LCWR Members Gather for New Leader Workshop

Nearly 90 LCWR leaders from 20 religious traditions, representing 14 regions and 18 states, along with some leaders from Nova Scotia and one from New Guinea, attended the New Leader Workshop at Assisi Heights in Rochester, MN, April 3-6. Offered each spring, the workshop included the topic of leadership presented by Gert Foley, SC, canon law by Sharon Euart, RSM and civil law by Bernadette Kenny, RSHM. Three LCWR past presidents joined the faculty: Camille D’Arienzo, RSM, for a presentation on communications; Donna Markham, OP, for human development; and Andree Fries, CPPS, for finance and planning. 

Breakout sessions were available on each of the above topics with special attention to interests that surfaced through the participants’ questionnaire and at the workshop itself. At the conclusion of the workshop leadership teams had an opportunity to meet and discuss ways in which they might put into practice suggestions made by the presenters. The faculty responded to the large group with questions that surfaced during the gathering.

Staff members in attendance were Executive Director, Carole Shinnick, SSND and Associate Director for Finance and Planning, Eleanor Granger, OSF. Plans are in process for next year’s workshop in Chicago, IL, at Mundelein Conference Center, March 25-28, 2004. Registration and information will be available in the October 2003 issue of UPDATE and also posted on the LCWR website at

Accounting Practices Committee

Liaisons Pius M. Fahlstron, OSF, and Diane Cook, OSB, represented LCWR at the USCCB Accounting Practices Committee on February 22 in Tampa, FL. The committee reviewed the handbook, authored by them and approved by the Bishops in 2002, "Diocesan Financial Issues.” Some modifications for clarity with regard to compensation to religious have been recommended.

Policies and norms on fund raising appeals, alienation of property by the dioceses and leasing arrangements passed by the Bishops in November 2002, were also reviewed. If LCWR members wish to learn more about these policies, contact Ken Korotky at the USCCB Finance Office at 202-541-3028.

The impact of new laws on publicly traded companies that could affect non-public companies in the near future and the financial fall-out of the recent sexual scandals on dioceses were also discussed.

Vicars Meeting in Jacksonville

Ann Kuhn, SSJ, represented LCWR at the 36th Assembly of the National Conference of Vicars for Religious in Jacksonville, FL, March 13-16, 2003.  The theme of the assembly was “Consecrated Life Today:  Challenges and Blessings.”

Joan McGlinchey, MSC, focused in the President’s Address on the particular need for men and women religious to live out the prophetic dimension of consecrated life in the face of current crises in both church and world.  Through a series of different lenses – 40 years after Vatican II, witnessing in the American culture, and welcoming diverse cultures – each of the major speakers then looked at the challenges and blessings of living the consecrated life in the United States today.

Major addresses were given by Henry Lemoncelli, OMI, of CICLSAL who stressed the importance of a life of holiness rooted in the mission of Christ and Sallie Latkovitch, CSJ, who looked at characteristics of the American culture, each a two-edged sword – power, status, prosperity, independence, scientific and medical progress, ready access to consumer goods.  Faith Clarke SMJM, Kathleen McDonagh, IWBS and Mary Paul Asoegwu, DDL, spoke in panel format on the potential impact individuals, each embodying his/her own culture, can have in adding depth and breadth to consecrated religious’ understanding of the Gospel message.    

Finance Committee Meets

For two and half days (March 23-25) the LCWR Finance Committee met in Seal Beach, CA, for their Spring meeting.  The members present were: Rose Jochmann, OSF – Green Bay, WI (Chairperson), Maureen Comer ,OP-Adrian, MI, Mary Jo Shingler, PHCS –Donaldson, IN, Jean Keniry, OSF - Rochester MN, Mary Bernadette McNulty, CSJ - Orange, CA and Eleanor Granger, OSF - staff.  The meeting was hosted by Mary Bernadette and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, CA.

The major agenda items discussed included the following:

-  Discussion of the LCWR Audit Review and Cameron Five Building Audit Review.   
-  Conference Call with our Investment Company: Rittenhouse - Nuveen Investment 
   Company regarding our investment policy and the social responsibility guidelines. 
-  Discussion and Ongoing work with Compensation Study for the LCWR staff. 
-  Review of the Membership fee structure. 
-  Preparation for Assembly Financial Report and development of a power point 
    presentation to be available for the regional LCWR gatherings.

The next meeting of the Finance Committee will be held at the National Office, October 17-20, 2003.

Note of Gratitude: The LCWR National Board and LCWR Finance Committee wishes to express their gratitude for the over fifty congregations who five years ago entered into a loan agreement with the LCWR. The interest from these loan agreements is and has been vitally important to the well being of the Leadership Conference as we continue to carry out the ongoing projects of service to our membership.  

