In February, the pope named Sr. Nathalie Becquart, the French religious sister of the Congregation of Xavières to become the undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, a summit of church leaders at the Vatican set to address the most cogent topics facing the institution. She is among the women and lay people helping to shape the future of the institution.
A growing number of women hold consequential positions in the church and at the Vatican. Nuns in the United States have been among those setting the pace.
Ann Russell Miller was a wealthy socialite, not a woman of moderation. But more than 30 years ago, Miller took vows of silence and poverty to become Sr. Mary Joseph at a Carmelite monastery in Illinois. She died there June 5.
It took some getting used to, but Sr. Maria Minerva Morales is now a faithful user of a cell phone app where she documents her interactions with people she ministers to.