Sisters for Christian Community

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Founded, 1970 in response to Vatican II and to the desire of a number of committed women for a flexible lifestyle to facilitate ministry. The Sisters For Christian Community (SFCC) is an international community with a committed membership in all continents of the world. The sisters seek to be present wherever there is a need for Christian love and community witness. The community reflects the journey of women called to be cofoundresses, co-equals, and co-responsible for all aspects of this form of religious life, which is non-canonical and ecumenical, with a self-supporting membership.

The vision of the community was formulated by Lillanna Kopp, Ph.D, then Sister Audrey Kopp, a sociologist and member of the Sisters of the Holy Names (SNJM), who had been teaching at Maryhurst College and who was very active in the renewal of religious communities of women during the 1960s. Her vision was of a new form of religious life that would embody the values and principles of the Second Vatican Council. She was urged by several bishops who were involved in the renewal of religious communities to carry out this vision. A number of women religious, leaders in their congregations, encouraged her to be the catalyst in forming the community and, with Lillanna, became the founding group of the Sisters for Christian Community.

The mission and goals of the Sisters for Christian Community are clearly stated in the SFCC Profile. The apostolic goal of SFCC is to promote and witness Christian community; and, the sisters strive through all means available to forward the realization of Christ's prayer, " that all may be ONE ." that they may be Community. To achieve this goal, they seek to bring together into a community Christ-committed women who give witness to collegial community with the mission of building the body of Christ through helping to build dynamic Christian community wherever they live their calling. Each sister determines her own ministry on the basis of her personal call within the community, her training and interests, and the movement of the Spirit.

The vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience (expressed in terms of serving and sharing; celibate love; and listening to the guidance of the Spirit) are lived in accord with the special ministry of the sister. The sisters are found in nearly every professional field in faith-based ministries; in public, private, and corporate organizations; in university, diocesan, and parish settings; in such works areas as education, social work, and health; with the homeless, the elderly, the poor, and the sick. All are concerned with issues of social justice and the bonding of women.

The organizational structure of the community is simple. The sisters live alone or with others. Community transcends distance. It is experienced through personal contacts, local, regional, and international gatherings, and newsletters. Community decisions are made collegially, through a process of consensus. Mutual support and accountability are most tangibly experienced at the regional and local levels.

Since its inception in 1970, SFCC has been a community in process, refining its international communications network under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. By the end of the 20th century, membership exceeded 470 and had expanded into 19 regions, each with a regional communications coordinator who is selected through a process of discernment whereby the sisters call forth a member to assume the service role. SFCC numbers over 470 members and the sisters are currently exploring new forms of membership at the Annual International Assemblies.

[m. v. joseph]