LCWR Participates in Women’s National Prayer Breakfast

As a follow-up to the Global Peace Initiative in Geneva, Switzerland, the first national prayer breakfast organized by women was held January 29, 2003, at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel in Washington, DC. Female leaders from religion, government, business and the diplomatic community gathered together for prayer, reflection and discussion on how to join efforts to create a more peaceful and secure world for youth. As well, this historic initiative aims to provide a greater voice for women and an opportunity for deeper cooperation among religions.

Among the various voices for justice speaking at the prayer breakfast were Marian Wright Edelman, President and Founder, The Children’s Defense Fund; Kathy Thornton, NETWORK, National Coordinator; and Mary Motte, Provincial Superior of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Bronx, NY.    

Christine Vladimiroff, OSB, LCWR Region 4 chair, led one of the prayers and LCWR staff members Rebecca Burke, OSF, Suzanne Delaney, IHM and Eleanor Granger, OSF, attended. 

The prayer breakfast took place 24 hours after the United Nations’s scheduled review of the report on weapons inspections in Iraq. In considering the timing of the Prayer Breakfast, the Global Peace Initiative offered the following statement: “The days following will be critical in determining the response of governments to this report. Prayer can be a powerful tool as we strive for a peaceful resolution to this crisis.”

LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award Deadline Approaches

In early January, the LCWR membership received an invitation and form to nominate a person or group that you believe should be honored for her (or their) outstanding contribution to the ministry of leadership.  

This is just a friendly reminder that the Outstanding Leadership Award Committee is looking forward to hearing from you by the due date of MARCH 15, 2003.  If you have questions please email or call Eleanor Granger, OSF. 

As you recall, this award will provide our conference and its members with the opportunity to recognize and to honor a person or a group who have contributed significantly to religious leadership and to the vitality of contemporary religious life.

Kindly send your nominations to: 
Leadership Conference of Women Religious 
Attention: Eleanor Granger, OSF  
8808 Cameron St.  
Silver Spring, MD 20910  
301-588-4955  - 

A Farewell from Sheila George

It is with mixed feelings that I bid farewell to LCWR. It has been an honor to serve the LCWR membership, the Presidency and National Board over the past 2 years and to be part of the LCWR National Office team. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I will miss LCWR greatly. 

At the same time, I leave to start on an exciting new life path, as I finalize the details for my March wedding and return to communications and fundraising consulting.

My prayer is that God continues to bless LCWR and its member congregations as they give voice and presence to women religious in our Church and world and, through them, to the love of God in a wounded world.                             
                                                                                                 With gratitude, 
                                                                                                 Sheila George

SOA: Crossing The Line

Ed’s Note: Kathy Long, OP, is one of nine women religious arrested for their participation in the SOA protest at Fort Benning, GA, in November 2002. 

Nonviolent resistance is a particular manner of preaching the Gospel by standing/acting for human rights of those victimized and additionally denouncing the militaristic U.S. Foreign Policy of the U.S. Nine women religious crossed the line into Ft. Benning Military Base on November 17, 2002, seeking to walk to the doors of the SOA/WHISC. I was one of those nine.   

My experience is a living of my theology of resistance which empowers me to follow Jesus in a radical stance for justice. Nonviolent resistance to the point of arrest and sentencing by a Federal Judge calls for focus and attention to the Gospel call, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers,’ and ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ I do not walk alone but with other vowed sisters and many committed folks from across our nation.  This community of resistance gives me strength and needed companionship. 
The nine religious arrested and called into court for this act of nonviolent dissent are: Adele Beacham, SP (IN), Rita Clare Gerardo, SP (IN), Joanne Quinkert, SP (IN), Mary Hamilton, SHCJ (PA), Caryl Hartjes, CSA (Fond Du Lac, WI),  Moira Kenny, RSM (Cleveland, OH), Maureen Neuman, SP (Canada), Dorothy Pagosa, SSJ TOSF (Stevens Point, WI) and Kathleen Long, OP (Sinsinawa, WI). On January 28, eight of us had our trial and sentencing. Maureen Neuman’s trial begins February 10. Sentences given to the first eight are house arrest with 250 hours community service, 12 months probation with 500 hours community service, 3 months in prison. No one received a fine.

I find God continues to call me where the work is difficult and where I can be a presence in seeking human rights and justice for those marginalized by dominant powers. I look to the thousands of victims and the courageous survivors as those who speak truth and inform me as I respond in these acts of resistance.  As members of religious congregations, we look for your support in our actions and your leadership in encouraging ongoing participation at many levels in nonviolent resistance to close the School of Americas/WHISC.

                                                                                                                Kathy Long, OP

National Religious Retirement Office Staffing Change

Br. John Patzwall, FSC, resigned for reasons of health as Associate Director of NRRO effective December 31, 2002.  Br. John has contributed much to NRRO during the past four years and has left an indelible contribution on the work and mission of NRRO.  He will be sorely missed! We pray for his health and wish him God speed!  

NRRO is very fortunate to have hired Br. Hank Sammon, FMS as the new Associate Director.  Br. Hank began at NRRO on January 21. He served as treasurer/CFO for the two US provinces of Marist Brothers from 1990 - 1998.  Since his term was limited by their Constitutions, he then served as Assistant Treasurer for the Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, NY.  He began a Canon Law degree at CUA in fall of 2001.

