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Cleveland bishop: value in women’s leadership

Below, Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon, right, with Sister Therese Guerin Sullivan, chancellor.

Below, Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon, right, with Sister Therese Guerin Sullivan, chancellor.

Soon after Bishop Richard G. Lennon was installed as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland in 2006, he discovered Sister Therese Guerin Sullivan ministering as a canon lawyer in the Marriage Tribunal. In 2007, he invited her to consider “using her gifts in an expanded and different way as chancellor of the diocese.”

“I value women in leadership roles because they share a desire to serve God and God’s people, and they bring different perspectives and aspects of human relationships to conversations and decision-making that enrich the whole process,” Bishop Lennon stated.

“When I was ordained in 1973 for the Archdiocese of Boston, the women in ministry I knew were involved in schools and catechetical endeavors. Especially after Vatican II’s Decree on the Laity, I have observed women broaden and deepen their involvement in various pastoral and diocesan roles,” he said. “In the last 40 years, I have seen great changes, and I expect more expansion in the future.”

If tensions arise as women’s roles change, the bishop stressed he believes that “ongoing dialogue is needed to replace disunity with unity; the unity that Jesus prayed for at the Last Supper.”

He praised Sister Therese Guerin for her “great love for Providence, her dedication to the church as a canonist, and being a woman of faith, who lives it.”

(Originally published in the Summer 2014 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Sister Cathy Campbell

Sister Cathy Campbell, SP, is a freelance writer and editor. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spirituality from Catholic Theological Union/Chicago. Sister Cathy also ministers as a retreat facilitator for the Providence Spirituality and Conference Center with special interests in scripture and the mystics.

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