Nuns Keep Tabs on Synod and Talk Back: Faxes, E-Mail, Forums All Part of NCAN Plan
Vidulich, Dorothy, National Catholic Reporter
Faxes, E-mail, forums all part of NCAN plan
WASHINGTON - "These men are talking about our lives as women religious, lived in community," said Sr. Margaret Traxler by telephone from Rome.
"Yet, most of the bishops (at the current Synod on the Consecrated Life and Its Role in the Church and the World) are not members of religious orders. They don't live in community, responding to vows," she said. "It was foolish on their part for them to think they could understand what they are studying - refashioning religious life for our contemporary world."
Traxler is a founding member of the National Coalition of American Nuns, which organized a "dialogue" gathering in Rome to coincide with the synod. A golden jubilarian in tha School Sisters of Notre Dame this year, Traxler continued, "The bishops are questioning, wondering. But they can't quite come to an understanding of religious life because they have not experienced it."
NCAN, based in Chicago, decided early in 1994 that when the synod opened in Rome on Oct. 2, it would have members there to provide two types of forums for religious to share their experiences of religious life today: local lectures and global faxed and E-mail dialogues.
For example, at one presentation at the host Combini Sisters' Rome generalate, Mercy Sr. Doris Gottemoeller, one of 51 auditors at the synod, told the more than 100 women and men religious from Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America that there was "a surprising emphasis on monasticism" in synod delegates' presentations.
Discussion often focused on internal practices and disciplines - formation and community life practices - identifying problems but offering no solutions, she said.
At the second type of NCAN-sponsored forum, invited religious throughout the world formed roundtable discussions in their local areas to consider the same agenda as the Vatican synod.
It was not necessarily the voices in the synod corridors that the forums listened to: From Rome by telephone, Dominican Sr. …