from LCWR

The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held a special meeting in Washington, DC from May 29-31 to review, and plan a response to, the report issued to LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The board members raised concerns about both the content of the doctrinal assessment and the process by which it was prepared.  Board members concluded that the assessment was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency. Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission. The report has furthermore caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization.

The board determined that the conference will take the following steps:

  • On June 12 the LCWR president and executive director will return to Rome to meet with CDF prefect Cardinal William Levada and the apostolic delegate Archbishop Peter Sartain to raise and discuss the board’s concerns.
  • Following the discussions in Rome, the conference will gather its members both in regional meetings and in its August assembly to determine its response to the CDF report.

The board recognizes this matter has deeply touched Catholics and non-Catholics throughout the world as evidenced by the thousands of messages of support as well as the dozens of prayer vigils held in numerous parts of the country. It believes that the matters of faith and justice that capture the hearts of Catholic sisters are clearly shared by many people around the world. As the church and society face tumultuous times, the board believes it is imperative that these matters be addressed by the entire church community in an atmosphere of openness, honesty, and integrity.

For more information on LCWR, visit

Contact: Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM – LCWR Director of Communications – 301-588-4955 (office) – 301-672-3043 (cell) –

76 thoughts on “NEWS: Leadership Conference of Women Religious releases statement regarding CDF report

    1. Following Jesus is more dangerous than following the Vatican. The Vatican is more an offshoot of the Roman Empire than the teachings of Jesus. It seems to me that following Jesus can lead to legalism that can result in excommunication or being declared a heretic. (IMHO)

  1. I knew we could trust the LCWR to find a way to hold the whole community of believers together. I continue to support the sisters!

  2. We at Agape followed prayer services, vigiled and emailed many in our extended community. We hope to revisit these and many issues of dominative power and church hierarchy in the coming months and years, including this Oct. when Roy Bourgeois MM will be Agape’s keynote speaker, along with Arun Gandhi, for our 30th Anniversary. We invite you all to come on Sat. Oct. 6th 10 am for and event which will result in dialogue on these issues and our continued support of the sisters and priests who so valiantly stand in courage and love to speak truth to power.

    Suzanne Shanley, Agape Community, Hardwick MA

  3. The only reason I hang on is the sisters and their supporters. These women ROCK! I was also happy to see yesterday’s statement by Fr. Doug Koesel at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Cleveland. Wish there were more like him in the church.

  4. I love you Sisters. My Aunt, Sr. Mary Milligan, RSHM who just passed away, was a wonderful example of a beautiful nun who may not have agreed with ‘orthodox’ views but did so in a way that was filled with humility, honor of the authority over her and genuineness. What is beautiful about our Catholic family is that though we may have differences of views, when voiced in a manner of honor and respect, the Holy Spirit can lead us in truth. I don’t think this fully honored our thousands of women who have dedicated thier lives to their Spouse, Jesus to serve the poor. Sure, there will always be those of us who do things that may not reflect our true identity, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is murder. Much love and prayers for all. John 17 – let’s honor the unity Jesus prayed for.

  5. Don’t back down, Sisters!!!! It’s never a bad thing to be accused of paying too much attention to the poor and to economic injustice – you know, like that guy Jesus wants us to. Wear it like a badge honor and don’t let the Vatican push you around!

  6. Sisters – as a former San Rafael Dominican still deeply close with my community, I stand in solidarity with you, as do my family and my entire parish community. You remain in our prayers as you face this challenge; I know that you will ultimately prevail, for the Holy Spirit will not be muzzled.

  7. Your lives are about discerning and following the Spirit — an inspiration to us all to do the same. Thank you.

  8. Keep up the good work!! Leading by example and love is always better than preaching at people.

  9. This certainly is a prophet stance. I’ll be fasting on June 12 that Rome will be open to hear.

  10. Following The Way, we hold such respect in all aspects for you Women, you are Church! The Spirit Leads! Linda Gibbons

  11. The thoughtful response to the report issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addresses a deep fracture with the Christian community—mirroring that which existed at the time of Christ. Your only recourse is the same as them. With the gentle power of the Holy Spirit, you and we must stand for those who have no voice, who suffer injustices daily.
    Thank you for your service and leadership.

    1. Yes, well said. Thank you sisters for your leadership through actions which benefit thousands throughout the world, who have no voice. I will pledge to spend a day of fasting for your benefit.

  12. The LCWR is a useful administrative body, not the heart and soul of the communities that use it. If the Vatican doesn’t like LCWR, the communities can regretfully and obediently withdraw from it and let it lapse, and create a different, equally useful administrative body with a different acronym. By the time the Vatican catches on, 80? 100? years from now, they’ll have an entirely different scandal to distract the faithful from and, God willing, a different technique to distract us with.