Interim National Coordinator Job Announcement

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby is looking for an Interim National Coordinator whose primary responsibility for the 18 month duration of the position will be organizational development.  This position requires someone steeped in the Catholic social justice tradition, preferably a woman religious or a person with an understanding of the culture of religious life.  Demonstrated leadership ability and experience with organizational development and change management.  Skilled in and committed to collaborative management style.  Demonstrated commitment to anti-racism/oppression work and a lived multi-cultural experience.  Strong facilitation and interpersonal skills.  Desired qualifications: Familiar with NETWORK, its history and understanding of the global and national political realities. EOE. Application deadline May 19, 2003. 

Send cover letter, resume and 3 references to:, FAX: 202-547-5510, or NETWORK Search, 801 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Suite 460, Washington, DC 20003 
From the Executive Director’s Desk…

Looking for a good book, a great read?  Let me recommend to you one of the ten most delightful books I’ve ever read – The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.  On a recent trip from Chicago to Washington, wedged into the middle seat of row 35, between a Sumo wrestler and a head-phoned, potato chip munching teenager, I chuckled, wept, and made marginal notes as the plane bounced along in the “unexpected turbulence.”  Upon landing my seatmates bolted for the exit, certain, I suspect, that they had been strapped in with a batty woman given to uncontrollable mood swings.

The Secret Life of Bees is narrated by a motherless adolescent girl from South Carolina in 1964.  Lily Owens dreams of being a writer despite being poor, rejected by her classmates, and emotionally abused by her father.  One day she catches some bees buzzing in her room, putting them in a glass jar with holes poked in the lid and some grass and flowers in the container.  After about a week, she realizes that the bees, while still alive, are inactive.  She takes the lid off the jar, telling them that they can fly away.  But they don’t.  They have become so used to the jar that even with the lid off, they stay on the bottom.  It takes a couple of days for them to leave their former prison.

Later on in the story, after a particularly violent and abusive series of events with her father, Lily is in her room, feeling hopeless and trapped.  She tells us, “You could say I’ve never had a true religious moment, the kind where you know yourself spoken to by a voice that seems other than yourself, spoken so genuinely you see the words shining on trees and clouds.  But I had such a moment right then, standing in my own ordinary room.  I heard a voice say, Lily Melissa Owens, your jar is open.”

Motivational speakers from the business community have given us the now-overused phrase, “Think outside the box.”  But I think I prefer hearing Lily’s voice telling me that my jar is open, that I am not trapped or stuck or cornered.  I only need to look up to see that, in fact, my jar is open, and that if I want to, I can fly.  It echoes the Easter morning message – the stone was rolled back – the winding sheets were in a heap – the angel said, “Don’t look for the Living One among the dead!  His jar is open!”

Dear LCWR Leaders – in this Easter season, when you may feel chained to your desk, or jammed in a seat in row 35, or trapped by falling stock returns, or horrified at what your government is doing in your name, or discouraged by the glacial progress of institutional change – take heart.  Because the truth is that your jar, like Lily Melissa Owens, is in fact, wide open.

                                                                                             Carole Shinnick, SSND 

For your Information 

Cultural Audit Workshop at WTU 
“Conducting a Cultural Audit” will be held as a workshop for two and a half days June 9 - 11 at the Summer Session of Washington Theological Union, Washington, DC.  Sessions will be held on Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon. Two members of the team that developed the audit will be the instructors: Frances Cunningham, OSF, and Rudy Vela, SM.

The Center for the Study of Religious Life sponsors this workshop to help participants prepare to conduct a cultural audit for their religious community by developing a profile of themselves and their community in relation to the community’s culture and the dominant U.S. culture.  They will examine ways culture influences their thinking and behavior, positively and negatively, and become familiar with resources for meeting the challenges of their own culture and the cultures they encounter.

Each participant will read the introductory materials and write a one-page description of a cross-cultural experience prior to the workshop.  After the Monday session each one will complete an inventory on attitudes and values.  Everyone will participate in workshop exercises, small group and total group discussion.

For registration and housing, contact the Office of Enrollment Services, Washington Theological Union, 1-800-334-9922, ext. 5210, 202-541-5210 or  For further information, call the Center for the Study of Religious Life, 773-752-2720 or The cost of $250 covers materials.  After registration is received, the workshop outline and materials will be sent.  Participants will be able to purchase the Cultural Audit prior to the workshop at a 33% discount ($200) for pick up on June 9.  The Cultural Audit is available from NCCV (773-955-5453 or for $300 plus shipping and handling.

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 and Gary Riebe-Estrella, SVD, and theologians from diverse cultural and consecrated lifeform ackgrounds. The annual Orientation for New Formation Directors program is scheduled to precede the Congress, Nov. 4-6, at the Sheraton Westport.   

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