From August 7 -11, St. Louis Catholics have dubbed their hometown a "Sister City" to support the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) meeting there. At their annual gathering, the sisters will contemplatively discern how to respond to a harsh Vatican mandate issued last April.
Just as St. Louis has become a "Sister City," FutureChurch is working with the Nun Justice Project to raise up other Sister Cities. We are encouraging special solidarity vigils on August 7 (or another time that week). Already, the project has 15 Sister City vigils planned! We will sing the classic "We are Called" in a chorus of solidarity with all who work for justice. Inspiring new prayer resources are available for sidewalk vigils, vigils in churches, and private use.
On August 7 please support the sisters in prayer, song and solidarity by organizing a public or private vigil in your city.
Download new Sister City Vigil prayer resources and talking points
See if there is already a vigil planned in your city and view photos of previous vigils
If you haven't already please record your pledge to direct or redirect a financial contribution to support the sisters, and write to church officials about how US sisters are being treated.
Catholic Response Throughout the month of May and June, vigils in support of U.S. Sisters were held across the country in over 50 cities. The Conference of Major Superiors of Men , six individual religious orders of priests and brothers , the new Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, and the international peace movement Pax Christi, have passed resolutions supporting LCWR. Currently, United States Congress has 176 cosponsors on a resolution honoring Catholic sisters. The outpouring of support has attracted extraordinary media attention. From Public Radio's Diane Rehm Show to Comedy Central's The Colbert Report to local TV footage and national Associated Press coverage, Catholics everywhere are expressing their dismay at how the Vatican was treating women religious.
More Background On April 18, 2012 the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group that represents more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. The Vatican harshly criticized LCWR for alleged doctrinal irregularities and organization was placed under the oversight of three bishops and ordered to revise its statutes, programs, speakers, liturgical practices and justice affiliations.
On June 1, LCWR officials issued a statement saying the Vatican critique was based on unsubstantiated accusations that arose from a "flawed process" and had caused "scandal and pain throughout the church." On June 12, LCWR leadership travelled to Rome hoping for clarification, but the meeting was characterized as a "dialogue of the deaf" by the outgoing prefect of the CDF, Cardinal William Levada. LCWR has been consulting with regional groups and will consider its response at the organization's annual meeting August 7-11.