LCWR assembly told of importance of listening

LCWR panel discussion

The largest leadership organisation for US women religious began its annual assembly on Wednesday by focusing on one of the criticisms levelled against it: the contemplative, collaborative process for making decisions, writes NCR Online.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, made up of Catholic sisters who are leaders of their orders in the United States, represents about 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the United States. Nearly 800 of the group's 1,400 members have gathered here for their four-day annual conference.

Wednesday morning's session began with an examination of the decision-making process LCWR uses: contemplation, observation and exploration, reflection and dialogue, and finally, decision and action. The process is in stark contrast to the hierarchical decision-making process used by the church.

Seattle Archbishop J Peter Sartain listened intently as facilitators Catherine Bertrand of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Mary Jo Nelson of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters explained how truly listening to others and reflecting on their thoughts can change your thinking from individualistic to what is best for the community. Failure to listen, they said, leads to judgment, cynicism and fear.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith appointed Sartain to oversee the changes in LCWR mandated by the Congregation in 2012 in a doctrinal assessment. After this assembly, Sartain must approve speakers at the group's events.

The presidential address, a key part of every assembly because it sets the stage for much of the rest of the gathering, LCWR President Sr Carol Zinn, a Sister of St Joseph from Philadelphia, urged members to use the principles of music to contemplate how to listen to God.

FULL STORY LCWR speakers: Failure to listen leads to judgment, cynicism, fear (NCR Online)

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