Bronx, NY – – One voice represents thousands. Leaders of religious congregations from across North America met in New York this week to affirm the impact they can make if their approximately 5,000 members speak with one voice about issues they want to affect.

Seventy leaders of the Federation of Women Religious, who represent about 5,000 members across North America, met in June   to discuss ways they can partner in service to the poor.  (l to r) Maureen Heverin, SC-Cincinnati, treasurer; Mary Ann Daly, SC-New York, administrative assistant; Elaine Owens, SC-New York, president; Judith Fitzgerald, NDSC, secretary and Joan Verner, SC-Halifax, vice president, serve as this year’s Federation officers and administrative assistant.Seventy leaders from 14 women religious congregations across North America met June 10 through 14 for their annual meeting of The Sisters of Charity Federation in the Vincentian-Setonian Tradition at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. These leaders represent about 5,000 women religious from around the world and met to examine ways they can commit to partnering in service to the poor, especially internationally.

The Federation voted to continue to make water their focus for advocacy, while integrating it into their efforts to address structures that keep people poor around the world. Water is common and vital to all, and particularly in developing countries water supply and access is an important key to reducing poverty. The Federation’s NGO representative at the United Nations, Marie Elena Dio, SC-Halifax, will coordinate water, as well as other, initiatives to focus on education, advocacy and effecting systemic change globally.

“We chose resistance and transformation as this year’s annual meeting theme,” Sr. Elaine Owens, Federation president and regional coordinator of SC-New York says. “It represents the place where so many of our congregations find themselves at this point in our history: growing through resistance to enable transformation. Regularly coming together with our Federation colleagues gives us real hope and energy to pursue our vision. The action steps we committed to this weekend will help us use our combined strengths to truly make a difference in people’s lives – especially the poor.”

During this year’s meeting, participants elected Federation officers for the year 2004- 2005. Joan Verner, SC-Halifax, was elected president; Janet Lehmann, SC-NJ, vice president; Judith Fitzgerald, NDSC, treasurer and Elaine Owens, SC-NY, secretary. Next year’s annual meeting will be held June 2 through 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The NGO liaisons for each of the member congregations also held meetings in conjunction with the Federation annual meeting, and formation personnel – those in each congregation responsible for helping women discern whether they have a call to religious life, and for training new sisters – also held concurrent meetings on the Mount Saint Vincent campus.

The Sisters of Charity Federation was originally formed in 1947 to work for the canonization of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. It since has collaborated on many joint projects through the years, including sponsoring the NGO representative, publishing the collected writings of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton and partnering in vocation and formation areas.

The Sisters of Charity Federation in the Vincentian-Setonian Tradition is an association of women’s religious congregations in the United States and Canada that trace their roots to Mother Seton’s 1809 foundation of the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland, or which follow the rule of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. The Federation is committed to the Gospel and serving as advocates for the poor, to collaborating and mutual support and to further their common heritage rooted in Saints Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Members of the Sisters of Charity Federation in the Vincentian-Setonian Tradition:

Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul (American Provinces)
Approximately 900 members serve internationally from their five provinces based in Maryland, Missouri, New York, Indiana and California

Sisters of Charity-New York
Approximately 500 members serve in the Northeast United States, the Bahamas and Guatemala

Sisters of Charity-Cincinnati (Ohio)
Approximately 500 members serve in 18 states and Guatemala

Sisters of Charity-Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Approximately 600 members serve in Canada, eastern US, Bermuda, Dominican Republic and Peru

Sisters of Charity-Convent Station (New Jersey)
Approximately 500 members serve in 19 states, the US Virgin Islands and El Salvador

Sisters of Charity-Seton Hill (Pennsylvania)
Approximately 300 members serve in the US and Korea

Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada)
Approximately 150 members serve in Canada and Peru

Les Religieuses de Notre Dame du Sacre-Coeur (Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada)
Approximately 200 members serve in Canada and Haiti

Vincentian Sisters of Charity-Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
Approximately 140 members serve in five states and Peru

Vincentian Sisters of Charity-Bedford (Ohio)
55 members will formally merge with the Sisters of Charity-Cincinnati this month

Sisters of Charity-Nazareth (Kentucky)
Approximately 50 members serve in the United States, Belize, Botswana, Nepal, India and Nicaragua

Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy (Charleston, North Carolina)
Approximately 20 members serve in South Carolina

Sisters of Charity-Leavenworth (Kansas)
Approximately 300 members serve in Montana, Colorado, Kansas and Peru

Sisters of Saint Martha (Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Approximately 180 members serve in Canada and St. Kitts, West Indies

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