Br. Hank has a Master of Science in Administration from the University of Notre Dame.  He has served as President of NATRI and has been an NRRO consultant for many years.  His expertise and experience in working with many religious institutes, in both capacities, make him exceptionally well suited for this position.  NRRO is very happy to welcome him aboard. 

Please contact Br. Hank for questions about the Basic Grant Eligibility applications that were mailed to major superiors in early January.

From the Executive Director’s Desk…

We are having yet another snow storm in Washington!  But in six months it will be August, and we will be gathered in Detroit for our annual assembly.  So as the snow cascades outside my window, let me “think summer thoughts” and tell you a bit about our assembly – just to whet your appetite!

At the recommendation of two LCWR Regions and a group known as, “Sisters of the Earth,” the National Board decided to recommend the theme of ecology to the assembly planning committee for 2003.  The Committee has designed what promises to be an outstanding event.  The title for the Assembly – Tending the Holy – is drawn from a mantra of Suzanne Toolan, RSM, which seems to speak of care of the earth:

Sacred is the call, 
Awesome indeed the entrustment – 
Tending the Holy, 
Tending the Holy.

We called Suzanne from our second planning meeting in Detroit and asked if we could use her mantra for our theme.  She said an immediate and gracious “yes.”

We will have two keynote speakers.  One of the keynoters is well known to LCWR members - former President Nancy Schreck, OSF, whose address will look at leadership through an ecological lens.  Our other keynoter is author and lecturer Brian Swimme, a dynamic speaker and passionate advocate of earth justice.

For those of you who are considering renovation of your facilities, the IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan, have generously offered to host a pre-assembly tours of their facilities on August 21.  They have completed a large-scale renovation of their property - all in an earth-friendly way.  If you miss the tour, they will also provide one of the workshops on the nuts and bolts involved in such an undertaking.

You may want to know that the Legal Resource Center for Religious will be offering a daylong workshop on member misconduct issues on August 20.  This comes at the request of several LCWR regions.  Because it is being offered this year, the Canon Law Department of Catholic University will not be offering its usual pre-assembly seminar.  

This year will be the first year for presenting the newly established “LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award.”  The presentation will take place at the banquet.  We have decided to invite all of the former LCWR Presidents to attend at least some part of this year’s assembly.  The visible presence of so many at last year’s event confirmed the value of having them with us as a reminder of our history and our heritage as LCWR.  There will be a special luncheon for the former presidents and the current LCWR presidency.

There is so much more I could tell you, but this was intended to be only an appetizer.  Please plan on attending the 2003 Assembly.  The location is lovely.  The workshops are so inviting, it will be hard for you to make a choice.  Most of all, it is a special time for all of us.  And if you aren’t there, we will miss you.  So – come to Detroit!

                                                                                           Carole Shinnick, SSND 

For Your Information

NATRI Holds Financial Management Seminar: The western shore of Lake Michigan is the site for this year’s Orientation to Financial Management Seminar, to be held  June 2 – 6, 2003.  This Monday-to-Friday program is geared to new finance personnel and leadership with financial oversight in religious institutes.  NATRI’s annual seminar has received high marks from leadership for covering a comprehensive range of topics presented by highly qualified presenters in a supportive environment. Topics include the role of the Finance Office vis-à-vis leadership and membership, civil and canon law issues, government programs, planning and financial forecasting, accounting and investment topics, risk management, retirement planning and resources for ongoing support.  The areas of accounting and investments will have both basic and advanced tracks to accommodate the varying backgrounds of the participants. Other breakout sessions and evening forums provide opportunities to network and address particular questions.

The registration brochure will be mailed in late February to all major superiors.  This year’s host site is Siena Center in Racine, WI. For more information or for additional brochures contact the NATRI Office at 301-587-7776 or e-mail

Upcoming RFC Events: Formative Communities: Discerning and Welcoming New Members with Gerald Arbuckel, SM, May 22-24, 2003, Bergamo Center, Dayton OH.Movement In Hope: Conversations on a Theology of Religious Life - Religious Formation Congress 2003 and Jubilee 1954-2004 Sheraton Westport Plaza Chalet, St. Louis, MO, November 6-9, 2003, with special presentations by Mary Maher, SSND, Gary Riebe-Estrella, SVD and theologians from diverse cultural and consecrated lifeform backgrounds. The annual Orientation for New Formation Directors program is scheduled to precede the Congress, Nov. 4-6, at the Sheraton Westport.  For more information, contact the Religious Formation Conference, 301-588-4938,

LRCR 2003 Legal Seminar: Mark your calendars now for the 2003 Legal Seminar, to be held April 24-27, 2003, in Milwaukee, WI. With a theme of  “Members through the Prism of Law,” topics will include: the civil and canonical meanings of membership; member support issues; issues for members in incorporation processes; departing, transferring and returning members; contemporary issues of the vows as well as immigration; tax; corporate control of ministry; civil liability and much more. Brochures have been mailed to all LCWR members. For additional information, check the LRCR website at 

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