As a concluding exercise for the 2017 – October BACAR Conference, participants were asked to write a letter to their Congregational Leadership regarding possible steps to take in framing the future of Association and Religious life. Here are some of the results of that exercise.
2. Our hope for the future is that we become united.
3. We all share the same charism and mission.
4. And our desire is that we bring a new way of living out this charism.
5. We suggest the means to accomplish this might be to have
- Combined Planning Meetings
- Shared prayer opportunities
- Shared gatherings, celebrations and ministry opportunities
We hope to live out this new way in a spirit of hopefulness, solidarity and tenderness.
RSCJ Associates: At the Spirituality forum last summer, we saw a vision of what the future can (and should?) be for the Sacred Heart family. There were 350 people there, fairly evenly divided among religious, Associates, RSCJ educators, and “others,” including students from Network schools. How do we strengthen and widen the sense of community that was created that weekend? How do we enable the different groups to see that they are included, and they are equal parts of the family? What are the needs of these different groups? What are the steps that we need to take to keep alive what happened in St. Louis this summer? One need is to attract younger people. How do we do so? One suggestion is that we approach parents of students, perhaps with a “Come and See” for parents. Another area to explore is whether we need to widen the doors of the Associate tent, and invite people to join us even if they can’t come to a monthly meeting. Particularly now, with the electronic technology that is available to us, we can widen our communication channels—through Zoom programs, e-mails, copies of meeting minutes, annual retreats, etc. Busy people aren’t able to come to monthly meetings, but might still want to share in living the charism of the Society as an Associate. RSCJs, as a teaching order, have a huge base of alumnae/i, and we really haven’t reached out to this group. Another group is teachers in Network schools, many of whom have joined Associate groups but then drop out because of their busy schedules, or parenthood duties. Finally, should we do more to proselytize among women who are former members of the congregation? So what do we want to say to the provincial team? Perhaps a start would be to ask them what solidarity between Associates and religious would look like to them. Perhaps we need to ask them to make more opportunities for us to get together and interact, to be listened to as well as to listen. Let’s ask them how Associates can be more involved in the life of the society. Can they help us to work on improving a sense of community between Associates and religious and to improve opportunities for interaction between Associates and religious? Our hope for the future is to build solidarity and a stronger sense of community.