We have framed our reflections, vision, and directions this year with the challenge of Midwiving a Vibrant Future. At the 2008 assembly Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ reawakened our spiritual call to Climb the Holy Mountains before us in our present reality as religious leaders.

The challenge to midwife was clearly laid before us with the presidential address of Mary Whited, CPPS. We heard, “How do we ‘midwife’ religious life into a future that is unfolding even as we assemble? How do we encourage our members to hold on to what is needed and to let go of what is not essential so that we are freer to climb? Can we risk conversing about the hopes and fears that stir in our hearts?  Are there other mountains we need to be climbing? Are the mountains we are scaling worth the climb?”

Hebrew midwives, Puah and Shiprah, companioned our work as a conference looking for the stirrings of new life. From a midwife’s perspective, we were challenged to lead in a graced manner, indeed challenging a cultural stance that could easily be individualistic, thoughtless, and withdrawn.

The Shared Futures process stretched us to risk new thinking and yet to retain what is core to who we are. The national board and regional focus on this brings us to a new place of discernment at our 2009 assembly.

Regions were intent on looking at ways in which we could stir new life as leaders seeing potential in places not tried before. By sharing our ideas and Midwiving New Life…J Lora Dambroski, OSF — President Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA — President-ElectMary Whited, CPPS — Past President resources, we learned the extended meaning of communal. We took our joint LCWR/CMSM resolution on climate change and moved in concrete ways to reduce our carbon footprints to protect all of God’s creation.

The Women & Spirit history project came off the planning boards, opening in Cincinnati, Ohio, with the Smithsonian, Ellis Island and other sites on the horizon.

Reframing difficult realities into situations of hope. As the apostolic visitation of congregations of women religious in the United States was announced by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, we were true to our contemplative approach to realities before us. We encouraged our members to participate in the visitations and to tell our own stories.

Leading  from a midwife’s perspective — a communal, reconciling, contemplative, and hopeful perspective. The call rings in our ears and in our hearts as we are engaged in a doctrinal assessment of the LCWR initiated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. With the prayerful and strong support of one another, we are proud to represent LCWR from a place of integrity open to the lead of the Spirit of God. 

Thank you for midwiving hope and life on this year’s journey and the climb of one more Holy Mountain!   (Women & Spirit, indeed!)


J Lora Dambroski, OSF — President
Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA — President-Elect
Mary Whited, CPPS — Past President

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