Los Angeles, CA - - The members of Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities will gather here May 13-14 to take part in the second in a series of conferences this year on the ministry of women religious.

The invitation only gathering entitled: The Leadership and Philanthropy of Women Religious: Global Partnerships for Human Progress, will discuss the international dimensions of the work of Catholic sisters today.

Sustainable agriculture, the work of sisters communities as NGO's positioned at the United Nations, and the current ministry of sisters in Haiti, will serve as the principal areas for the discussion.

The conference is co-sponsored by FADICA and the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters, a private foundation which has awarded over $75 million in grants to support the work of religious women, world wide.

Also featured at the forthcoming gathering will be a presentation by Mother M. Clare Millea, ASCJ, of the Vatican Congregation on Religious Life.

Mother Millea will explain to FADICA members the purposes and process of current Apostolic Visitation of religious communities in the United States.

Mother Millea is a Connecticut native who is superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an international religious institute that has its headquarters in Rome.

The number of Catholic sisters in the US declined from 173,865 in 1965 to 79,876 in 2000, according to Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Earlier this year Mother Millea talked about the Visitiation saying, "We hope to discover and share the vibrancy and purpose that continue to accomplish so much, [by religious communities] as well as to understand the obstacles and challenges that inhibit these individuals and institutions, thus limiting their growth and/or redirecting their resources and outreach."

Last January, the FADICA organization brought together a cross section of religious leadership to discuss the work of Catholic sisters within the United States. The meeting highlighted housing, Catholic schools and medical missions and vocations work.

This Spring's gathering will showcase the work of sisters in other countries of the world.

Other guest speakers include, Sr. Carol Zinn, SSJ of the Congregation of St. Joseph. The Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph includes over 7,000 members of twenty-three Congregations throughout the United States. Sr. Carol served as a representative at the United Nations for the Sisters of St. Joseph for eight years before joining the leadership team for her congregation.

Sustainable agriculture is a fast growing dimension of the work of sisters throughout the globe. In Africa, for example, most food is produced in small farming arrangements supervised by women. More and more sisters are teaching ecologically sound farming methods to these women in rural communities as part of the sisters' overall ministry.

Sr. Leonore Coan, SNDdeN, of the Congregation of Notre Dame de Namur, will share with the FADICA foundations the work of her community in both Latin America and Africa in teaching environmentally friendly agricultural practices.

Sr. Ellen Flynn, RSM, a missionary who served in Haiti for several years including during January's historic earthquake in that country, will share perspectives on the enormous pastoral and human needs in Haiti and the challenges of rebuilding churches, schools and health care there.

Next October, FADICA, in cooperation with the Catholic Church Extension Society, a grant making agency for the home missions, will examine the work of sisters in rural and remote area s of the United States.

FADICA is a consortium of private philanthropies sharing an interest in Catholic sponsored projects and activities. It functions as a continuing education forum for private, religious oriented philanthropy.