Sisters of Providence and LCWR
In April, 1956, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican Congregation for Religious asked the U.S. sisters to form a national conference and in November, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) was born. (It was initially launched as the Conference of Major Superiors of Women but in 1971, the organization was renamed.) It is a “voluntary organization whose members are dedicated to apostolic service in the Spirit of the Gospel” (Bylaws of LCWR, introduction). The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are members of the LCWR to communally carry out its service in furthering the mission of the Church in today’s world. Today, LCWR has nearly 1,500 members who are elected leaders in their religious orders, representing approximately 57,000 Catholic sisters. It is the largest organization of Catholic women religious.
On April 18, 2012, in a document entitled Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has called for renewal of the LCWR. The CDF named Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle as its Archbishop Delegate for the initiative. Upon receiving the CDF document, the LCWR leadership asked its members to spend time in prayer as they began the process of discerning a response. The Sisters of Providence leadership asked the Congregation to especially pray the Litany of Non-Violence.
At the annual assembly of the LCWR in St. Louis, Aug. 7-10, more than 900 participants, including the Sisters of Providence General Officers, gathered for sustained prayer and dialogue, to consider various responses to the CDF report, with the goal of deciding together the next best steps for the conference following the assembly. The address of outgoing LCWR President Sister Pat Farrell, OSF, provides insights to the content and spirit of the gathering, as does the press release issued by LCWR on Friday, Aug. 10.