As the Leadership Conference of Women Religious meet this week in New Orleans they are honoring two women who have made major contributions to religious life in recent decades. LCWR has chosen to honor Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Sharon Holland and Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sister Helen Garvey.Holland, a canon lawyer with degrees from Georgetown University, has served for 21 years in the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and was one of the highest ranking women in the Vatican. In this position she offered wisdom and knowledge to congregations of religious all over the globe. She also taught at The Catholic University of America, Regina Mundi, the Pontifical Urbaniana, and other schools. Her extraordinary understanding of ecclesial life and global needs has contributed to her reputation as a renowned speaker on consecrated life. Numerous congregations of religious can attest to her attentive and helpful counsel with the complex issues of shaping constitutions as well as forming, merging, and dissolving institutes. Her writings on religious life have appeared in many professional journals as well as in the Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary.Garvey has served in leadership in her own congregation; was the president of LCWR and the U.S. delegate to the International Union of Superiors General; has served on numerous boards, ministered as the director of pastoral services for the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky; worked as an educator and school administrator; and is now serving as an organizational consultant and director of the Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America exhibit. In all these capacities, Garvey has evidenced a leadership style characterized by consultation, collaboration and consensus-building. As a leader, she has faced situations of great challenge and controversy and has met each on with confidence, sensitivity, patience, optimism, and a charming sense of humor.
This is what the leadership conference has to say about each of the women: