May/June 2008

CHI Leaders Make Pilgrimage to Rome


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The Board of Stewardship Trustees, Members of the Civil Corporation and Catholic Health Initiatives’ leaders recently made a pilgrimage to the Vatican in Rome, Italy, to report on the state of Catholic Health Care Federation’s health ministry, Catholic Health Initiatives.

Each year, Catholic Health Initiatives’ public juridic person, Catholic Health Care Federation, provides a written report to the Church in Rome. (A public juridic person is an entity that operates within canon or church law much like a corporation operates within civil law.) The Catholic Health Care Federation reports to a dicastry, or department, of the Church called the Congregation for the Institute of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. To help maintain a strong relationship with the dicastry, representatives of the Catholic Health Care Federation and Catholic Health Initiatives travel to Rome for a face-to-face dialogue every three years.

“This was our fourth pilgrimage to Rome, and it was truly the best meeting we have ever had there,” said Peggy Martin, OP, JCL, senior vice president of sponsorship and governance for Catholic Health Initiatives. “The representatives of the dicastry were very engaged in our discussion of the health ministry in the U.S.”

Each pilgrimage also presents an opportunity to visit places that are important to the traditions of the participating congregations of Catholic Health Initiatives. During previous pilgrimages, Catholic Health Initiatives’ leaders honored the heritage of participating congregations by traveling to Assisi and Siena, Italy; Paris, France; and Dublin and Cork, Ireland. On this pilgrimage, the group visited Sant’Anselmo, a 19th-century Benedictine monastery in Rome. Sant’Anselmo is the seat of the Benedictine Confederation, the international governing body of the Order of St. Benedict.

“We also visited the town of Subiaco and the Sacro Speco, the cave where St. Benedict lived for three years,” said Sister Peggy. “It was very inspirational to be in a place where we know St. Benedict was. We went there not as tourists, but as pilgrims who were open to the spirituality of that holy ground.”

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(left) Francine Schumacher, OSB, stood beneath a sign identifying Sant’Anselmo, home of the Benedictine Confederation. The monastery at Sant’Anselmo is a 19th-century structure on Aventine Hill, one of the famed Seven Hills of Rome.

(right) Francine Schumacher, OSB, a Member of the Civil Corporation of Catholic Health Initiatives, talked with Notker Wolf, OSB, Abbott Primate of the Benedictine Confederation of Congregations. The Abbott Primate oversees the Benedictine order worldwide.