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Sisters' Stories

Former nuns write open letter to the USCCB

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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 Vatican crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) sends this message for religious women and average Catholics: there is no room for dissent; no opportunity for differing perspectives; no way to engage in dialogue about traditional, often narrowly-held, Catholic views. In a word, women religious leaders need to keep their ideas to themselves and simply follow the dictates and directions of Rome. Anything less than this position will be met with censure, public embarrassment, heavy-handedness, and even potential expulsion.

Protester at D.C. "Support the Sisters" vigil: "I'm angry, and this is the first protest I've ever been to"

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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.

In San Juan, Texas, 15 gather to pray for sisters

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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.

President-elect of LCWR profiled in Milwaukee newspaper

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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."

Prayer vigils to support nuns planned in major cities

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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.

Priest writes in support of Catholic nuns

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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
Lafayette, Calif.
Printed in the parish bulletin for April 29, 2012

 

Dear Friends,

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.

How to celebrate a 200th birthday

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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 help some needy Catholic sisters?

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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.)

The years – almost 150 of them –have taken their toll on Brooklyn’s beautiful Convent of Mercy. For safety’s sake, the elderly and infirm sisters have had to relocate, but Sisters of Mercy from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Hamptons have not lost the passion for serving people in need.

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.

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October 10-23, 2014

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