IHM sister attends meetings at the Vatican

Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Marie Bernadette Mertens, who was recently elected to the Executive Board of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States, attended meetings last month at the Vatican with the other officers of the council.
The executive board met Feb. 3-8 with four dicasteries to discuss the council’s activities and to learn if there were any requests for the organization
A dicastery is an official congregation of the Holy See through which the pope conducts the regular administration of the universal church.
At the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the sisters met with Archbishop José R. Carballo and Father Hank Lemoncelli about the increasing awareness of the necessity for on-going, lifelong formation for sisters, as well as the dicastery’s work in delineating the different types of consecration in the various types of consecrated life.
The sisters also visited the Vatican Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
On their free weekend, the group took a short pilgrimage, beginning with Mass at the tomb of Pope St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica. After a bus ride to Florence, the sisters visited the Convent of San Marco and viewed the frescos of Fra Angelico. They then traveled to Orvieto and Bolsena to view the Eucharistic miracle which took place in 1263.
Sunday afternoon, while in Bolsena, the sisters received a phone call informing them that they had been invited to participate in Pope Francis’ celebration of Mass on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
After the Mass, the Holy Father greeted the sisters, asked for prayers since being pope “is not easy,” and then gave them his blessing.