Pope Francis Appoints Six Women to Previously All-male Religious Order

Pope appointed six women Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

On Monday, 23 new members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life were appointed by Pope Francis. What’s even more interesting about the whole thing is that he appointed six women religious superior generals as well as, a head of a women’s secular institute.

The nominations which happened on July 8 included bishops, superior generals, and cardinals of male religious communities. In the past, women weren’t included. However, Pope Francis has broken that tradition by including women.

This move has just demonstrated the increased attention that Pope Francis has when it comes to putting women in leadership positions within the Vatican. These appointments come after the 2014 nomination of superior general of the Comboni Missionarie Sr. Irma Luzia Premoli. The appointment of Premoli is the first time that a superior general of a female institute has been named as a member of the congregation.

The names of the six women superior generals are Sr. Yvonne Reungoat of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Kathleen Appler of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Sr. Françoise Massy of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Sr. Simona Brambilla of the Consolata Missionaries, Sr. Luigia Coccia of the Comboni Missionaries, and Sr. M. Rita Calvo Sanz of the Company of Mary Our Lady. Also nominated general president of the Don Bosco Secular Institute Olga Krizova.

The American-origin superior of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Brother Robert I. Schieler, has also been made a full member of the congregation in conjunction with superior generals of the Jesuits, the Augustinians, the Discalced Carmelites, the Capuchins, the Scalabrinians and the abbot president of the Subiaco Cassinese Benedictine Congregation.

The 1988 constitution which regulates the Roman Curia, Pastor bonus, will soon be replaced. The ordinary members of a congregation are bishops and cardinals. However, the specific nature of certain clerics, dicastery’s and other faithful may be added to the body of bishops and cardinals.

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