ABP Sartain: US Church deeply proud of its women religious

2012-08-11 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has released a statement praising the lasting contribution and continued work of religious women in the United States, for which, he says, they deserve our respect, support, thanks and prayers.

The national assembly concluded August 10 in St Louis, Missouri. Over 900 delegates representing 80% of the United States 57 thousand women religious attended the 4 day assembly which focused on the future mission of religious sisters. During the conference LCWR delegates also discussed their response to a report entitled Doctrinal Assesment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) last April. The report called for reform within the LCWR, while naming Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain as Archbishop Delegate for the initiative.

Coinciding with the Assembly conclusion, the following statement by Archbishop Sartain was released through the Archdiocese of Seattle:

“The Holy See and the Bishops of the United States are deeply proud of the historic and continuing contribution of women religious to our country through social, pastoral and spiritual ministries; Catholic health care; Catholic education; and many other areas where they reach out to those on the margins of society.

As an association of women religious, the LCWR brings unique gifts to its members and to the Church at large. This uniqueness includes sensitivity to suffering, whether in Latin America or the inner-city; whether in the life of an unborn child or the victim of human trafficking.

Religious women have made a lasting contribution to the wellbeing of our country and continue to do so today. For that they deserve our respect, our support, our thanks and our prayers.

Along with the members of the LCWR, I remain committed to working to address the issues raised by the Doctrinal Assessment in an atmosphere of prayer and respectful dialogue. We must also work toward clearing up any misunderstandings, and I remain truly hopeful that we will work together without compromising Church teaching or the important role of the LCWR. I look forward to our continued discussions as we collaborate in promoting consecrated life in the United States.”

Outgoing president, Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell, said the LCWR officers would begin dialogue with Archbishop Sartain, “from a stance of deep prayer that values mutual respect, careful listening and open dialogue”. The Archbishop is expected to attend the organization's board meeting August 11.

The four day assembly focused on the mission and work of religious sisters in the United States. In her address to the assembly, Sister Farrell, suggested "six tools for navigating the shifts occurring in the world and church. These tools included contemplation, use of the prophetic voice, solidarity with the marginalized, community, nonviolent responses, and the capacity to live in joyful hope".

The members also passed a resolution calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform that includes the reunification of families and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States. They passed a second resolution that committed them to work for the abolition of human trafficking, calling it a form of modern day slavery.