Women religious from around the country gathered for a Eucharistic Congress on September 11-12 in Washington, DC at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This 2-day Congress was sponsored by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) and included talks given in English and Spanish, as well as providing simultaneous Spanish translation of the liturgies.
We were honored by the presence of His Eminence Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Episcopal Liaison for the CMSWR; Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States; His Eminence Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; His Eminence Marc Cardinal Oullet, Archbishop of Quebec and the Primate of Canada; Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore, and Archbishop Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. The Knights of Columbus also collaborated in numerous ways to make the event possible, including a talk by the Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
The presence of a large number of religious sisters from many different congregrations reminded all the participants – religious and laity alike – of the countless women who have consecrated their lives to Jesus Christ, their Spouse, through the service to His Church. Today, as much as in the past, the Lord is calling forth women to be uniquely His own through the profession of the evangelical counsels.
Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Patroness of the Americas, Patroness of the CMSWR
A relic of the Tilma of Tepeyac was exhibited at the Congress for veneration by the faithful. This unusual relic is a tiny piece of the tilma on which the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is found. Mother Mary Mother of Mercy McDunnough, our Provincial Superior, had the privilege of bearing the relic in procession from the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the sanctuary shortly before Holy Mass on Friday afternoon.
Mother Maria del Cenaculo, currently local superior of the community in Avondale, PA, presented a talk in Spanish on Saturday morning about the importance that fraternal life in common plays in religious life. Adoration in community and daily Mass together allow Our Eucharistic Lord to shape and strengthen religious communities with His grace. She directed her points especially to the particular experience of Hispanic women religious working in apostolates in the United States and to the essential role of community prayer.
On Saturday, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, presided over the closing Holy Mass and led an outdoor Eucharistic Procession which followed immediately after the Mass. Knights of Columbus, many religious sisters, groups in ethnic dress representing the universality of the Church, and the lay faithful processed behind the Blessed Sacrament around the perimeter of the Basilica, pausing for Benediction outside, at the front of the Basilica, and at the main altar at the end of the procession.
We pray for the continued fruits of this Eucharistic Congress, that those who attended the events from