Dear Conference Members, Partners and Friends,
Two years ago, as the Planning Committee contemplated a theme for the 2021 Congress, the words of the prophet Malachi captured the imagination of the group: “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.“ We clearly thought that the pandemic would long be behind us and that healing would be in front of us. Instead, we found ourselves at the end of a second year of online programming, with uncertainty as the subtext.
Yet during this time neither the world nor RFC has stood still. In a recent program of Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, entitled “So What Did I Miss? A Look Back, A Look Around, A Look Ahead After Two Years of COVID,” the moderator listed some events that have occurred in the U.S. during this time. They include:
- “A global pandemic with nearly a million lives lost in the United States, lockdowns, closed schools and churches, and conflicts over vaccines and masks;
- Two presidential impeachments, one election, a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, and legislative paralysis;
- The ongoing Russia invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan;
- Police killings of Black people in our streets and on our screens and a racial reckoning in our cities and hearts;
- U.S. Supreme Court arguments on abortion, voting rights, immigration, and the death penalty;
- Continuing anguish in the wake of the clergy sex abuse crisis; and
- Pope Francis’ moral leadership: standing alone in St. Peter’s Square at the onset of the pandemic, visiting Iraq and Lesbos, writing Fratelli Tutti, and calling a Synod to listen to laypeople.”
What does the Congress theme of “Arise!” mean in this context? And, further, what does formation mean in this context?
Over the past year, amid its own internal changes, the Conference has tried to address these questions through its programming and publications, through internal and external fora, and through Congress conversations. Clearly, the discernment and discussion are ongoing.
We invite you to click below and learn how the RFC moved forward in service of initial and ongoing formation for women and men religious in 2021.
May we continue to contemplate the Light with healing in its wings and arise!
Ellen Dauwer, SC