  13. I like your “GUTS”. You all bring hope to the “space age generation”. We know enough about “church leadership” and it desire to reassure the authorities of popes, cardinals, bishops and priests. That compassionate authority will arrive when “church leaders” honestly admit their cooperation in undermining the ongoing serious sin of sexual abuse of minors and adults. Trying to “escape goat” by returning to Middle Age Church Leadership Authority is unwanted and despised by many. You’re only awakening respectful silent voices. Sisters, I beg you, to continue to bless “The People of God” in your Christ given ministry to “lift up” the economically deprived throughout God’s Family: Authentic earthly obedience and divine obedience. What a Church we could be if that obedience was perfected and was the secondary vision of The Church.
    The primary vision is giving glory to God: “John’s” Gospel and the historical Jesus. To glorify God is to see Christ, most especially, in your ministry to the economically deprived. (Mother Teresa, many before her and after her).

  14. Once again, the sisters respond to the Vatican from the unassailable position of the words of Jesus and the inspired teachings of Vatican II. The actions of their dedicated lives, accepting the poverty and vulnerability of the people they serve, make it difficult for those concerned with institutional discipline to control them. What are the poor red hatters (zuchettos, not hats with brims) supposed to do? The sisters live the Truth and the Truth makes them free! Thanks for the inspiration of your bravery.

    Rev. Stephen J. Umhoefer

  15. Thank you LCWR Board. You are handling this with dignity and expertise. I support you 100% as do the people of God I am affiliated with.
    Sr. Marion Rafferty,RSM

  16. I am an 85 year old Jesuit priest, and I have always been resentful of any shows or cartoons that in any way disparage our sisters. These wonderful women subsidized my early education by what I make bold to call their “slave labor of love.” And now to have the Vatican go after them for their over(wow!)emphasis on peace and justice–that’s the unkindliest cut of all. The Vatican should clean up its own act first. God bless our sisters; they are the best thing the Church in the United States has to offer.

    Tom Sheridan

  17. Toledo Catholics will continue their prayer vigil for the Sisters on Tuesday, June 5, and Tuesday, June 12, on the sidewalk in front of Rosary Cathedral. All are invited to join us in prayer for our courageous, spirit-filled Sisters.

  18. I agree wholeheartedly with comments of Mary Clare and Nadine.
    God bless our sisters and the work you all do in Jesus’ name.

  19. The sisters stand for a love of humanity that is clearly lost on the vatican. As an Associate of the Sisters of Mercy, I stand with them in following the teaching of Jesus.

  20. What you are doing is both right and just and takes tremendous courage. Many of us know and understand in a small way what you are experiencing BUT you are being true to our call to live the Gospel even at great cost. Many prayers, love and support for you.
    Pat Keating, OP

  21. The sisters are God’s hands in the world but then we have to remember that Christ who was all good was crucified!! Come Holy Spirit, we need you now more than ever.,

  22. What other stand can anyone make but with Jesus and the Gospels. Stand strong

  23. Thank you, our dear American sisters. What a beautiful statement. We in the laity support you and love you for all you have been in our lives and continue to be as you serve the poor, the outcast, the marginalized of our country.

  24. Thank you for your courageous and Spirti filled response. We will continue to stand with you in prayer.

  25. Amen I say. We need to continue to speak from a prayerful stance and follow the spirit. If that leads us to fold up the LCWR and form another group that helps up interact and grow, so be it.

  26. I expected a prayerful and honest response such as this. In my dealings with LCWR I have always been edified by the prayerfulness of the deliberations and care for the truth. Thanks for this response.

  27. When we were children you helped us grow in faith and now as adults we stand with you in faith. Thank you. I will continue to pray for you.

  28. One of the many geniuses of women Is that they help us look in the mirror and see ourselves as we are! The LCWR speaks with a Spirit of honesty and the Holy Spirit helps them discern Truth. We are so blessed to have them in the family!

  29. Because of these blessed sisters, I will clean up my own act by following the gospel call more closely. I will join their struggle by increasing my care for the poor and vulnerable. I am praying for the LCWR, and for all people of good faith who realize that our sisters do not preach the law, but like Christ, fulfill it.

  30. Many thanks to all of the religious women who live lives of service and who have touched so many lives. You bear witness to the gospel much more than out-of-touch Vatican officials who seem to have forgotten the words and actions of Jesus.

  31. I support the LCWR and hold you all in prayer. June 12 is the Cistercian feast of Saint Aleydis (Alice). She contracted leprosy and needed to be isolated from her community, suffering as much from the isolation from her sisters as from the disease. I believe she will be a powerful intercessor on behalf of LCWR leadership that day as they meet with the CDF. Thank you for your continued witness and love of the Gospel.

