By Sister Carren
For many months we’ve been living through the phases of the Apostolic Visitation of women religious in the United States and the investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). I have this feeling that any moment the hammer will fall punishing women religious for something. That’s not a very comfortable feeling, especially when I feel we’re following how God is leading us to renew our lives.
I’m not directly under the microscope as an elected leader in my community or in LCWR. They are the ones responding to the Vatican’s questions on our behalf. The Vatican’s intent is to improve the quality of our lives and see that we are on the right doctrinal path. In the process they are arousing suspicion in many people, not just sisters. Others, more eloquent than I, have written about this. They have explained clearly that our actions since Vatican II have been a faithful response to the Church and to the Spirit. Seeing the last fifty years reviewed and analyzed has made me very proud of the path we have taken.
I yearn for a feeling of partnership with priests. In the past I’ve experienced working side by side in a parish giving and receiving support and encouragement from clergy. Now I feel like priests and bishops are afraid of what sisters will say or do and so are trying to control us. I pray that we women religious continue our prophetic stance and give hope to the faithful, regardless of the consequences.
“When I use my power in service of my vision, it matters less and less whether I am afraid.” This sustains me in my work within and for the Church.