Sr. Anita Baird oversaw changes in church structures that reinforced racism

Women religious exist to seek justice as the light of Christ in a world of darkness, Sr. Anita Baird told those gathered for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious' annual assembly Aug. 10 as she received their 2018 Outstanding Leadership Award. "As the first African-American to receive this leadership award, you honor not only me, but every African-American woman religious as you bear witness to the fact that black religious life matters," she said. "It took until 1979 until the bishops finally acknowledged racism as a sin," Baird told GSR. "You've got to address systems and processes and policies." 

LCWR wraps up assembly with reflection on the Trinity and diversity

On the final day of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious assembly Aug. 10, sisters explored the diversity within the image of God and lessons for religious life, marched to the Old Courthouse in St. Louis and bore witness against systemic racism, and honored Daughter of the Heart of Mary Sr. Anita Baird, the first black recipient of LCWR's Outstanding Leadership Award.

LCWR assembly reaffirms commitment to addressing 'the sin of racism'

"In the presence of constant and painful reminders of the deep roots of racism in our country, [LCWR pledges] to go deeper into the critical work of creating communion, examining the root causes of injustice and our own complicity, and purging ourselves, our communities, and our country of the sin of racism and its destructive effects."

Michael Brown's death still galvanizes anti-racism efforts in Ferguson

Brown's death and the subsequent protests forced many white people in the St. Louis area — including women religious and other social justice Catholics — to wrestle with the luxury they had of assuming things weren't that bad. And in the four years since white police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown, a black 18-year-old, and then faced no charges for it, dismantling racism has become an integral part of the archdiocese's mission.

'Time for togetherness': National Black Sisters' Conference celebrates 50 years, honors founder

The National Black Sisters' Conference celebrated its 50th anniversary Aug. 1 by honoring its founder, Patricia Grey. "The Holy Spirit was working through me. I was just the vessel," Grey said, at the closing banquet of a joint conference of several black clergy and religious groups. 

LCWR, Catholic reform organizations respond to AP report on sexual abuse of nuns by clergy

Updated - Following an Associated Press article about the sexual abuse of Catholic sisters by clergy, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and three church reform organizations urged women religious to report abuse and called upon church leadership to take action.