Women religious leadership teams gather with cardinal

BRIGHTON -- Leaders of religious congregations of women in the Boston Archdiocese joined Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley for prayer and conversation Feb. 23 in Holy Family Chapel at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brighton. Sister Mary L. Murphy, CSJ, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, welcomed the cardinal and many sisters in congregational leadership throughout the archdiocese, saying, “Know that you are always welcome in this sacred space.”

Sister Marian Batho, CSJ, the archdiocese’s delegate for religious, also welcomed those gathered and observed that each year the cardinal’s meeting with major superiors of women seems to occur during Lent. This, she continued, is appropriate because the themes of the Lenten season reflect the mission of so many of the congregations present: conversion, care for the poor, welcoming the stranger, mercy, compassion, reconciliation and more. After the group joined in prayer for the Lenten season, Sister Marian introduced Cardinal O’Malley who spoke of the hopes, dreams, challenges, and opportunities for growth that lie ahead as the Archdiocese of Boston prepares to celebrate its bicentennial year in 2008.

The call for spiritual renewal will be the centerpiece of this celebration, said the cardinal. The 2010 Initiative will continue to renew and revitalize the Catholic schools of the archdiocese. Our Catholic health system’s transition to leadership by Ascension Health Care, the nation’s largest Catholic health system, is an opportunity to strengthen the manner in which our archdiocese offers health care to the people of the Boston area, he said. Cardinal O’Malley also explained that a commission is being formed to strengthen faith formation of adolescents and young adults. As he ended his reflections, the cardinal expressed a sincere, “Thank you, for all you do for God’s people.” The afternoon concluded with an opportunity for questions and time for congregational leaders to engage in informal dialogue with the cardinal.