[Denver, CO] Leaders of US orders of Catholic sisters met in Denver, Colorado from August 1 to 4 to explore key questions facing religious life today. Meeting in assembly, approximately 700 members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) spent the days engaging with speakers and in conversation with one another on issues of theology, spirituality and the future of religious life. The meeting also included some joint sessions with approximately 120 members of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM).
Both conferences heard theologian and professor Sister Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ who explored the wisdom contained in the Nicene Creed through the light of contemporary theology. She noted that the creed reveals that “the indescribable mystery of the living God is unimaginably near, offering merciful love in the midst of our darkness, injustice, sin, and death.” In saying “We believe,” she noted, “we are reaching out to this Love with our whole being, risking a relationship that has the power to transform our lives. And we are doing so together, as a community.”
Johnson noted the new insights about creation that are coming through contemporary scientific discovery: that the “world was not made once for all in a static way, but has evolved through a dazzling array of forms to the state we inhabit today.” This knowledge shows that “the Maker of heaven and earth is still in business” and “far from being created merely as an instrument to serve human needs, the natural world enjoys its own intrinsic value before God.” She also stated that the creed affirms that “the Maker of heaven and earth did not rest content with simply creating, but at a given point in time also became personally a child of Earth.” The gospel story of Jesus provides two major insights: that “the following of Jesus raises up a terrific countercultural challenge” and that Jesus “did not come to die but to live and help others live in the joy of divine love. Jesus’ suffering, she said, is “the way the gracious God has chosen to enter into solidarity with all those who suffer and are lost in this violent world, thereby opening up the promise of new life.” This belief, Johnson said, “impels Christians to enter the list of those who struggle against injustice for the well-being of those who suffer.”