This year's Call To Action Leadership Award went to Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell. She accepted the award Saturday morning at the organization's national conference in Louisville, Ky.
In an email to Call To Action supporters, CTA's executive director Jim FitzGerald said that Farrell is "a model of the best of Catholic leadership: where leaders invite communal discernment of the signs of the times in light of the gospel – and are not afraid to follow where the Spirit leads."
Farrell was president in April when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its doctrinal assessment on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. She currently holds the past president position of LCWR.
Accepting the award Saturday, she thanked CTA supporters in the crowd for "this recognition of LCWR which I have to say is my deep, deep privilege to represent."
"Your solidarity with women religious has been overwhelmingly significant for us and for the church. So please hear in my own expression of gratitude the voices of thousands of women religious all over the country who are very appreciative of your gestures of encouragement: the vigils, the prayers, the letters. You have spoken. You have stood with us. You have affirmed and strengthened us and that has made all the difference."
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"I'm also very confident that I speak for women religious around the country in assuring you that we also stand with you … that we walk side by side with the laity in our common effort to discern our way forward in our church. And how could it be otherwise? We share the same universal call to holiness declared at Vatican II."
Even in weariness, listen just as the suffering servant in the Book of Isaiah does, she said.
"I believe that God's future is revealed to us precisely when the path is not clear. When there is no apparent way forward, perhaps the only way is down, to a place of deeper listening. That's what this moment asks of us."
Farrell called for continual discernment on what is most essential, and that "[w]e need to return again and again into the probing thoughtfulness of scripture, of the study of theology, and of genuine conversation with each other. We have work to do. The task of transformation -- and it's nothing less than that -- is neither quick nor easy. It needs the effort of every morning of every day."