The largest Catholic nuns' organization in the United States is at odds with the Vatican over social issues like gay marriage and abortion. Both sides are holding talks to see if they can come to an agreement.
Last April, the Vatican issued a report saying the Leadership Conference of Women Religious isn't showing enough support for some of the Church's more traditional views.
The Vatican suggested that strains of feminism were undermining the Church's teachings on marriage and abortion.
Now, the nuns are speaking out about their future role in the church.
"We believe very strongly that the church is the Body of Christ and that all parts of that body need to find a way to be at home in it, to be able to talk with one another, to be able to be stretched by one another," Sister Mary Hughes, former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said.
Hughes made it clear the group has no intention of engaging in "blind obedience" to the Vatican.
"Real dialogue does not involve winners and losers; it's about a way in which we both get stretched," she said. "It's not defiance; it's wanting the Church to be all that it can be. That prophetic voice will continue."
Still, she said the Leadership Conference does not want to break away from the Church.
"It is the deep desire of the membership to stay within the Church and not move away from it," Hughes said. "We derive our strength from the sacramental life of the Church."
It's too early to determine what will happen if their talks with the Vatican fail.