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Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious


(CMSWR); established, 1992, to promote religious life in women religious orders in the United States, to encourage effective collaboration among those major superiors who desire it, and to cooperate closely with the hierarchy, the pope and bishops, of the Church. On June 13, 1992, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life officially erected the CMSWR and approved its statutes for an experimental period of five years. On Oct. 26, 1995, the congregation granted definitive approval to the statutes with some minor modifications.

As a canonical Conference of Major Superiors according to the Law of the Church (canons 708 and 709 of the Code of Canon Law ), CMSWR brings major superiors together in collaboration and mutual support as they serve the Church and their individual institutes, transact common business, and coordinate active cooperation with united states conference of catholic bishops (USCCB). In connection with the USCCB, CMSWR members have been asked to serve in various capacities involving the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), the National Advisory Committee to Bishops, Bishops Health Care Committee, and the Bishops Committee on the Missions. By invitation, Board members have attended the Synod on Religious Life and the Synod on America.

The members of the council belong to communities of women that seek to promote the consecrated life as a radical way of life and calling of Christ. They are committed to a life of prayer, liturgical, communal and individual, as a means of deep union with Christ, their Spouse. The major superiors who are members of the Council share with one another both strengths and weaknesses arising from their common effort to serve the needs of the Church in each community's own unique way.

As of 2001, CMSWR had 160 members from 113 different institutes or provinces, representing over 6,000 sisters from across the United States. CMSWR holds national assemblies that provide opportunities for members to pray together, discuss common concerns and to participate in programs on various aspects of religious life. In addition to regional workshops and periodic courses that are offered to sisters for their continued formation, workshops are organized for those responsible for the formation of new sisters. In 1999, the CMSWR established the Domus Sanctae Mariae Guadalupe a residence in Rome, within a walking distance from the Vatican, for sister-students to pursue further studies at neighboring Catholic universities.

The CMSWR newsletter keeps readers informed about its activities, ecclesial publications and current happenings in Rome, especially those concerning religious life. A vocations directory is available at no charge to assist young women in the discernment of their vocation. A quarterly newsletter, Consecrata, is also distributed to over 5,000 individuals and agencies interested in supporting consecrated life through their prayers and funding.

[b. a. gooding]

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