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LCWR Assembly 2019, Scottsdale, Arizona


LCWR Assembly 2019, Scottsdale, Arizona


The Context:

It was good to be back in Port Huron, warm as it was in the 80s °, after the 110-113° temps in Scottsdale, AZ.

It was extremely dry there since Scottsdale has had more than 5” less rainfall than normal – yet the golf course was green from irrigation! Not a good thing when so many in this world suffer from lack of water.

With LCWR members and others we were about 800 people. On the hotel grounds there are palm trees, cacti, and water features. We could purchase a very simple breakfast and brown bag lunch provided by LCWR-hired vendors; supper had to be eaten in one of the hotel restaurants where it cost more to eat than it would if we ate in ordinary restaurants. The property was very large, and one would have needed a car to go beyond it to find other eating places.

The hotel had three “hotel dogs” who were there to offer welcome and comfort. Toward the end they brought them from the lobby to the corridor in the meeting area. Earlier when I was in the lobby, two of them came to greet me while the third slept soundly. I asked one of their human companions where they lived. They live by turn with some of the hotel employees. I had never experience hotel dogs before-nice to have a new experience.

Our days began with 7:30 Mass or contemplation and ended around 6 followed by supper. The first night we didn’t get to our rooms until 10pm. After having gone so many times now, it is great to know other sisters especially when one is alone. For the award banquet I was able to sit with one sister whom I knew – she was with others from her congregation whom I didn’t know but who were very welcoming.

We are always assigned to a table for discussion. At my table we were nine, one of whom was a guest (this is the first time guests were at a member table) who happened to be last year’s Outstanding Award winner, Sr. Anita Baird! On Thursday after lunch we switched tables – also a first. At the first table we were asked to remove from a tower of wooden bricks assumptions about leadership that need to eliminate from our thinking. Some towers came crashing down. All this was done in silence.

At the second table to which we were assigned, we were asked to take the bricks that were removed from the tower and create another “tower” with them that expressed new, helpful assumptions about leadership that are needed today. In doing this we simply named the assumption in one or two words. At my table we did not create a shape until later in the table discussion when they were formed into a circle which later became and open circle.

All the presentations were livestreamed on You Tube (search for You Tube, LCWR 2019) and all the presentations are already posted on the LCWR website (some will soon be in Spanish). So, I won’t write about any of that. The presentations by USIG secretary, Pat Murray, IBVM and President Sharlet Wagner were wonderful and are well worth watching or reading. The letter the Assembly sent to President Trump and the Assembly Resolution, “Creating Communion at the Intersection of Racism, Migration and Climate Change” are


also on the website at LCWR Assembly 2019. On the website you will also find the moving words of Norma Pimentel, MJ after she accepted the outstanding leadership award and a 4 minute Assembly video.

Some Informative Content:

From President’s Report on Visit to Rome:

  • They visited five dicasteries while in Rome. A dicastery is a department of the Roman Curia, for administration of the Holy See through which the pope directs the Roman Catholic Church. Almost all the visits were warm and open.
  • CICLSAL, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as we know, doesn’t like commissaries. They prefer congregations to merge. The LCWR Presidents believe that this is because they don’t understand the situation of US religious. (VB: Meanwhile, many commissaries continue to serve congregations as major superiors). The Presidents suggested to CICLSAL that they meet with representatives of religious conferences to discuss this issue.
  • Almost all the dicasteries initiated conversation about the abuse situation in the US and its effect on the churches here. The Presidents also acknowledged the abuse done by religious women. When asked how LCWR is handling it they said that they have had interviews with media and other groups and always put a focus on victims.

Other Information from the Presidents:

  • It was noted that Church government is beyond reform, instead it needs transformation.
  • LCWR’s is presently focusing on: collaboration with other conferences of religious, other organizations and foundations; LCWR governance; advocacy for migrants, victims of racism and climate change. Two examples of advocacy are the letter sent to President Trump and the resolution on the integrated issues of forced migration, racism and climate change – both approved unanimously.
  • An LCWR member group has been having on LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) related issues. It is moving toward having a conversation on this.
  • There will be no increase in dues in 2020 but there will be one in 2021. An audit found no issues.

President Elect:

Elise Garcia of LCWR Region 7 was elected. She said that though she may look to be on the young she is a card-carrying member of Medicare.

Fundamental Call & Emerging Orientations:

  • On the attached brochure you will see the Call, Orientations and Leadership Dimensions as it moves toward the future. After two sisters from the “Design Committee” gave explanations of their work, we had table discussions about the content. We were asked if these are strong enough for LCWR to move forward?
  • The “Emerging Orientations” seek compassionate responses that have the following qualities: global; porous borders-LCWR; integrative partnerships for religious life and mission; mission focus in public square; technologically astute. Our table asked the Assembly: Will LCWR Regions have input? What about the spiritual aspect?
  • Some of the information that the design team shared about these was:
    • Many religious don’t belong to either conference of women religious in the United States. There is need to keep asking who is not in the room? Sharing resources is important.
    • Racism remains alive in our congregations. One of the panelists who spoke before the Assembly resolution was passed said that the Catholic Church was the largest slave owner in the US.


  • Essentials include transparency, communication, and relationship building (so similar to issues included in our General Chapter ’19 outcomes!)
  • Invite NRRO, RCRI, LCWR leadership to give workshops in LCWR Regions
  • Mutual mentoring is needed. We need to listen to younger sisters.
  • Create interdependent offices and experimentation with other congregations
  • Technology should be accessible and reliable so it can be used effectively, and imaginatively. It is a tool to tell our stories of origin.
  • Be present at protests. Remain faithful amid the Church crises.

We heard the Rumi’s poem “Don’t Go Back to Sleep” as the Assembly came to a close:

For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself. From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.

Unable to see, I heard my name being called.

Then I walked outside.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the door sill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.