke’s gospel in LCWR’s Call for 2010-2015:
The Spirit of God is upon us. God has anointed us to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, to bring recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim this, our age, is a time of God’s favor. (Based on Luke 4: 18-19)