Thursday, May 12, 2016

More on the UISG

Carmen Sammut, MSOLA (Malta, I believe)
is President of the IUSG. Sisters of her congregation,
Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa,
lived with our Sisters in our D Building
at one time, and now are at Providence Place.
Our Sisters in Kenya also knew some of their Sisters. 
Sister Maxyne Schneider is in Rome attending a conference of the International Union of Superiors General--a worldwide, canonically approved organization of Superiors General of Institutes of Catholic Women Religious.

There is a new energy in the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). It was apparent last August at the meeting of the American constellation after the LCWR National Assembly in August, and it is very apparent at the triennial Plenary Assembly. The IUSG  is under the leadership of Executive Secretary Sr. Pat Murray, IBVM (Ireland), who had brought similar energy to leadership of Solidarity with South Sudan, and  Carmen Sammut, MSOLA (Malta) as President. Now with a strong board and a strategic plan in the face of compelling world needs, the body representing more than a half million Sisters worldwide is far more than a forum for exchange of information.

The UISG was established 50 years ago on the final day of the second Vatican Council.  It was intended to be the counterpart to the corresponding organization for men religious which had existed for some time, the USG. As such, it would be the organization for the leaders of apostolic religious institutes of women. This is its golden Jubilee.

Last fall at the Synod on the family the IUSG took an important step in advocacy. While the USG, the men's organization, had always been considered equivalent to bishops and therefore would be given 10 seats at a synod, the women's organization, the IUSG, never had any ability to attend. This year the men offered the women one half of their positions. They presented that to the appropriate Vatican official and it was refused. However, the women were then given three positions at the Synod and were allowed as with all positions to have their three minutes of speaking time. While there is still much to be done in regard to the presence of women at the Vatican, this is one small step. One of the future concerns is that there are 30 people who form the commission for the dicastery on religious life, CICLSAL, but there is not even one woman, though women make up most of the religious  of the world. 

Sr. Monica Cavanaugh, center, is a Sister of St. Joseph from Australia, 
Mary McKillop's congregation. They were founded 150 years ago 
with direct inspiration from the Sisters in Le Puy.

Last evening the Chambery Sisters invited all the Sisters of St. Joseph at the UISG  for an evening of conversation (multilingual) and supper at their generalate house in Rome. 

Talking to Sr. Rosemary Brennan from Boston and Sr. Monica Cavanaugh from Australia is Sr. Mary McKay of Carondelet, a close cousin of Sr. Judy Levins.

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