Ever since Fr. James Martin of America Magazine launched a Twitter campaign to support the nuns criticized in a Vatican report a couple of weeks ago, praise for the sisters has been pouring in. Just in case you missed it:
The Nun Justice Project, a group of Catholic justice organizations working to support the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), is planning a series of weekly candlelight prayer vigils across the country this month, with confirmed events so far starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boston.
The weekly vigils, most of which will take place in front of the local cathedral, will be held every Tuesday, leading up to the LCWR’s first meeting May 29.
Jim FitzGerald, a spokesman for the Nun Justice Project, said the objective for the vigils is twofold: to show the wide support for women religious in this country, and to inspire the Vatican to rescind its statement criticizing the U.S. nuns.
FitzGerald, who is executive director of Call To Action, one of the organizations working on The Nun Justice Project, said his own view of the church was shaped by a nun who was the campus minister at his college.
In a statement emailed to NCR, a California priest praises the work of Catholic nuns:
Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Fr. John Kasper*
Pastor of St. Perpetua Parish
Printed in the parish bulletin for April 29, 2012
Two weeks ago on a Friday, I went to the California Museum in Sacramento to view a traveling exhibition of special interest to us Catholics. “Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America” is an exhibit sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). It tells the story of a small group of innovative American women who helped shape the nation’s social and cultural landscape.
The wide-ranging exhibit follows the history of women religious in the United States, from the arrival of the first order (Ursuline Sisters who came to New Orleans in 1727), through their history as outstanding educators, to their involvement in more contemporary issues such as the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the care of patients with HIV/AIDS, and the environment. Part of the exhibit highlights the California history of women religious.
I'm still glowing with delight from the four-day experience at our Loretto Motherhouse last week. April 25 was the 200th anniversary of our first sisters entering/forming the community. One of the benefits of a blog is that length doesn't matter -- usually I write brief entries, but I figure if you should turn 200, you will want to know how to do it.
On Sunday, we honored our benefactors and dedicated and opened our new Heritage Center, a magnificent display of archival material in the old Loretto Junior College auditorium where as novices we square-danced, had choir practice and celebrated Christmas with a huge tree and presents from home set out on chairs in a huge circle.
Want to return the favor? Want to help our Catholic sisters? Want to help them in their ministries? Want to support just a bit some of the women who have given their lives to caring for you and caring for the needy? Here's an immediate action you can take. (I received this press release from the Sisters of Mercy in New York earlier today.)
To help fund their ministries while continuing to care for their retired members, they will hold their 12th Annual Evening of Mercy on May 30th at Manhattan’s Yale Club.
This year’s raffles include, a large screen flat TV, Bed and Breakfast for four at Mercy Villa in Water Mill, tickets to a Broadway show, to Mets and Yankees games, and gift certificates to restaurants.
For raffles, journal ads, and more information about the event, please contact Sister Camille D’Arienzo or Kristina Papa Behar at 914 328 3200 X 417.
The National Catholic Reporter has received a letter of support addressed to Catholic nuns, signed by 34 organizations representing Protestant women from New York to Austin, Texas. Cynthia Rigby, one supporter who helped gather signatures, said it was meant not as a petition, but as a theological letter.
“It was so important to us that this reflect a collective voice,” said Rigby, a theology professor at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, “because, theologically, we believe that communities of Christian believers, in this case communities of sisters in Christ, stand together.”
Rigby, who said the initiative was started by the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns, and the signatures collected in about five days, said she hopes Catholic sisters will see it and feel encouraged.
The letter reads:
May 1, 2012
In a low-profile visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and much in the news in recent days for his congregation's April 18 decree calling for reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, was the homilist Monday at the Mass marking the 50th year of the ordination of his good friend, San Francisco's Archbishop George Niederauer.
Niederauer succeeded Levada as San Francisco archbishop in 2006.
According to Catholic San Francisco, more than 2,000 attended the Mass of thanksgiving at St. Mary's Cathedral including 13 other bishops and 130 priests.
CHICAGO -- If the founders of Mary’s Pence thought women’s gifts would be more valued by the Catholic church a quarter century later, the Vatican’s recent ordering of the reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) was hardly evidence of such improvement.
Some of our bishops are acting like bullies, abusing the authority of their offices in the name of enforcing orthodoxy. Dealing with U.S. women religious, these bishops' actions appear governed more by a desire to enforce obedience than to develop fidelity in our sisters. Catholics see through this guise. They are upset, fed up with the likes of this behavior. They are speaking out. Soon they will be on the streets making their voices heard. You can count on it.
The Grudge hardened in 1971 when the superiors of women's religious communities decided to re-name themselves the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
The flash point was the word "leadership." The Vatican protested it's use, the superiors overrode the objections and Rome's campaign against "radical feminism" became a fixture in Holy See strategy.