Facing two Vatican investigations, some 800 women religious leaders from throughout the country have gathered here to discuss their congregations’ uncertain futures.
Many women, in informal conversations, spoke of their determination not to let these Vatican actions get in the way of their ministries and religious life, hammered out over decades, both through experience and through exchanges with Rome on congregational constitutions.
As if to underscore their concern for their ongoing apostolic missions, the women, at the outset of the three-day assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the umbrella organization for 95 percent of the women religious of America, toured several sites in this struggling city where women religious were working in a variety of social ministries.
The women filled six buses and spent a half day viewing their sister congregations’ works, offering personal encouragement.
“There are simply too many things going on in religious life to get derailed,” said past president of the leadership conference, Sister of Saint Francis Nancy Schreck, shortly before the buses left a downtown hotel.