'We have become more faithful, not less'

Franciscan Sr. Nancy Schreck, a past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, gave the keynote address on Thursday to members gathered in Nashville, Tenn., for the group's annual assembly. (Dan Stockman)

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

LCWR has posted the full text of her speech here.

The identity of women religious has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, the nation's largest group of sisters heard Thursday, but that change has occurred because they implemented the directives of the Second Vatican Council, not because they have been unfaithful.

Sr. Nancy Schreck, a Franciscan sister and a past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, told LCWR members gathered Thursday here for their annual assembly that Perfectae Caritatis, the Vatican II document on the adaptation and renewal of religious life, has been one of the most implemented of the council documents because women religious have followed its teachings.

Members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious enjoy the opportunity to talk to each other at their annual meeting, this year in Nashville, Tenn. (Dan Stockman)

But that renewal and change has led to the issues women religious now face, Schreck said. 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 Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to oversee changes. After this assembly, Sartain must approve speakers at the group's events, according to the Vatican.

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