  32. Thank you for taking on this “teachable moment.” Maybe this will all lead to a Vatican III, lead by women and attended to by men as listeners. May the Holy Spirit guide all of you as you speak truth to power. Ted John

  33. Your efforts are beautifully directed, courageous, appropriate, and loving. You are the Church more than any hierarchical structure could ever be. Have heart, the world is watching and loves you.

  34. Blessings upon you sisters! You continue to walk the path of prophets and saints … or … as Mahatma Gandhi said, “become the change you wish to see” in our Church. Member, STTOP and CTA/New England.

  35. Corrine Kindschy
    Thank you sisters for listening and responding to the voice of the Spirit within. You are an inspiration to all women to be attentive to injustices and to confront them head on. Know that there are many in solidarity with you and what you are doing will only strengthen the church. Continued prayers for your wisdom and courage.

  36. Please continue the good resistance. It is a blessed endeaver for women to be treated equally with the same rights and obligations as men. Do not cave in to authoritarian demands. The Lord is with you.

  37. The sisters understand the true meaning of the service that Christ exemplified, not some stuffy old guys, distanced from the faithful by their pomp and circustance.

  38. LCWR response IS one of dignity, wisdom and courage. Vatican can try to intimidate but will not succeed. My reactions are still rather less than genteel. Do believe the crackdown is all really distraction from the internal troubles of the Vatican–a way to keep folks from looking at such matters as misuse of funds, cover ups of pedophiles, secrets, lack of justice and due process in so many areas. These days I more often start wondering why I still consider myself a Catholic. The ecclesial part of the Church seems to have less and less to do with Jesus, the Christ. Hanging on, barely…..

  39. Thank you for your response. Mature, responsible, loving, assertive. “If I said something wrong, tell me what . If not, Why do you strike me?” We owe obedience first to God then to men. Our pastors if they are Christians, they are our servers, our feet washers. Nada te turbe, nada te espante. Vox populi, vos Dei. We all are the Church, the body of Christ, brothers and sisters all. “Dont’ call anyone GOOD or FATHER, only The Father, God is good.

  40. Please don’t quit the struggle. Nearly all the saints I have been happy to know over 82 years have been sisters. The church cannot do without them.

  41. Sally Stearns, CSC
    I have been a religious for over 50 years.Thank you for the grace and clarity of purpose in the preparation you are making to speak the truth to power. Each day, from now until June 12, I will be sending you serenity, peace, love and Wisdom. For there are three things, only three things you must do AT this time and FOR this time in our history : You must continue to act justly, love as never before nor as powerfuly, and continue to walk with the transparent honesty you already evidence.
    I will join with others on June 12 by fasting. And, as well, by praying in the words of Brook Medicine Eagle: Thank you, Holy Mystery, for giving these strong women what they choose to manifest, even before it happens. Amen.

  42. I am fully behind the LWCR.
    (for a great read ..What the Nuns’ Story is All About…
    go to this Sunday bulletin column by Father Douglas Kessel, pastor of [Cleveland] Blessed Trinity Parish

    However, I could use some help in clarifying some of the, well, issues.
    Seems I have neglected growing in the faith…
    I’d appreciate “pointers” to Web sites, books, articles, etc on these topics
    They are constantly referred to in many articles, but I don’t know what they mean, context, etc.
    This would help me greatly in talking with others, articulating what I stand for, participating in public (peaceful!)actions
    …What does it mean to have a prophetic voice?
    ..What does it mean when one believes it is time to go beyond Jesus?

    I “lost” the URL of a rather strong rebuttal of the “trends” of women religious by a “traditional, conservative” Catholic organization…and spent a half hour trying to retrieve it, to no avail.

    Again, I am keeping up with news (Pax Christi, NCR, CNS, etc) but need background and depth!

    Thanks in advance for any reply

    Blessings all,

    Janice Flahiff
    Toledo, OH

    Many thanks in advance

    1. Janice, thank you for the great piece by Fr. Doug….courage triumps
      With you on June 12
      Loretta Sullivan New Haven

  43. Thank you LCWR for a very reflective and inspiring response. My prayers are with you and I have a candle burning for you. Will be with you in spirit on June 12th. God bless you .
    Margaret Bulmer, CCVI

  44. It appears that many in the Church hierarchy forget that it’s not the 12th Century anymore.

  45. I hope and pray that these many messages of love and support give to all the members of LCWR courage and hope during this very difficult time. In good times and in bad, you are faithful to the Gospel. The prayer, “God’s Spirit” on the LCWR website will become part of my prayer for the women religious of our country.

  46. What comes to my mind is the saying “What Would Jesus Do” which often times seemed a bit trite. Not this time, however. LCWR response courageously embodies TRUTH – and that is What Jesus Would Do.

