Archbishop Murphy continued his commitment to create and maintain meaningful roles for lay and religious women in the church during his time in Seattle – a policy he first championed during his tenure as Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, MT.
In November of 1980, Bishop Murphy expressed the following thoughts in a homily at a Mass celebrating religious women, “Religious women have been a source of wisdom, the presence of God’s grace to us here in Eastern Montana for many years. Changes have taken place in the Church as well as their religious communities. … But what has remained has been a constant and essential witness to the value of the Gospel, a ministry of service, prayer, care and love with and for the Christian community. As we give thanks at this time of year for the rich harvest with which God has blessed our land, may we also give thanks for the harvest of blessings which religious women have shared with us in our Diocese.
“As Bishop of the Diocese, I give thanks for the presence of religious women as a source of wisdom and the presence of God’s grace among us. I thank them for their leadership among us, especially in the issues of social justice. I thank them for the many and varied ways in which they help us experience the touch of God in our lives. I pray that other young women may consider joining them in a commitment to religious life.”
Sr. Joyce Cox, who held a number of different leadership positions in the Archdiocese of Seattle stated the following after his death, “Archbishop Murphy had a sensitivity to women in society and the church. A tremendous asset of his was appointing women to key positions and making sure that areas open in the church could be filled by women.”