Souls prayer project
Sister Clarissa Goeckner, Prioress, Monastery of St. Gertrude, was among those who attended the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) Region XV Meeting at the Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at Federal Way, Washington, October 18 – 21. Those Sisters in leadership who have community members ministering in the Northwest, gather in the fall to share information from the National Assembly Agenda, conduct regional business, do long-range planning and share community challenges, best practices and developments since the last regional meeting. It is also a time of mutual support and encouraging one another in ministry to the People of God and care of their memberships.
After these discussions, the transformative question was put to the group: From what you experienced, what is the emerging reality or question that is arising in you? How does it impact your community? How can we collaborate with one another as we move forward?
This year Archbishop Peter Sartain (Archdiocese of Seattle) joined the 23 sisters, representing ten different religious communities, on Friday afternoon. The Archbishop introduced himself to the assembly since this was the first LCWR Region 15 meeting that he has attended. Each member shared with the Archbishop the reason her community came to this country and the ministries it engaged in then and what the various orders continue to do now. Each member also expressed the joys, the challenges and struggles facing her community today.
Before celebrating Liturgy, the Archbishop expressed gratitude to the Sisters for their ministry and for all that the Sisters have contributed to the development of health care, education and works of justice in the Northwest.
Following the LCWR meeting, the archbishops, some of the bishops and superiors of men’s religious communities ministering in the Northwest, joined the sisters for the meeting of the Northwest Association of Bishops and Major Religious Superiors (NABRS). NABRS has met for more than 40 years to explore critical topics like health care, poverty, multiculturalism and evangelization.
The topics considered at this year’s meeting were: The Impact of Vatican II—50 Years Later, and the Northwest and Care of Native Americans.
To note the 50th Anniversary of Vatican Council II, a panel consisting of the Bishop of Spokane, Blaise Cupich, Sister Sharon Casey, OP, Tacoma and Patrick Lee, S.J., Provincial for the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province presented their reflections on the impact of Vatican II. Following the presentation, members of the group shared reflections on the following questions: What impact did you feel personally? What do you perceive as the blessings of Vatican II? What have been the challenges? How are we being called in our ministry of leadership into the future?
The next topic was care of Native Americans in the Northwest. It is a concern that with religious leaving the reservations, the native peoples will not be ministered to and will not be invited to minister in the Church.
NABRS gatherings began in 1969 when leaders of women’s communities invited the Northwest bishops to discuss collaboration in ministry. The theme of that first gathering was, “Meeting the Spiritual Needs of the Northwest in the 1970s through Cooperative Action.” Superiors of men’s communities were invited in 1972 and the meetings have occurred once a year except for last year when the bishops were in Rome for the canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
The association sees its very existence as a model of evangelization that can reach beyond the Northwest. NABRS stands as an example of “dialogue for the sake of the Gospel.”