When the 2009 LCWR Assembly Planning Committee chose in September of last year to focus the assembly on the chaos of these times, little did they know the additional chaos that awaited! The ground has been shifting dramatically during the ensuing months, making the need to live with trust, hope, and creativity ever more urgent.

In this issue of The Occasional Papers, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious calls upon its members and colleagues to offer insights and wisdom on what one writer terms “the balancing act of exercising non-anxious leadership without holding out false or premature security.” The writers suggest that these rapidly changing times may be just the impetus vowed religious need to find even deeper and more meaningful ways of living our charism and mission. They also offer invaluable suggestions for how leaders may bring their institutes to these new places.

As you read this issue, we invite you to attend to what gifts may be within the chaos of the life of your institute. What may be the call to you, as a woman of Spirit, charged with leadership at this critical time?


  • Unearthing the Potential of Uncertain Times
    Facilitator Donna M. Fyffe, EdD explores the call to religious life leadership during a period of prolonged change and uncertainty
  • Living and Leading in a Time of Sustained Insecurity
    LCWR member Pat Farrell, OSF considers the dynamics of human nature during times of challenge and crisis
  • Understanding the Impact of a Failing Economy on US Life and its Call to Religious
    Dean Carolyn Woo, PhD, of the University of Notre Dame, shares insights on how the current economy is impacting US life and culture
  • Leading with Faith in Challenging Economic Times
    Laura Reicks, RSM; Julia C. Lanigan, GNSH; and Hertha Longo, CSA reflect from their experience as leaders and finance officers on the transformative potential of these times
  • Sitting at the Feet of Our Ancestors and Our New Community
    Helen Maher Garvey, BVM examines what the history of US women religious can teach us today about creativity in the midst of chaos
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