Vatican's visitator: 'Great hope' for 'new flourishing' of religious life

by Joshua J. McElwee

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The women appointed to head up the Vatican’s visitation of U.S. women religious says that the three-year study gave her “great hope for a new flourishing of vibrant religious life” in an interview posted this morning.

Mother Mary Clare Millea’s comments come three days after news that reports of the apostolic visitation have been quietly submitted to Rome.

The email interview, posted at the National Catholic Register’s website, seems to show Millea, who is also the superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a fairly positive outlook on the continued role of women religious in the U.S.

In answer to one question on the decline of communities of women religious, Millea responds that she was “encouraged to note” that “many congregations have increased their efforts to present the consecrated life as a viable and joyful way of serving the Church.”

“Conversations on this topic are taking place among religious within their own communities as well as with members of other congregations,” writes Millea.

“This dialogue is already resulting in a comprehensive strategic plan for the promotion of religious vocations involving all components of the Church in the United States. This gives me great hope for a new flourishing of vibrant religious life.”

Millea also writes that, with the seeming end of the visitation, she is “happy” to return to the “more than…full-time task” of coordinating the life of her own order.

“At the same time,” she writes, “the apostolic visitation has greatly increased my love and esteem for the women religious in the United States.”

“Should the Holy See request any further involvement on my part for the promotion of religious life, I would be open to considering that possibility.”

To read the full interview, head over to the Register’s posting.

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