By Hannah Brockhaus
Pope Francis Monday appointed 23 new members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, among them six women religious superior generals and one head of a women’s secular institute.
The July 8 nominations, which include cardinals, bishops, and the superior generals of several male religious communities, breaks with past practice in including women.
Demonstrating Pope Francis’ increased attention to putting women in leadership within the Vatican, the appointments follow the 2014 nomination of Sr. Irma Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Comboni Missionaries, as a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Premoli’s appointment was the first time a superior general of a female institute was named a member of a congregation.
The six women superior generals are Sr. Kathleen Appler of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul; Sr. Yvonne Reungoat of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (also known as the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco); Sr. Françoise Massy of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary; Sr. Luigia Coccia of the Comboni Missionaries; Sr. Simona Brambilla of the Consolata Missionaries; and Sr. M. Rita Calvo Sanz of the Company of Mary Our Lady.
Olga Krizova, general president of the Don Bosco Secular Institute, was also nominated.
Pastor bonus, the 1988 apostolic constitution regulating the Roman Curia which will soon be replaced, says the ordinary members of a congregation are cardinals and bishops, though “according to the specific nature of certain dicasteries, clerics and other faithful can be added to the body of cardinals and bishops.”
Other new members of the Dicastery for Consecrated Life include Cardinals Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of Rome; Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life; Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid.
Five bishops and seven superior generals of male institutes were also nominated.