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Leadership Conference of Women Religious Explores Impact of the Global Crises and Announces New Initiatives

Posted 8/31/2020

In the midst of COVID-19 and the systemic racial tensions that have invaded our country, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious forge ahead with the annual assembly August 12,13, and 14 Online.

A first-ever virtual assembly, the members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious welcomed close to 900 people from across the United States and at least 13 other countries to a three-day gathering, held August 12 – 14.

Centered on the topic of “God’s Infinite Vision: Our Journey to the Borders and Beyond,” the participants explored together the impact of COVID-19 and new understandings of racism on the mission and lives of Catholic sisters. Recognizing that the world has been irrevocably changed through the experiences of recent months, the assembly provided an opportunity for LCWR members to explore how they may individually and collectively respond to the needs of these times.

Through presentations, prayer, and small group conversations, the members shred insights on how to lead in such an uncertain time and how they might learn from and support one another as leaders.

The participants included women religious serving in leaders in their own institutes as well as LCWR associates, guests, staff, and professional facilitators working with communities of Catholic sisters. Presentation included the LCWR presidential address by Sister Jayne Helmlinger; a panel on “Greif as a Catalyst for Transformation and Hope”; an evening prayer with reflections on the call to meaning-making; and a panel on “A Call to Women Religious.”

On the final day, the LCWR presidency – Sisters Jayne Helmlinger, CSJ, Elise Garcia, OP and Sharlet Wagner, CSC – and LCWR executive director Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ presented three major initiatives of the organization.

1) A five-year commitment to work on dismantling racism.
2) A designated fund to support the future of religious life in the United States.
3) A national conversation on the emerging future of religious life.

The assembly closed with a blessing of the LCWR presidency, national board, and 15 regional chairs. The assembly welcomes the new president-elect Jane Herb, IHM.