Vatican to release report on comprehensive review of US women's religious orders

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NEW YORK — Vatican officials will soon release the long-awaited findings of their review of women's religious orders throughout the U.S., a Vatican spokesman said Wednesday.

The Rev. Thomas Rosica said a Rome news conference was planned for Dec. 16 to release a report on the comprehensive study, or Apostolic Visitation, which began in 2008 and ended about three years later.

The review was separate from the Vatican-ordered overhaul of the largest umbrella organization for U.S. nuns, called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. That investigation prompted an outpouring of support for U.S. sisters as they challenged the Vatican critique of their organization.

However, the study of the women's religious orders included many groups connected with the Leadership Conference. The Vatican had said its review of nearly 400 orders aimed to assess the quality of life for U.S. sisters, whose numbers have plummeted over the past several decades.

Rosica did not reveal any of the findings, but said in an email that the report's release will be a "hopeful and encouraging" moment for religious sisters.

The plan to release the findings was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.

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