Forty people, from California to Maryland, gathered at the beautiful SienaRetreat Center, on Lake Michigan, in Racine, Wisconsin from May 21 through May 24, 2018. We came together for a NACAR Associate Leadership retreat entitled Pursuing Peace: Co-Creating the Beloved Community facilitated by Louise Lears, SC. Perfect place, perfect time, perfect people – perhaps one of the most important and effective leadership retreats of my lifetime.
We went deep from the start. Most of the time, this seemed effortless; that is not to say that it wasn’t work. The trust that was there from the beginning allowed us to explore our leadership experiences both positive and negative. We looked at what feeds us as associate leaders, how we are nourished, how we nourish others, where is our resistance, and where is God inall of it? How is association relevant in our religious communities and in our world today? How are we church? What difference do we make in a world where social justice, racial and social intolerance and violence have become the norm? How do we live and promote and breathe into our world a culture of compassion, love and welcome? Religious communities throughout history have led the way to caring, healing, teaching – the great equalizers. As associates, are we part of this way of being God’s presence and meeting the needs of people today? Are we still waiting for the vowed members of our religious communities to tell us what to do; being the change we want to see?
We, the participants and Sister Louise, agree that we have greater and lesser levels of achievement in this life long quest. We agree that the commitment and much of our collective wisdom is cause for hope and light to people today, tomorrow and into the future. We agree that this time together was healing and energizing. As a Beloved Community, weleft Racine with new wind in our sails to be gift to our communities and to our world.
I join my voice with all of the participants in thanking Sister Louise Lears, Mary Jo Mersmann and the NACAR Board for this retreat. We experienced the best of everything! Namaste!
Judy Borland, SNJM Associate
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