Sr. Joan Chittister gave the keynote address at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 18-21. According to the National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 8, 2006), Chittister said that nuns should not be discouraged by their falling number, which dropped from 125,000 in 1976 to 67,000 today. Actually, the decline is worse than that: Right after Vatican II in 1965 there were 179,954 nuns, and its projected that in 2020 there will be only 39,282, of whom 18,490 will be age 70 or older (according to Index of Leading Catholic Indicators by Kenneth C. Jones [Roman Catholic Books]). What a disaster Vatican II has been for, among other aspects of the Church, our nuns. According to the Reporter, Chittister also said that nuns must continue outreach and advocacy programs. Quoting Chittister, There is a temptation to equate numbers with effectiveness. But without more numbers, outreach and advocacy will diminish. Theres no way around that. Theres no way to put a happy face on that.