Last Saturday Marge and I returned from the annual Leadership Conference of Women Religious held in Orlando, FL.

The theme, “Being the Presence of Love: The Power of Transformation” provided the gathered assembly with inspiration and challenges not only from the 2 keynote speakers – Dr. Christopher Pramuk and Jan Richardson; but also from the outgoing president, Sr. Mary Pellegrino, CSJ, “The Future Enters Us Long Before It Happens”, and “Remarks” from Sr. Constance FitzGerald, OCD who received the 2017 LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award.

The Spanish and French texts will soon be available for the talks of Sr. Mary Pellegrino, Dr. Chris Pramuk, and Sr. Constance Fitzgerald. Please let me know which talks you would like to receive in either Spanish or French.

During the Assembly, we had two opportunities to participate in one of 4 different deepening groups. This experience was designed to provide personal reflection time and an opportunity to share with and learn from the wisdom of others. Marge and I were with leaders in international communities. The other 3 deepening groups were: leaders of merged communities, leaders of communities in their last generation and leaders ages 60 and younger.

When we met in our small group of 6 leaders, we engaged in a contemplative dialogue, based on the proceedings of the assembly. Within the dialogue experience, the participants hold their own point of view gently, while listening carefully to those of others, with the goal of experiencing the emergence of larger understandings of the subjects discussed.


The following questions guided our group sharing: What did we just say that matters most for the future of our communities, religious life, and the world we serve? Where did we sense the movement of the Spirit in this experience? What did we just say that matters for the future of our communities, religious life, and the world we serve?

Contemplative dialogue is a means of readying the ground for the collective transformation, for helping shift from I to WE, from individualism to communion.

– Sr. Rita Ricker, RJM

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