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The African Women Religious Conference (AWRC) played a significant role in addressing the issues related to the welcome and integration of African women religious into the life of the Catholic Church in the United States. Here’s a brief overview of the key points you mentioned:

Foundation and Leadership: In 1997, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People (PCMR), led by Father Aniedi Okure, initiated the organization of the first National Conference of African sisters living in the United States, known as the African Women Religious Conference (AWRC). Sister Marie Prefontaine, SND, assisted Father Aniedi Okure in this effort.

Conference Purpose: The primary purpose of AWRC was to address and highlight the challenges and issues faced by African women religious who had come to the United States to serve in various capacities within the Catholic Church. These issues mainly revolved around their welcome and integration into the Church’s life and ministries.

Location: The inaugural AWRC took place in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, as a gathering point for African women religious to discuss and collaborate on these important matters.

Follow-Up Initiatives: After the first conference, Father Aniedi Okure continued to work on improving the welcome and integration of African women religious in the United States. One of the initiatives he pursued was organizing gatherings of Regional Superiors from different African Women Religious Congregations in the United States. These Regional Superiors served as valuable resources for the PCMR and played a role in advancing the process of integration.

Data Collection: The Regional Superiors collected and provided important information that contributed to the creation of a database of African Women Religious who were actively ministering in the United States. This database likely served as a valuable resource for understanding and addressing the needs and challenges faced by these women.

Overall, AWRC and the subsequent initiatives led by Father Aniedi Okure and Sister Marie Prefontaine played a crucial role in fostering a sense of welcome and integration for African women religious in the United States and ensuring that their contributions to the Church were recognized and supported.

This information is compiled by Sister Henrietta Okoro, HHCJ, who serves as the publicity secretary for AWRC.

The source of this information includes:

Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (PCMR): The PCMR, under the leadership of Sr. Joanna Okereke, HHCJ, who serves as the Assistant Director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is likely involved in supporting the AWRC and providing information related to their activities and contributions.

Sister Henrietta Okoro, HHCJ

AWRC – Publicity Secretary