Pope Francis named six superiors of women's religious orders and a consecrated laywoman to be full members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Previously, the members had all been men.
Pope Francis has made it easier for a religious order to dismiss a member who leaves the community without permission, stays away and does not communicate with his or her superior. In a document titled Communis Vita, the pope amended the Code of Canon Law to include an almost automatic dismissal of religious who are absent without authorization for at least 12 months.
Forming a community of women from different backgrounds and uniting them in prayer, in care for the earth and in hospitality to others is a powerful witness of Gospel values, Pope Francis told a group of Benedictine sisters.
Pope Francis formally recognized the martyrdom of an Italian Consolata sister murdered in Somalia in 2006, Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, who was gunned down, along with her bodyguard, as they left a children's hospital where she worked in Mogadishu in September 2006.