2002 LCWR Assembly Summary and Documents Available on Website

The 2002 LCWR National Assembly, ”Leadership In Dynamic Tension”, held August 17-21, 2002 in St. Louis, MO, was judged the best ever by many participants, according to Assembly evaluations reviewed at the post-Assembly Board meeting. High marks were given for the theme, speakers David White and Mary Maher, SSND, and the banquet programming. An overview of the Assembly and other Assembly-related documents, including the accepted Assembly Resolutions, may be found by clicking on “Assembly Information” on the menu bar of the LCWR website, www.lcwr.org.

LCWR Leadership Transfers; Executive Committee and Board Membership Changes

According to the LCWR presidential structure, Kathleen Pruitt, CSJP, became past-president as Vice-President Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM, assumed the role of president of LCWR at the end of the LCWR National Assembly. Elections held during the August meeting named Constance Phelps, SCL, as LCWR’s new vice-president and Elizabeth Cawley, CSJ,  was unanimously affirmed for a second term as LCWR secretary. For more information about the new LCWR Presidency, please click on the election results press release under “Assembly Information” at www.lcwr.org.

At the Post-Assembly Board meeting, two regional chairs were chosen to be members-at-large, thus completing the LCWR Executive Committee. The Executive Committee 2002-2003 includes the new Presidency and members-at-large Susan Borgel, CPPS, and Christine Vladimiroff, OSB. New regional chairs joining the 2002-2003 National Board include Jane Iannucelli, SC; Jeanne Moore, OP; Marilyn Kesler, SSND and Maria Elena Martinez, OSF. Rose Jochmann, OSF, also joins the LCWR Board as its new Treasurer.

LCWR Purchases Full Page Ads for New Sexual Abuse Statement

At its post-Assembly Board Meeting, August 22-24, 2002, the LCWR National Board took the unprecedented step of deciding to publish the new sexual abuse statement in two full-page ads in America and National Catholic Reporter in September 2002. (see story on p. 2) This action is to support efforts to ensure that the voices of women religious are heard and that the carefully crafted statement is reproduced in its entirety. 

The ads appeared in the September 20 edition of NCR and on the back cover of the September 23 America. Contributions to cover the cost of the ads are welcome. LCWR thanks the LCWR members and associates who have already donated over $3,000 to help offset the ad costs.

LCWR Post-Assembly Board Meeting Develops New Sexual Abuse Statement and Ratifies Earth Charter

In response to members’ calls for women religious’ voices to be heard at this juncture in the sexual abuse scandals in the Church, the LCWR National Board devoted much of their time during the post-Assembly Board meeting to the development of a new statement that addresses the crisis, but also looks to the future and a church transformed.

Using LCWR’s April 5, 2002 statement on this issue as a basis, comments and written recommendations from many of the participants of the 2002 Assembly were reviewed and contributed to the final content of the statement. The statement was released publically on August 24, 2002 and may be found under “Press Releases” on the LCWR website, www.lcwr.org. Media coverage on the statement included the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Associated Press, Religion News Service, Catholic News Service, CRUX of the News, and National Catholic Reporter. 

In addition to other business, the National Board signed onto the Earth Charter, an action of the Assembly Resolution on Peace endorsed by LCWR membership at the 2002 Assembly.

Please Note:  
LCWR members are asked to complete the 2003 pink membership forms enclosed in this edition of UPDATE. Because of a printing error, the form mailed to members earlier this month is printed only on one side. We ask you to disregard the earlier form and to please return the completed two-sided card to the LCWR National Office. This error does not affect associates or subscribers. We apologize for the error and any inconvenience this may have caused.

LRCR Offers Workshops On Sexual Abuse Issues

The Legal Resource Center for Religious has taken a proactive stance regarding the current sexual abuse crisis. By developing and presenting workshops, the office is helping religious institutes to review and revise their policies and develop responsible and practical responses. Workshops have been presented in a variety of locations and settings. 

Presentations by LRCR attorneys Dan Ward and Judy Hereford have covered the host of civil and canon law issues raised by sexual abuse allegations, including an analysis on the effect of the actions of the US Bishops in Dallas earlier this year, and a discussion of developments in various state statutes on sexual crimes and civil suits. A full day multi-disciplinary workshop was presented in Philadelphia prior to the CMSM National Assembly. Speakers at this workshop included civil and canon lawyers, a victims’ advocate, a public relations specialist and a speaker on care for the abuser. LRCR participated in the special session on sexual abuse at the LCWR National Assembly in St. Louis. A schedule of upcoming workshops is available on the LRCR website, www.lrcr.org, under “mission/education” 
LRCR is currently helping individual communities respond to the issue by advising them on specific cases, and working with local attorneys to craft a response. In addition, LRCR is helping communities review and revise their policies to be more in keeping with the current situation in the church and with changes in civil law. 

