15 December 2014

Report on Congregations of US Women Religious

The Vatican's report on US apostolic congregations of women religious was presented from Rome today. The press conference began at 11:30 am on the 16th Roman time. That was 2:30 am here at Stillsong and 5:30 am EST. The actual report can be found at: Final Report on the Visitation to Apostolic US Women Religious. While generally very positive one commentor said there were barbed criticisms therein.

In the press conference itself Mother Mary Clare Millea stressed several times that every religious institute will find things they can improve on and  eschewed any tendency to divide congregations along leadership conference lines. She was visibly moved by the pain the visitation had caused so many Sisters and overall gave a sense of solidarity --- one Sister among other Sisters. Sister Sharon Holland also spoke of the positive experience the visitation became as the visitators approached congregations with an open, sensitive, and listening tone. All were, Holland said, able to regard one another as Sisters (or fellow religious). Sister M Agnes' presentation struck a somewhat different and, I think, lamentable tone as she focused on the "essential elements of religious life" and spoke of the hope for the future of religious life CMSWR congregations represent. While it was understandable and appropriate she would speak of the CMSWR experience of the Visitation, the remainder of her comments and their entire thrust struck me as unnecessarily competitive, self-serving, and divisive.