Statement of The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, On the Report of The Apostolic Visitation of US Women Religious
A little over two months ago, people of faith throughout this state and, indeed, throughout the nation celebrated the beatification of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, SC, a Sister of Charity born, raised, and professed here in New Jersey in the early part of the 20th Century. Although her life as a Woman Religious was short, it is a true example of the impact Women Religious have had, and can have, in the life of the Church and her people.
So I welcome the report of the Apostolic Visitation of US Women Religious. Its introduction alone echoes what the people of this local Church of Newark, as well people everywhere in the State of New Jersey, have long known. The Sisters “have been in the forefront” of the Church’s mission of evangelization, selflessly tending to the spiritual, moral, educational, physical and social needs” of the people they have vowed to serve.
The Sisters of yesterday and the Sisters of today who responded to God’s call to serve others and to bring us to a deeper and more personal relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ – the center of our Catholic faith – deserve our admiration, affection and respect.
True, the report of the Apostolic Visitation recognizes that the presence of Women Religious among us has diminished in recent decades. For a number of reasons Women Religious face challenging times ahead in terms of future members and of maintaining their charisms. I am hopeful that the communities will accept the recommendations of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life regarding “total consecration to Christ and seeking new ways to present the significance of religious life to those who are discerning their life choice and vocation journey.”
As the Church continues to celebrate this special Year for Consecrated Life I and all of the people of the Archdiocese join with the Congregation in prayer for the continued ability of Women Religious in the United States to be “authentic witnesses to the Gospel in daily life.”