Sr Kathleen Bryant reports on the recent Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) 2014 Assembly, held from August 12 – 16, 2014 in Nashville Tennessee, at which the Religious Sisters of Charity were represented by Kathleen and Sisters Marsha Moon and Michelle Hetherington.
“As over 800 leadership teams of religious orders met in Nashville, Tennessee for our annual Assembly, we looked for a way forward in the darkness which has confronted us during the last couple of years. In the heart of country music, we were reminded of our own “Yes” and our call to be faithful through a country western song, “When I said ‘I do’” by Clint Black. If you want to listen to this duet with his wife, you can enjoy it at the end of this page.
Our president, Sr. Carol Zinn SSJ opened her address with this country music video as she explored our call using music as a metaphor. When we say “I do” at our profession we pray it is – as the song says, “til the end of all time” and this song expresses the depth of our fidelity as women religious. You can read this excellent talk HERE to find out how music is a metaphor for us.
Nancy Schreck, OSF gave us two presentations: a Reflection at the Opening of the Assembly and a keynote address entitled “However Long the Night”. In the midst of our darkness we are called to a radical hope in Jesus for our world and to nurture an imagination for new dreams, new possibilities, and a mature love.
Bishop Peter Sartain, appointed by the Vatican, to oversee the CDF mandate, was present to all. The LCWR board met with him after our assembly and then issued a statement which can be read HERE.
A panel of three sisters in leadership shared their personal reflections on their own leadership styles and their conversion. They were transparent, vulnerable and very honest as they helped us with the challenges of leadership. Common themes were: waiting for wisdom, not rushing for facile answers, slowing down to recognize that “something great is happening”, and remembering that we are enough.
We honored Elizabeth Johnson CSJ at the closing banquet and her remarks can be read HERE. It is publicly known that the Vatican expressed some displeasure with our choice to honor her and Elizabeth was clear in her assessment of that tension in her remarks.
Our justice concerns and actions during the assembly were focused on concern for the environment, care for immigrant children and families as well as a resolution regarding the respect for indigenous people’s rights and an acknowledgment of how religion was used to oppress them.
Although the days were long, and the nature of our work was intense, we sensed the solidarity of so many sisters and the prayers of many lay people who sent greetings and messages to us before our assembly.”
Click HERE to view the LCWR Assembly 2014 page.