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The Cecilia Meighan, RSM Institute of Law and Religious Life

Virtually Together: The 27th Cecilia Meighan, RSM Institute of Law and Religious Life

Our founder and first Director (until 2008) died on September 12, 2014 after many years of service as a teacher, administrator, and lawyer as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sister of Mercy of the Americas. For the first 21 Institutes of Law and Religious Life, she served as inspiration, mentor, and friend to many faculty members and participants. We count on her continued presence, guidance, and inspiration as we continue this Institute named in her honor.

Theme of Year III (part of the three-year cycle):         
The Religious Institute: Choice to be Part of the Church’s Public Life

Interactive Virtual Sessions: August 24 - November 30, 2023
Virtual Program Schedule:
        August 24, September 7 and 21, October 5 and 19, November 2, 16 and 30
Day:            Thursdays
Time:          1:00 - 4:00 PM (Eastern Time)

The Institute offers professional development to elected and appointed leadership of Roman catholic religious congregations. The program is also invaluable to those members to whom leadership has delegated responsibilities for the life and ministry of the members. Over the course of the interactive virtual Institute, attendees can seek input from faculty and also from the experience of their peers.

This program will enable you to:
·        Gain a new perspective on the role and responsibilities of leadership
·        Interact with those who share similar responsibilities and challenges
·        Discover alternative solutions to problems
·        Create a network of peers

Meet our Faculty:

Deborah M. Cerullo SSND is an attorney and canonist whose primary focus is the legal issues of religious institutes.   She has served on the faculty of the Institute of Law and Religious Life on an ongoing basis since 2003.   She has also served on the law faculties of the University of Notre Dame and Boston College and as a legal services attorney in both secular and faith-based organizations.  Her civil law degree is from Boston University and her canon law licentiate is from St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome, Italy.  Deborah recently completed her term in elected leadership on the provincial council of the Atlantic- Midwest Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and has now returned to full time consulting work with religious institutes.

Sister Kelly Connors was born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. She made her religious profession as a Sister of the Presentation of Mary on 16 July, 1995. Since then, she has had many experiences. After completing her studies in Theology, Kelly worked giving day or weekend retreats and teaching secondary and university students. She also spent time on staff at Rivier University and at Our Lady of Hope, House of Prayer. Kelly then completed her studies in Canon Law at St. Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. With the specialization in Religious Law, Canon Law has taken her far and wide – working for dioceses, teaching at universities, giving retreats on religious life and the vows, providing workshops and conferences for religious and their collaborators, and consultations with individual religious and leadership teams. Kelly was elected to the General Administration of her Congregation in 2017. In addition to her responsibilities at her Generalate, she works two days a week at the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and collaborates with UISG whenever she can.

Registration is now closed for The Institute of Law and Religious Life


Topic Date Session Primary Faculty/Presenter

1. Introduction
2. Refresher on Key Canon and Civil Law Terms & Concepts

8/24/23 One

D. Cerullo/

K. Connors

3. Forms of Institutes of
Consecrated Life and
Associations of the Christian Faithful
8/24/23 Two D. Cerullo
4. Mission of the Institute 9/7/23 One D. Cerullo
5. Common Life of the Institute 9/7/23 Two D. Cerullo
6. Authority within the Church 9/21/23 One K. Connors
7. Abuse of Authority 9/21/23 Two K. Connors
8. Administration of the Institute's Mission 10/5/23 One D. Cerullo

9. Financial Support of the
Institutes Mission (Fundraising)

10/5/23 Two D. Cerullo
10. Interdependence between the Institute and Local Church 10/19/23 One K. Connors
11. Relationship between the Apostolic See and the Institute 10/19/23 Two K. Connors
12. Alienation/Sale or other transfer of Property 11/2/23 One D. Cerullo
13. Allegation(s) and Legal Complaint(s) against a Member 11/2/23 Two D. Cerullo
14. Associates of the Institute 11/16/23 One D. Cerullo
15. Immigration/Religious Workers 11/16/23 Two D. Cerullo/with guest Miguel Naranjo (CLINIC)
16. Moral Issues in our Times Impacting Religious Institutes 11/30/23 One D. Cerullo
K. Connors
17. Concluding Session (Open Q & A with Faculty) 11/30/23 Two  D. Cerullo
K. Connors


If you have any questions, please email or give us a call at 570-674-6161.

With much gratitude,
The Center for Adult and Continuing Education