Sister Jayne Helmlinger, CSJ, general superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, was installed as president-elect of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR) on Aug. 10 in St. Louis, at the organization’s annual assembly. Elected by her peers in leadership of congregations of women religious, Sister Jayne becomes the first Sister of St. Joseph of Orange to serve in the office of the presidency for LCWR.
LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has about 1,350 members who represent approximately 80 percent of the near 50,000 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, the conference assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.
Sister Jayne has served for many years in leadership roles. She served her first term as general superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange from August 2011 – July 2016. She was re-elected to the position and is currently in her second and final term as general superior from August 2016 – July 2021. In her time as general superior, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have started new ministries while closing others, have embarked on a multi-phase property renovation to position the congregation for future service, and have celebrated the institution’s 100th Jubilee.
Prior to her current position, Sister Jayne was the executive vice president of mission integration for St. Joseph Health in Irvine. In this role she ensured that the grounding principles and theological underpinnings of Catholic health care extended to systems and processes throughout the health system, including each local ministry. She also served in leadership roles at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California (1996-2004) and St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California (1993-1996).
Sister Jayne has been a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange since 1986. She has 25 years of experience as a health care executive and has served as a Board of Trustee member at both the local and system levels within Providence St. Joseph Health. Sister Jayne has a Bachelor of Science in Business from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; a Master of Science in Administration from the University of Notre Dame; and a Master of Arts in Health Care Mission from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.
Beginning her three-year presidency, Sister Jayne will serve with past president Teresa Maya, a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word from San Antonio, Texas, and president Sharlet Wagner, a Sister of the Holy Cross from Notre Dame, Indiana. In its tripartite governance structure, the LCWR president, president-elect, and past president work in collaboration and consultation with one another and with the secretary, treasurer and executive director of the LCWR national office. As leadership transitions at each annual assembly, Sister Jayne will follow her current term as president-elect to serve as president and then past president.
When asked why she left her name in for election, Sister Jayne stated, “I have such passion for religious life and LCWR as a member organization. Contributing to the ongoing evolution of LCWR is exciting and humbling. The leadership and membership of LCWR, through listening, discernment, dialogue, and action, will continue to make a difference in our world, and we do so graciously and with abundant joy.”
Though Sister Jayne is the first Sister of St. Joseph of Orange to serve LCWR in the office of the presidency, additional Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have served as an LCWR officer. Sister Anne Hennessy, CSJ served LCWR as secretary from 2003-2004 and Sister Mary Bernadette McNulty, CSJ served LCWR as treasurer from 2000-2006.