Inside the CMR "Conclave": Not-So-Secret Details of the Election
Updated: May 14
The number of Roman Catholic Sisters in the United States is definitely dwindling. Yet, most people will be able to tell you that sisters don't marry, don't have money, and don't get to do what they want. All this is true. We don't marry a man, we marry Jesus. We don't have personal money; we share our money with each other and the poor. We don't do what we want, we do what God asks of us through our superiors. Here is the interesting piece. We elect our superiors, much like the cardinals electing the pope (without the white smoke!).
For the CMR community, we elect our Regional Superior and her council every four years. It is a time of grace as we reflect on the needs of our community and an invitation to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to choose among us a sister who will best serve the Church and our U.S. Region at the current time. Unlike political elections, there are no campaign slogans, speeches, or stickers. Instead, we pray and we listen.
The CMR sisters do not call any of our superiors “Mother Superior.” It is because the Blessed Virgin Mary is our Mother Superior. The superiors are her representatives, her hands and feet, her heart and will. For this reason, our regional elections are usually on or near the Solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25th, the feast honoring Mary’s “yes” to God’s will.
With great trust, the perpetually-professed sisters gathered for a weekend in March. They spent time in silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. They also listened to the congregation's constitutional exhortations and guidelines on authority and governance. Fr. Shoby Chettiyath, the vicar general of the diocese, celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit. He also presided over the election of our Regional Superior because our General Superior, Sr. Teresa Bang was unable to come from Vietnam due to Covid-19 restrictions.
For the 2021-2025 term, God has given us Sr. Pauline Kim Kiều Nguyễn as our new Regional Superior. She has served our Region in many roles: Regional Councilor, Junior-Professed Director, Novice Director, Aspirant Director, Local Superior as well as cook extraordinaire and master florist. She has 8 siblings and her parents live in New Orleans, LA. We are blessed to have Sr. Pauline guiding us in these upcoming years. Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the World, pray for us!
Please enjoy the photos of our election celebration in our Google Photo Album!
Mass of the Holy Spirit prior to the election. Check out pictures afterwards!