A learner, a visionary, a strategic thinker, a source of energy — those close to St. Joseph Sr. Mary Pellegrino have no shortage of buoyant words to say about the outgoing president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Pellegrino will become the past president Aug. 11.
"No matter what she faces, she just has a great ability to trust herself and to trust others around her, so she gains the trust of people in return," said Fr. Joe Mele, who knew Pellegrino as a girl and has worked and collaborated with her through the years.
"That would always be done with a sparkle in her eye and smile on her face."
What began as a recurring curiosity for religious life eventually led to Pellegrino running the conference this past year while navigating the tough questions confronting women religious. However, Pellegrino and her friends say the Sister of St. Joseph is the right leader for the times.
At the upcoming LCWR assembly, set for Aug. 7-11 in Orlando, Florida, Pellegrino will transition from president to past president, passing the baton to the president-elect, Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word Teresa Maya, while remaining an active partner in the presidential triumvirate.
"To be able to serve in leadership at a time when the life is evolving and there's so much to contribute to the evolution and creativity across congregations and regions — it's exciting," Pellegrino said.
"It's not business as usual."