Three Giving Voice Sisters, Sister Juliet Mousseau, RSCJ, Sister Limeteze Pierre-Gilles, SSND, and Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA, represented Giving Voice at Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) Synodal Leadership Pilot Religious Life Cohort from September 17-19, 2023 at the Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriottsville, Maryland. Giving Voice was one of seven national organizations that were invited to participate in the pilot. This pilot was made possible by The Porticus Foundation.
The Porticus Foundation asked The Leadership Roundtable to be the convenor of this project along with Catholic Leadership Institute, Discerning Leadership and Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Working collaboratively they created a curriculum for Synodal Leadership that they hope will be implemented in many areas of the church. LCWR for its pilot invited many organizations that serve religious life to gather to test and critique the curriculum that was created. Each Giving Voice sister shares her reflections below.
Sister Juliet: We are at a really pivotal moment and an exciting time for the Church. Synodality provides a way of “doing church” that values the voices of everyone as we journey together into the future. Because it is a new way of being, we all need to learn how to listen deeply and speak attentively, allowing the Spirit to shape us as a community. I loved learning and practicing synodality with this group of women and men. I’m grateful that LCWR invited Giving Voice, and that the three of us could represent! The curriculum created by this project will help us share the gift of synodality with others.
Sister Limeteze: It was a great opportunity and a wonderful experience to be with several women and men living synodality in this way. Sitting in a circle, praying, reflecting and dialoguing with each other in both small and large groups, I envisioned or imagined what the world could be if all of us, believers and nonbelievers, christians and nonchristians, can intentionally sit in a circle to listen to each other and dialogue despite our differences. I pray that this resource will be available to everyone including those in the most remote places so that we can all practice synodality. Synodality is a way of being with each other. It can make our world a better place for all of us.It was an exciting couple of days for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend and to LCWR who made it available to us.
Sister Amy: It was wonderful to pray, work and share meals together as we collaboratively tested, reflected on and evaluated the synodal leadership curriculum that has been developed. I have had the opportunity to work with several of the national organizations, in various capacities, but this was the first time for me to be a part of a process that had representatives working together on a project in the same room. This was a synodal experience in which the values of communion, participation and mission from the Synod were enfleshed not only in the curriculum but also in our convening. This is an exciting time in the Catholic Church! I am grateful to Giving Voice for extending the invitation offered by LCWR and I am also grateful to LCWR for creating the opportunity for each of us from various organizations to work together on this project. Amazing things happen when we collaborate together!
In photo (L to R); Sr. Maria Victoria Cutaia, OSB*, Sr. Juliet Mousseau, RSCJ, Sr. Amy Taylor, FSPA, and Sr. Limeteze Pierre-Gilles, SSND
* representing The Leadership Collaborative