Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From the Mothership

Hot off the presses -- delegation of US bishops to meet with Catholic House Dems on Iraq "in response to a June 28 request for a meeting on Iraq from Rep. Tim Ryan (D/Ohio) and 13 other House Democrats":
“Our Conference hopes to work with the Congress and the Administration to forge bipartisan policies on ways to bring about a responsible transition and an end to the war,” Bishop [Thomas] Wenski [of Orlando; USCCB foreign policy czar] said in a July 17 letter [to Ryan et al.]. He pointed to numerous church statements that the bishops have made about the Iraqi situation.

“Too many Iraqi and American lives have been lost. Too many Iraqi communities have been shattered. Too many civilians have been driven from their homes. The human and financial costs of the war are staggering. Representatives of our Conference welcome the opportunity to meet with you and other policy makers to discuss ways to pursue the goal of a ‘responsible transition’ to bring an end to the war in Iraq,” Bishop Wenski said.

“The current situation in Iraq is unacceptable and unsustainable, as is the policy and political stalemate among decision makers in Washington,” Bishop Wenski said.

“Our shared moral tradition can guide this effort and inform our dialogue with other leaders as we seek a way to bring about a morally responsible end to the war in Iraq,” he added.
...and the church in the US lost one of its exemplary builders far too soon last weekend; Most Precious Blood (of Fallon) Sr Andrée Fries died on Saturday at 65 from complications of knee surgery:
Sister Fries, a native of Quincy, Illinois, had been a member of her religious order for 48 years and headed the National Retirement Office in Washington since 2000.

Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed his sympathy to her religious community and those with whom she worked.

“Sister Andrée brought a wonderful religious vision to her work for the extraordinary men and women religious who have done so much to make the church in our country a major source of education, health care and social services,” he said. “Not only priests, brothers and sisters but also the bishops of this country owe her their gratitude for her inspirational leadership. She brought not only financial acumen but also wisdom, creativity and awareness of the Gospel to the tasks before her. I am sure she will continue to work for the church in this country from her position in heaven.”

The NRRO is headquartered at the USCCB, and sponsored by the USCCB, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). It is responsible for the annual Retirement Fund for Religious Collection, which is taken up in parishes nationwide in December.

Sister Fries had been the NRRO Project Director for Retirement Services, 1998-2000, before becoming director of the office. Previously she had worked for the NRRO as Associate Director/Director of Allocations, TriConference Retirement Project [now (NRRO)], 1987-91.

Sister Fries held a master of business administration degree from Southern Illinois University, a bachelor's degree in business from Quincy College, and had extensive related continuing education, and strong finance and management background. In 2002, Quincy University awarded her an honorary doctor of ministry degree.

She brought both financial skill and compassion to her work, which involved helping men and women religious face a daunting retirement crisis without losing sight of their mission to serve people all their lives.

For more than 35 years she brought to many of the nation’s religious orders and other non-profit groups the benefit of her in-depth financial planning, management, consulting and training experience

She worked in leadership in her own religious order, where she was superior general, for two terms, 1980-86, 1992-98; and vicar general/member of the institute’s administrative council, 1974-80. In addition she was Director of Financial Planning for the order, 1970-74.

Sister Fries served in leadership in several national and archdiocesan offices. She was past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and was a member of the Archdiocese of St. Louis Finance Council, 1995-1998, its Cemetery Board & Finance Committee and Trustees, 1993-1998, and its Strategic Pastoral Planning Committee, 1995-1998.

From 1995-1998, she was one of three elected U.S. representatives to the International Union of Superiors General, in Rome.

Sister Fries was a member of the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA), and served on its Executive Committee, 1985-88; National Board, 1985-88; Finance Committee, 1982-90.

She co-founded the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes (NATRI) and served as its Vice-President 1979-81, and a member of its national board, 1977-81.

The national Religious Retirement Collection stands as one of the most successful fund raising efforts of the Church in the United States and draws about $30 million annually to offset a religious retirement shortfall estimated to be about $9 billion. Each year the bulk of the collection proceeds goes directly to orders in need throughout the United States.
A funeral liturgy for Fries will be held tonight in Washington, followed by final services at her community's motherhouse in Missouri at week's close.