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Sisters' Stories

Archbishop Sartain, man appointed to oversee U.S. sisters, gives take on role


The archbishop appointed by the Vatican to have unprecedented authority over the organization representing the broad majority of U.S. women religious has spoken for the first time on his new role, saying he “gladly” accepted the appointment and sees it as an “opportunity to seek reconciliation.”

Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain, who was announced in April as “archbishop delegate” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), speaks for the first time in an article published today by America magazine.

Publishing of Sartain’s remarks comes the same day LCWR issued their first official statement regarding the Vatican move, saying it comes from a flawed process and has caused "scandal and pain throughout the church."

In his lengthy piece, written by the archbishop himself, Sartain frames the Vatican rebuke of U.S. women religious as one of a series of “inevitable conflicts and misunderstandings between religious congregations and their bishops.”

Hundreds attend Wednesday prayer vigil in Cleveland


About 650 people came to a prayer vigil to support Catholic sisters held Wednesday (May 30) at a Cleveland, Ohio, parish, Christine Schenk, of Catholic organization FutureChurch, tells The Cleveland Plain Dealer in this report.

"Nuns are precious to the Catholic faithful. ... They have brought zeal and creativity to the ministry," one of the attendees, the Rev. Mark Hobson, told the newspaper. "This can be threatening to people who feel things should always remain the same in the church."

Watch a report about the vigil here.

Maureen Fiedler talks LCWR on CBS


Loretto Sr. Maureen Fiedler, an NCR blogger and contributor, appeared on CBS This Morning today, the network's morning show, talking about the Vatican's criticism of the umbrella group representing the majority of U.S. women religious.

Talking with Charlie Rose and Gayle King, Fiedler gave her take on the Vatican move, saying "this is about a lot more than the Vatican versus the nuns."

Nun Justice Project wraps up a month of vigils in support of Catholic sisters


In about 50 cities across the country, supporters of Catholic sisters gathered Tuesday (May 29) with candles, signs and words of gratitude for nuns during the final prayer vigil planned in May to support the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The vigils were organized by local Catholic groups, as part of a grassroots effort led by The Nun Justice Project.

See photos here.

And here's more from supporters:

Nearly 250 attend "Solidarity with Sisters" rally in Washington, D.C.


Organizers of a rally to support Catholic nuns say between 200 and 250 people gathered near the Vatican Embassy Tuesday, where they heard speeches and stories of inspiration, according to this report on the "Solidarity with Sisters" website. Two from the group then met with the papal nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

Cleveland priest on "What the Nuns' Story is Really About"


A reader emailed NCR the following article from the parish bulletin of the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio. We're posting it with the permission of the author, Fr. Doug Koesel:


What the Nuns’ Story is Really About


Many of you have asked me to comment on the recent investigation into the US nuns. Here goes. In short, the Vatican has asked for an investigation into the life of religious women in the United States. There is a concern about orthodoxy, feminism and pastoral practice. The problem with the Vatican approach is that it places the nuns squarely on the side of Jesus and the Vatican on the side of tired old men, making a last gasp to save a crumbling kingdom lost long ago for a variety of reasons.

One might say that this investigation is the direct result of the John Paul II papacy. He was suspicious of the power given to the laity after the Second Vatican Council. He disliked the American Catholic Church. Throughout his papacy he strove to wrest collegial power from episcopal conferences and return it to Rome.

Two groups, two paths for US women religious


In the United States, there are two canonically approved organizations for leaders of congregations of women religious. The majority (80 percent) are members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, headquartered in Silver Spring, Md. The remaining congregations belong to the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, based in Washington, D.C.

On Cardinal Levada's right hand, the visionaries -- on his left, women religious


I have pleasant enough memories of Cardinal William Levada who, as a young worker bee in the hive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, helped me find my way through the dim warrens of the old Holy Office when I was questioned there more moons ago than I can now count. I cannot erase my gratitude despite his persistent efforts, now that he runs the whole waxworks of the congregation, to make me, along with millions of others, wonder if he lets his right hand know what his left hand is doing. Or perhaps that is exactly what bright young clerics must learn to do if they are to reach their career goals.

Cardinal Levada -- I would call him Darth, but NCR's editor won't let me -- has, of course, also had to master a straight face when issuing, as he did this week, updated norms originally drafted when Paul VI was pope "regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations."



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