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But even if the details of the split remain hazy for them, these younger sisters are crystal clear on one thing: Communion between LCWR and CMSWR communities is crucial for the future of religious life in the U.S.
That's one of the reasons why Press, whose community maintains membership in both LCWR and CMSWR, is on the planning committee for the upcoming national gathering in St.
Getting CMSWR communities to send sisters to the national gatherings has been Giving Voice's greatest challenge in terms of creating unity, Perez said.
That's been pretty easy for Press, who's never known a form of religious life that did not include experiences with both LCWR and CMSWR.
But the perspective that my community has gifted me with is to be able to sort of stand in the middle and lean on both sides, which has been a blessing." But both Perez and Walsh say that, for them, those relationships have been harder to come by Despite her recent success with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, Walsh said she often feels that her ability to make friends with CMSWR sisters is stifled by the very fact of the two-conference construct.
Perez, a religion teacher, said that whenever she sees CMSWR sisters at third-party events like the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) or Los Angeles Religious Education conferences, she makes it a point to talk to them.
The Vatican decided otherwise and CMSWR was recognized as a second authorized Conference of congregations for American nuns.
Vincent Marie Finnegan, a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart and a CMSWR founding board member, says the audits actually helped to facilitate healing, at least where the two leadership conferences were concerned.
According to its website (www.cmswr.org), the council's members look to the "patrimony of the Church's teaching on religious life," while the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (believes "God's call is written in the signs of the times." The websites illustrate other differences as well, including CMSWR members in religious habits and LCWR members in modest contemporary clothing.
In 2009 CMSWR published The Foundations of Religious Life: Revisiting the Vision, with chapters on religious consecration, the spousal bond, vows, community, and the evangelical mission.
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