After two years of being unable to meet in person due to COVID19 precautions, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) Assembly hosted its annual convention this year in St. Louis, inviting women religious leaders from across the country to meet once again face-to-face. Given the amount of time we’ve had in the past few years for quiet contemplation, it is safe to say that we’ve all had an opportunity to reflect on some of the deeper mysticism that can help pull us through deeply difficult times. So, the theme, “Mystical Wisdom: Following Spirit's Beckoning” was the perfect way for sisters to come together and discuss the role of mystical wisdom in their lives.
The assembly took place from August 9 to August 12, 2022, at Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch, a conference center located just yards away from the Gateway Arch. The towering 630-foot structure, which could be viewed from the hotel, offered its own reflection of mystical wisdom just by grandeur and size.
More than 700 leaders of orders of Catholic sisters came together to meet each other, network for their congregations and their missions, listen to keynote speakers, learn how to apply mystical wisdom to the complexities of modern life, and share their own wisdom with others. The first three days of the conference offered a trade show for Catholic organizations, publications, universities and more, to offer information on the ways they are doing their part to shape the future. Many participants commented on their gratitude for the chance to network with sisters they may have not met if not for the conference.
ASEC Executive Director Sr. Draru Mary Cecilia, LSMIG, Ph.D., Senior Program Manager Rosemary Shaver and Web Content Manager Monica Simon attended the conference to share the mission of ASEC as well as learn the missions of other organizations. While Sr. Draru attended discussions and meetings, Rosemary and Monica were able to tend to a booth that offered information on ASEC programs and their impact in Africa. Throughout the conference sisters and other Catholic-affiliated professionals came by the booth, some already knowing of our mission and others hoping to learn more about it. We were happy to offer recent updates, copies of our newsletters, and even some fun giveaways like keychains sent to us from ASEC Sisters in Cameroon and Kenya. Sisters shared their gratitude for having tokens that can keep them connected to the mission, some noting their own experiences in Africa.
A dinner held on Thursday night gave ASEC the opportunity to meet with various congregations who have helped spread the ASEC mission. At the dinner Sr. Draru Mary Cecelia was able to explain the mission of ASEC, the impacts it has on education in Africa, and thank donors who have helped support the organization in the past. Rosemary Shaver gave a presentation to update sisters on the work of ASEC in recent years and to share some stories of women religious in Africa who have benefitted from the mission.
While the trade show aspect of the conference ended on Thursday morning, Sisters had discussions and meetings on Friday, too. The event wrapped up Friday evening with a banquet to celebrate the sisters, their congregations, hard work and missions. Upon leaving the event Friday night, a sister commented that it was a wonderful experience and the perfect way to end the week.
The next LCWR conference will be held in August of 2023 in Dallas, Texas.