The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has released a new book, However Long the Night: Making Meaning in a Time of Crisis, that chronicles what the organization learned as it went through a six-year doctrinal investigation by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). CDF publicly questioned the fundamentals of LCWR and called for a reform of the organization, an action that stirred great concern among members of the Catholic Church, and many others throughout the world who saw the Vatican’s action as repressive and unjust. In the book, the Catholic sisters who were leaders of LCWR during those years share what helped them navigate that crisis in ways that might be useful for anyone attempting to work through confrontation in today’s fractured world.
The authors not only explain how they led a large and complex organization through this difficult period, but with great transparency share how their own spiritual grounding helped them make this journey. Through the sharing of their own stories, these leaders describe methods, processes, and practices that are readily translatable for use by other individuals, communities, and organizations as they weather a crisis.
Readers will see how these women handled the decisions that confront any of us when faced with conflict. How to build relationships that cross divides? How to embody humility, while staying true to one’s mission, and operating with integrity? How to manage anger and respond with strategies that create peace? How to find truth in complex situations? How to handle media attention if the conflict becomes public?
Each chapter of this inspirational book includes questions for the readers’ own reflection. The questions can also serve as guides for book groups and discussion circles.
I have no hesitation in stating that this is the best leadership book I have yet to read on how to lead through a crisis-laden time and emerge with one’s integrity, community, capacity, and faith stronger for the experience…. Here is a guidebook of consciously earned wisdom for how to walk through such dark struggles and not lose our way.Margaret Wheatley, Author
- Marcia Allen, CSJ;
- Florence Deacon, OSF;
- Pat Farrell, OSF;
- Sharon Holland, IHM;
- Mary Hughes, OP;
- Janet Mock, CSJ;
- Annmarie Sanders, IHM;
- Joan Marie Steadman, CSC;
- Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA;
- Carol Zinn, SSJ.
The authors are available to speak at workshops and other events. For information contact Annmarie Sanders, IHM at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This dramatic story of power, discernment, hope, pain, and, ultimately, faith, should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the Catholic church in our age.James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage and consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication
This extraordinary book falls like a gentle rain upon these parched times of escalating polarization…. By enfolding a narrative of discord into a broader and deeper narrative of a tough spiritual journey, this book dramatically narrates a form of leadership that can light a path to peace with justice.Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University
Beautifully personal in tone and style, this book offers a glimpse of how high integrity and conscious leadership can bring reconciliation into the world.Peter Block, Author, An Other Kingdom
These reflections by LCWR leadership represent nothing less than a primer in a profoundly practical ecclesiology…. This volume deserves to be prayerfully studied by all those called to lead in times of conflict and turmoil.Richard Gaillardetz, Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, Boston College
In a country beset by violent language, lack of civility, intolerance, and polarization, the leaders of LCWR model a path marked by fidelity to prayer and deep listening, commitment to dialogue and respectful relationship, and undying hope for mutuality and communion. Humility, strength, honesty, and integrity characterize their voices.Constance FitzGerald, OCD, Baltimore Carmel