"As U.S. Catholic sisters are meeting to discern their relationship with the church’s bishops, the archbishop given expansive oversight of them by the Vatican told their annual assembly Thursday the Virgin Mary teaches the faithful to hand themselves over “completely to the will of God.”
“She shows to us … what God himself desires to do in us all and through the church when we let the grace of God overtake us without placing an obstacle between ourself and that grace,” he continued.
Sartain’s homily came on the third day of the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which is meeting here through Friday.
LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of the some 57,000 U.S. sisters, is meeting 18 months after the Vatican issued a sharp critique of the group and ordered Sartain to exercise control over its statutes and programs.
Concelebrating at the sisters’ assembly with Sartain was Archbishop Carlo Viganò, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio, or ambassador, to the U.S. The two also celebrated Mass for the sisters together on Wednesday.
The archbishops celebrated Thursday without the aid of altar servers, wearing white vestments and small white mitres. Sisters led the singing and distributed communion.
Beginning his homily by mentioning how young children are “effortlessly” open to the world around them, Sartain said Mary “did not place any obstacles between herself and the grace of God” but “breathed in [the] gift of God’s loving care.”
“And, breathing it in, letting it overtake it completely, she placed herself without any hindrance at all into the hands of God,” Sartain told the sisters..."