"The spirit is wonderful. It seems the sisters have captured something in people's hearts," said Helen Deines, a retired professor who organized the event, in an email. Whereas the first vigil at Louisville's Cathedral of the Assumption on May 8 drew 78 people, Tuesday's (May 15) event was attended by about 120.
Brother William Brynda, of the De La Salle Christian Brothers in Glencoe, Miss., has sent NCR the following letter for publication, in support of Catholic sisters the Vatican criticizes in a recent report. Brynda said he also sent a copy to Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, who has been appointed to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious going forward.
The following piece, titled "Just Thinking," was sent to the National Catholic Reporter, for publication, by Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Sr. Joan Holden, of St. Louis:
Catholic teaching claims there are four marks of the church – the church is one, holy, Catholic and apostolic. Dare I add a fifth, for it is also persecuted! From the very beginning of Christianity, the church, meaning all of the people of God, has been severely persecuted, but mostly from outside the structure.
The following letter was sent to the National Catholic Reporter by a former Sister of Mercy, and it is signed by 14 other women who were once members of religious communities. In a cover letter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Helen Urbain-Majzler writes: "We would be grateful if you shared the contents of our letter with other member bishops."
The "Open letter to the U.S. Catholic Bishops" letter reads:
The Nun Justice Project, a grassroots movement of Catholic organizations working to support the American nuns criticized in a recent Vatican report, has announced it is launching a new website. Find it here, along with a list of six things you can do to support sisters.
Late Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., about 75 protesters gathered in front of the sign that marked the entrance to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops building, as part of a nationwide effort led by the Nun Justice Project. However, Kate Conmy, the organizer of the event in D.C., said the USCCB sign that was to be a landmark had been covered with a black tarp.
Conmy, who works for the Women's Ordination Conference, said most people learned about the vigil by visiting www.change.org, the website that hosts a petition started by the Nun Justice Project to support the sisters. She remembers one woman at the vigil saying: “I’m angry, and this is the first protest I’ve ever been to.”
The vigils will take place every Tuesday in May, and are expected to expand to more cities.
If you attended the vigil in Washington, D.C., or know someone who attended, please leave a comment.
Al Dabrowski, Call To Action member and organizer for the Nun Justice Project in the Rio Grande Valley area, said the stormy evening weather likely kept some people home Tuesday, when a group of 15 gathered for a prayer vigil to support Catholic nuns at the Basilica of our Lady of San Juan del Valle in San Juan.
The prayer vigils, planned in select cities every Tuesday in May, are part of a nationwide effort launched by The Nun Justice Project and supported by local Catholic groups.
If you attended the vigil in San Juan, Texas, or know someone who attended, please leave a comment.
Franciscan Sr. Florence Deacon, of St. Francis, Wis., talks with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about entering the St. Francis of Assisi convent at the age of 16, changes that came with Vatican II and the work sisters have been doing for the past few decades.
But Deacon, who will lead the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), would not comment on the Vatican document criticizing nuns until the organization has "drafted a formal response."
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.