The organization which represents the majority of U.S. Catholic sisters has issued a statement thanking Pope Benedict for his "many years of tireless service to the Catholic Church."
Pope Benedict, that statement from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious says, has made contributions "as a theologian, as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as pope."
"We respect his integrity in making what must have been a difficult decision to resign and promise him our prayer as he prepares to leave the papacy," reads  the statement. "May he be richly blessed for his profound dedication to the service of the Gospel."
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is a representative body of some 80 percent of U.S. Catholic sisters.