Sartain to LCWR assembly: I'm here 'as a brother and a friend'

This article appears in the LCWR feature series. View the full series.
Franciscan Sr. Nancy Schreck speaks Tuesday to members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious at the welcoming ceremony for the group's annual assembly in Nashville, Tenn. (Dan Stockman)

Nashville, Tennessee — Editor's note: For an ongoing list of all coverage of the assembly, go to this series link: LCWR 2014.

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, the Vatican-appointed head of the effort to reform the largest leadership organization for U.S. women religious, is attending the sisters' annual assembly "as a brother and a friend."

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, made up of Catholic women religious who are leaders of their orders in the United States, represents about 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the United States. Nearly 800 of the group's 1,400 members have gathered here for their four-day annual conference.

But the gathering is under a cloud, and Sartain is its American face: LCWR has been undergoing a Vatican-ordered doctrinal assessment since 2009. Following the investigation, in 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered LCWR to reform its statutes and appointed Sartain to oversee changes. After this assembly, Sartain must approve speakers at the group's events.

Members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious gather Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn., for the group's welcoming ceremony. (Dan Stockman)

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