LCWR inspires Sisters to reflect

The annual Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is always robust and friendly. Sister Jean Marie Fernandez said the 2019 LCWR conference was especially energetic. She said, “We celebrated the increasing diversity of religious life. This is our reality – sisters living in intercultural as well as intergenerational communities. We are a “Global Sisterhood.”

LCWR ran from August 13-16 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Keynote speakers inspired Sr. Madeleine Munday with their wide-ranging experience of religious life in the United States and worldwide.

“Sr. Pat Murray stated in her call to ‘be present at the borderlands’ that Borderlands are everywhere: in our local neighborhoods, at national and international levels, and very close to home within our own religious communities. This allows us to build deep connections, celebrate and appreciate differences, and commit to collaborate,” Sr. Madeleine said.

LCWR
More than 600 Sisters wave napkins to salute and thank the hotel workers. The gesture is part of the traditional greeting at LCWR’s closing banquet.

Sister Maureen Kunz also resonated with Sr. Pat’s talk of borderlands. She said, “We in Good Shepherd tend to think of charism in a framework specific to our mission and ministries. At LCWR I was immersed for four days in the charism of religious life itself. Being among all these Sisters impressed me again with the power of religious life across congregations.

LCWR addresses relationships beyond borders

“I think our future will include stronger ties with others who share the charism of religious life. Our Danville Sisters are living this reality now. How can our whole province strengthen relationships beyond our own boundaries?” Sr. Maureen said.

Sister Pat, IBVM, Executive Secretary of UISG (Union International of Superiors General), left an impression as well with Sr. Jean Marie, who said, “Speaking to those entering religious congregations today, Sr. Pat said: “It is not ours to direct the future of religious life nor to create a plan for the new to emerge, but rather to create space for the new to emerge.”

Province Leadership Team members from North America carved out quality time during LCWR to discuss the future of the three provinces. The pre-Assembly day offered by Catholic Health Association had targeted meaning for PMNA’s Province Leader, Sr. Madeleine. She said, “This year’s presentations at the pre-Assembly offered examples of how different congregations have created ministry organizations to provide the best support and oversight of their agencies. This is a timely topic for Province of Mid-North America.”

Dream come true

Sister Gayle Lwanga Crumbley said she never thought she would be able to attend LCWR. She participated in a zoom call this spring that one of the Sister staff from LCWR led. The topic was Emergent Leadership, which was part of the 2019 LCWR theme Imagining Leadership in a Global Community. LCWR contacted Sisters of color and invited them to respond to questions about the topic. According to Sr. Gayle, “Not only did they present the information gathered from these interviews, in a very scholarly presentation, they invited us to attend this year’s LCWR meeting.

“Once Sr. Madeleine knew I was attending, she invited me to participate in the North American Good Shepherd leadership meetings. It was thrilling. I am very grateful to have had this experience; it was the cherry on top of a great summer,” Sr. Gayle said.

As a final reflection, Sr. Jean Marie said, “Do I/we believe that this is exactly where God wants us to be?  If I want to live life worthy at all I must take risks, live with the passion of my heart, in service for the reign of God.”

Meet the leaders of the Province of Mid-North America who attended the LCWR assembly on our About Us page.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website veganstoryteller.com