The largest group for American nuns will meet next week in St. Louis to decide whether they should resist or accept a Vatican-ordered overhaul.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is set to hold its first national assembly since the Vatican orthodoxy watchdog accused the group of straying far from Roman Catholic doctrine.
The organization represents 80 percent of the 57,000 U.S. nuns. The head of the conference, Sister Pat Farrell, said Thursday that questioning church teaching should not be seen as defiance. Several past presidents of the nuns' group will attend next week's assembly to offer their guidance.
The Vatican critique inspired an outpouring of support for the nuns nationwide. Vigils are planned for several cities in support of the Leadership Conference during its meeting.