Associate Director  
for Social Mission

Applications for the position of 
 Associate Director For Social Mission  
are still being accepted.

For an application form and role description 
kindly contact  Suzanne Delaney, IHM at 
301-588-4955 – or - sdelaney@lcwr.org

Applications are due October 15, 2002.

From the Executive Director’s Desk

I must admit that when I began working at LCWR in February, and I realized that the theme for the August Assembly was Leadership in Dynamic Tension, my first reaction was, “WHAT were they thinking?”  It seemed to me that acknowledging the tensions of leadership was healthy enough, but why would we want to build a whole assembly around it?  Why would we ever choose to build an entire gathering around tension?  And what kind of music could ever be written about tension that wouldn’t set one’s teeth on edge?  Of course, I was dead wrong.

It was a marvelous assembly, very much reflecting the lovely arch that inspired the theme.  The arch is perfectly balanced, elegant in its simplicity, powerful in its stance, gracefully flexible in high winds.  The group that gathered in St. Louis – despite the heaviness of concerns carried from home, despite a dark year of attacks and allegations from which we all had come – was strong, yet flexible – complex, yet simple – serious yet lighthearted.

Two strong documents grew out of those days rooted in the committed, compassionate heart of LCWR – a letter to President Bush clearly speaking out against an invasion of Iraq, and a public statement regarding the current crisis in the American Church.  Two key resolutions were passed, calling for peace, not war, and for universal  health care coverage in this, the wealthiest nation on earth. 

Our President Kathleen challenged us.  Our theologian Mary fed us.  Our poet David lifted us.  We applauded NETWORK, laughed at “The Bad Habits,” and circled each other with care.  We returned home nourished, and I imagine that there have been times since the assembly, when councils sitting around tables dealing with their own homegrown tensions, have broken into song, singing:  “We are leaders, in dynamic tension…”

One of David Whyte’s poems – Loaves and Fishes - says it well.

This is not 
the age of information.

This is not 
the age of information.

Forget the news 
and the radio 
and the blurred screen.

This is the time 
of loaves 
and fishes.

People are hungry, 
and one good word is bread 
for a thousand.

                                                                                                   Carole Shinnick, SSND 

LCWR Attends UN NGO Conference

Several LCWR members and women religious attended the annual UN NGO Conference in New York, September 9-11. They heard presentations on “Rebuilding Societies Emerging from Conflict,” including discussions of reconciliation and disarmament. LCWR shares joint membership with CMSM as a DPI (Department of Public Information)/NGO. 


Days of Contemplation 2002 Monthly Reflection 
Pamela Smith, SS.C.M.

God of peace, I resolve this day to take  
conscious, deliberate, non-violent steps. 

Help me to see creative opportunity in every  
conflict and the possibility of healing in every rift.

SOA Update

Kathleen Desautels, SP, began her six-month sentence in Greenville Federal Prison in Illinois on September 10th. Kathleen is among the 43 protesters given three-to six-month terms for crossing the line at Fort Benning, Georgia, last November. Kathleen’s address is: FPC Greenville; Kathleen Desautels 90966-020; P.O. Box 6000; Greenville, IL 62246.

Women religious who are considering attending this year’s vigil and possibly crossing the line at Fort Benning November 15-17 can contact Kathy Long, OP, at the 8th Day Center for Justice, email klong@claret.org, for information.

Two women religious who served prison terms last year, Dorothy and Gwen Hennessey, OSF, siblings and members of Dubuque’s Sisters of St. Francis, will receive the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award from the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa. The sisters are the 33rd and 34th recipients of the award, joining the ranks of Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

For Your Information

The 2002 NATRI National Conference will be held in Tampa, Florida, November 20-23, 2002. The conference theme, Expanding Horizons, celebrates the vision of communities that are taking risks to extend their influence  from a faith-based stance. A wide range of  stewardship topics will be covered to address a diversity of interests. For more information, contact NATRI at natri@natri.org or call (301) 587-7776.

LCWR New Leaders Workshop 2003:  see brochure in this mailing for more information  - registration deadline is December 3, 2002.

RFC Formation Resource Manual, Volume I Now Available: Financial, Legal (Civil/Canon), and Immigration Issues; Resource Lists and more. Non-RFC members in US: $75.  Additional copies for RFC members in US: $45. Contact: Religious Formation Conference, 8820 Cameron Street, Silver Spring MD 20910-4152, 301-588-4938-Fax: 301-585-7649-relforcon@relforcon.org - www.relforcon.org.  Also RFC Congress 2003 - 50th Jubilee - A Movement in Hope: A Conversation on the Theology of Religious Life, to be held November 4-9, 2003 at the Sheraton Westport Plaza Chalet, St. Louis, MO,  Contact RFC for more information.



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