  47. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church of our Irish, Hungarian, Slovak, Polish, Bohemian, etc., ancestors from Europe wisely decided to educate those immigrants in thousands of Catholic schools, presumably to enable them to become independent caring and thinking individuals. Now that that has occurred and both men and women have become educated and “Americanized” citizens, the Holy See, it seems, wants to renounce the work of the Holy Spirit and “re-Vaticanize” American Catholics, especially the population of women who were pauperized and held in bondage by the Hierarchy.

    The Vatican, it seems, is operating in panic mode while our dear courageous sisters continue to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

    Our prayers are WITH the sisters. And some also FOR the Vatican that the Holy Spirit might forgive them and lead them out of their shameful behavior.

  48. The sisters response to continue to dialogue with the Bishops is to be commended. As we go forward,in keeping with tradition, let us keep in mind the women who were Jesus disciples.It was those women disciples who announced to the male disciples the resurrection of Christ.Let history repeat itself.

  49. I will pray for you, fast for you and stand by you, dear sisters. I am a 74 year old cradle Catholic who was blessed by 12 years of schooling by the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Sisters of Loretto. I finished my education at Marquette University under the Jesuits and feel blessed by my association with all of them. I will never forget my years with the Sisters and I owe them so much for their part in the development of my faith and my love of my Church. It was and is still the Church of Jesus Christ, in spite of our power-driven hierarchy, who seem bent on destroying anyone who displeases them. The laity is getting restless and Rome had better pay attention. When you destroy the lives of children by abuse, and dismiss dedicated servants of God because you find them unworthy, the faithful will no longer be at your service and you will find yourself preaching to empty churches and your coffers will dry up as we love and care for your victims.
    Julie Sawyer Battaile June 5th, 6:45 PM.

  50. Sisters, you have my full support. Will fast on the 12th in solidarity with
    you in Rome.

  51. Finally found a LCWR related work that included the phrase “beyond Jesus” in answer to my own question above….

    It’s from the 2007 LCWR Keynote address (28 pages), by Laurie Brink, O.P.

    An excerpt:
    “The dynamic option for Religious Life, which I am calling, Sojourning, is much more difficult to discuss, since it involves moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus. A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical. It has grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion. Its search for the Holy may have begun rooted in Jesus as
    the Christ, but deep reflection, study and prayer have opened it up to the spirit of the Holy in all of creation. Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities\no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian.
    When religious communities embraced the spirit of renewal in the 1970s, they
    took seriously that the world was no longer the enemy, that a sense of ecumenism
    required encountering the holy “other,” and that the God of Jesus might well be the God
    of Moses and the God of Mohammed. The works of Thomas Merton encouraged an
    exploration of the nexus between Eastern and Western religious practices. The emergence
    of the women’s movement with is concomitant critique of religion invited women
    everywhere to use a hermeneutical lens of suspicion when reading the androcentric
    Scriptures and the texts of the Tradition. With a new lens, women also began to see the
    divine within nature, the value and importance of the cosmos, and that the emerging new
    cosmology encouraged their spirituality and fed their souls.
    As one sister described it, “I was rooted in the story of Jesus, and it remains at my
    core, but I’ve also moved beyond Jesus.” The Jesus narrative is not the only or the most

    important narrative for these women.

  52. Also found my answer to what is meant by “prophetic voice”

    The ‘Behold, I am Doing Something New’ Process
    leadership resources (pathways section)

    Region 4
    Women religious commit to Gospel living with renewed energy, wisdom and vision, being a prophetic and contemplative presence in our world. Believing in our call and charisms impels us to act in solidarity with one another, to speak out for justice, to address the global needs of our times, and to risk for what is yet to be born.

    Region 5
    Women religious embrace the contemplative and prophetic call of all peoples. We do this through our mission, characterized by unity, wisdom, and availability to overcome all forms of violence and injustice.

    Region 6
    We are “women and spirit” now called to prophetic Gospel witness with a passion for mission, faithfully probing where and how the Spirit calls us forward speaking truth to our church and world.

    We call upon LCWR to refound moving to a more responsive model of simplicity and inclusivity, expanding definitions of membership and leadership educating ourselves, applying the Gospel to local, church, and global concerns, and moving these matters forward to the national agenda

  53. My husband and I will be fasting on June 12th also – a good way to support the sisters

  54. God love the Sisters. It is because of them, the San Rafael Dominicans who taught me and brought me into the Catholic faith. I am now a Maryknoll Affiliate, a Franciscan Associate (Sisters of St. Francis of
    Assisi, St. Francis, Wi.) and a follower in the footsteps of Jesus doing
    and living Peace, justice, and Integrity of Creation in our broken world.
    If they go, I go with them. Goddess Bless you Sisters, Ellie Hays, Sparks, Nevada.

  55. So many of our forebears of every heritage died for OUR faith. I will remain a Marian feminist “roamin” catholic striving with my LCWR sisters to live Jesus in our unjust world. I pray that ALL who pray for will witness JUSTICE Along with LCWR sisters.

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