Leadership Conference of Women Religious New Frontiers of Challenge for Religious Life

[Kansas City, MO]  The leaders of US orders of Catholic sisters met in Kansas City, Missouri from August 1 to 4 to explore the unique challenges facing religious life. Meeting in assembly, approximately 750 members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) spent the days engaging with speakers and in conversation with one another around key issues impacting religious life today.

Speakers called the assembly to speak boldly and courageously about the state of religious life and its mission in the Catholic church and world. Keynoter Sister Laurie Brink, OP urged the leaders to move beyond indecision about the direction of religious life. “If we do not make a decision about who we are and who we want to be, the decision will be made for us.” She named three challenges facing religious life today: recognizing the various directions being taken by women religious now, evaluating which of these will foster the life and charism of religious congregations, and moving headlong into the direction that religious choose. She named four directions in which religious congregations are moving: death with dignity, acquiescence to others’ expectations, sojourning in a new land not yet known, and reconciliation for the sake of the mission.

LCWR president Sister Mary Dacey, SSJ also addressed three of the frontiers facing religious:  global spirituality, dialogue, and persons who are poor. In facing these areas of challenge and ministry she noted that religious leaders must be clear about who they stand with and who they stand for. “You must say the truth that others cannot hear;” she urged, “you must articulate the hope that cannot be imagined.”