These past several months have been rich in opportunities for
reflection, participation, listening, and sharing as a participant at two congresses.
Our annual USCSI Conference took place at the Marytown Franciscan Retreat and Conference
Center in Libertyville, Illinois, September 9-11, 2022. There were a total of 19 institutes present and a
total of 23 present in person and 12 on Zoom. The keynote speaker was Father Scott Jones from the
Institute of the Heart of Jesus who gave a two-part presentation entitled “Reading the Signs of the
Times: Consecrated Life Through the Ages.” His historical sweep of the history of consecrated life
from the days of the Apostles, through the fall of Rome, the Middle Ages, and finally to current times
was stupendous and gave a broad but detailed understanding of our origins in the Church.
That afternoon there was a panel discussion with panelists Fr John O‘Neill of the Voluntas Dei,
Ana Maria Roman of the Crusaders of Mary, Marcia Vinje of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and
Pearline Archer of the Madonna Della Strada. Each speaker gave a perspective on how they or their
institute interpreted or lived synodality. A question and answer session followed with the audience (both on Zoom and in person) and this elicited further perspectives on the topic.
On Sunday the business meeting took place. Father John O‘Neill was
elected Vice President and Father George Hazler was elected Councillor. All
seemed happy to have participated. Next year‘s conference will be held at the
Holy Family Passionist Retreat house in West Hartford, CT, September 15-
Prior to that on August 24-28, I was privileged to represent the USCSI at the
CMIS elective assembly in Rome, taking place after six years (instead of
four) for the election of the officers. It was a great joy to be with approximately 94 representatives of secular institutes from around the world and the
national conference leaders as well. Several highlights of that meeting included a presentation by Dr. Daniela Leggio entitled ―From Synodality to the
Authority of Service.‖ Here in the concept of synodality as a collaborative
work of the Spirit in actively listening to others at all levels, is embedded in
the mandate to serve one another which is at the heart of all consecrated life –
not just for us who have taken sacred bonds but for all (beginning when we
were consecrated in the Church through Baptism. More in a separate article.)
One of the highlights was a private audience with Pope Francis who was
addressed by our President Jolanta Szpilarewicz and to which the Pope responded with remarks including reference to Armida Barelli (beatified last
April). We each then were invited to greet the Pope individually, an unexpected,
gracious and generous act on his part.
We thank God for the many graces we have received and pray for each of us to enthusiastically
work to make Christ known and loved on a daily basis.
Yours in the love of our faith and our vocation, Sue Larkin
Mountaineer – Spring 2023
Dear Friends, The Gospel of John tells us: I am