CWR Ireland was established in 2016 and was the initiative of Patricia Lenihan, RSC, and co-founder Sr. Thomasina Finn, RSM. Sr. Thomasina, who carried out communications duties for the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), generously put the resources of her former experience at the disposal of the group.
Already a member of CWR and having attended some of its meetings in the United States, Sr. Patricia believed there was a need for the voice of women religious to be heard at home in Ireland. A frequently negative narrative has been associated with women religious in Ireland for the last two decades.
CWR Ireland aims to be a counter voice by:
• Being proactive in engaging in digital spaces promoting the good news of the gospel.
• Telling our stories, through social media channels and our websites.
• Highlighting and making explicit the charism and ethos of what we stand for.
• Utilising a new language that is relevant and understood today.
CWR Ireland’s first meeting took place in the Generalate of the Religious Sisters of Charity in January 2016 in response to invitations sent to congregational leadership teams to consider sending communications personnel. In all 14 attended the first meeting. A series of further meetings followed over a period of two years, culminating in a conference that also included a session for leadership teams. So, on the evening of the 23rd of October, 2018 at the Clayton Hotel, Ballsbridge, a group of women religious leaders of Ireland came together at the invitation of CWR. The purpose and hopes of our new group were explained during this gathering.
We were very grateful to have Nick Schafer from the CWR international office in Chicago at this meeting. Nick gave input on the ethos and mission of CWR. The story of CWR in Ireland unfolded through the voices of those who had been present from the beginning, two and a half years earlier.
The overarching account was one of collaboration, hospitality and welcome. Everyone agreed that they left group meetings feeling energized and empowered.
Towards the end of 2018, CWR Ireland was formally constituted as a region of CWR. The group is working hard to develop a strategic communications framework for religious in Ireland.