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Rome Reports

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Superiors General on women deacons and law for reporting abuse cases


For one week, 850 superiors generals from International Union of Superiors General (UISG) met in Rome for their plenary assembly.

Sr. Sally Hodgdon, the Superior General for the Sisters St. Joseph of Chambery, explained how their assembly went. She says the women have been discussing how to transmit hope to not only their congregations but the world. 

SR. SALLY HODGDON
Superior General, Sisters St. Joseph of Chambery
“We need to go farther and farther to the margins, to where some people have no hope. So we need to be in those spots where it's very hopeless.”

Not only within their conference room, but within the universal Church, new changes are affecting them. The pope's new law in his recent motu proprio, “You are the Light of the World,” requires all congregations to adhere to new reporting and investing laws for the universal church. 

The Union of Superiors General attended the Summit on Sexual Abuse in February and Sr. Sally also contributed, amongst others, to new policies. 

SR. SALLY HODGDON
Superior General, Sisters St. Joseph of Chambery
“So we asked that there be strong guidelines, strong policies. And so the fact that he has already released them in the short time that really shows that he is saying to the world, we will not tolerate this we will not tolerate abuse of any kind. And here is a law that we are putting into effect.”

With so many women in one place, naturally women's role in the Catholic Church was brought up. Even more so after Pope Francis commented on the flight back from North Macedonia on the commission he established to study women deacons. 

POPE FRANCIS
“There were female deacons at the beginning, but was it sacramental ordination or not? That point is being debated and is unclear."

SR. SALLY HODGDON
Superior General, Sisters St. Joseph of Chambery
“We understand there's a difference of opinion about whether it's a sacrament or not, whether it's a blessing, whether it's actually ordination. The important thing is some women do feel called to be deacons. Okay, so for them, it's important that this conversation continue, and hopefully someday we will have women deacons. But in the meantime, the important thing is you don't need to have a title to be at the table to make decisions within the Church.”

This Plenary Assembly with all the Superiors General takes place every three years. They have covered how to care for the planet, deepen faith and spirituality, help migrants and trafficked persons.