Pope Francis named six superiors of women's religious orders, a consecrated laywoman and the superior of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to be full members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Previously, the members had all been men: cardinals, a few bishops and several priests who were superiors of large religious orders of men.
The Vatican announced the pope's appointment of the women July 8: Sisters Kathleen Appler, the U.S.-born superior of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul; Yvonne Reungoat, superior of the Salesian Sisters; Francoise Massy, superior of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary; Luigia Coccia, superior of the Comboni Sisters; Simona Brambilla, superior of the Consolata Missionary Sisters; Rita Calvo Sanz, superior of the Company of Mary Our Lady; and Olga Krizova, general president of the Volunteers of Don Bosco, a group of consecrated laypeople.
Brother Robert Schieler, the U.S.-born superior of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, also was named a full member of the congregation along with the priests who are superiors general of the Jesuits, the Discalced Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Scalabrinians, the Capuchins and the abbot president of the Subiaco Cassinese Benedictine Congregation.
The new members announced by the Vatican also included five bishops and four cardinals: Cardinals Angelo De Donatis, papal vicar for Rome; Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life; Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain.