June 13, 2015, marked the 23rd anniversary of the approval given by the Church for the formation of a new group of major superiors of women religious, officially titled the “Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious of the United States” which, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, entrusted itself to the patronage of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church. With the canonical approval of Pope John Paul II and the Church, this Council was accorded the status and privileges granted other already existing national conferences of Major Superiors of women religious.

Comprised of major superiors and their vicars (assistants to the major superiors), CMSWR serves as a channel for mutual support in sustaining among member communities the transcendent nature of religious life and the centrality of common life, common prayer, community-based apostolates, religious obedience and the witness to consecration and poverty by a garb that is both common and simple (cf. Essential Elements, May 31, 1983). 

Of importance also, is the support, collaboration and guidance of our Holy Father, the Church and the American Bishops which energize our CMSWR religious to continue working for the flowering of consecrated life, to enthusiastically live their vocation as women in the Church and to be joyful instruments of the new evangelization.

Vision Statement


The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious will be a collaborative body of life-bearing women religious committed to “the full flowering”* of religious life in the United States by placing our collective feminine genius** at the service of the Church and one another. CMSWR will be a wellspring of hope and a trusted resource for the ongoing revitalization of religious life and the new evangelization. 

* Pope John Paul II, May 9, 2001
** Pope John Paul II, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women

Our Core Values


Fidelity: Ecclesial women faithful to the Magisterium

A life-giving spirit: Nurturing with Mary the Church’s life and holiness
Commitment: ongoing revitalization of religious life
Spirituality of communion: engaging the truth of and being enriched by the beauty, unity and goodness of each charism.

Mission Statement

General Mission

  • To establish an effective collaboration among major superiors
  • To cooperate closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and with individual Bishops
  • To nurture “a renewed appreciation of the deeper theological reasons for this special form of consecration.”

Specific Mission

  • To provide a clear, stable and official channel through which major superiors, assisted by an Episcopal Liaison appointed by the Holy See, can share the vision, principles and directives of the Magisterium with regard to religious life (VC 52).
  • To provide a realistically viable and mutually helpful forum for participation, education and dialogue on the shared patrimony of the Church’s teaching on matters central to the mystery and reality of religious life as integral to the life and holiness of the Church (LG n. 44; VC 53).
  • To promote a unity among major superiors that will give testimony of hearts grateful for their vocation in the Church, their union with the Magisterium of Peter and their filial love of Christ’s Vicar on earth (VC 85).
  • To articulate the theology of religious life as a vocation nurturing the Church’s life and holiness.
  • To assist in the revitalization of institutes of religious life and their participation within each particular church.
  • To offer educational opportunities helpful to religious institutes.