All posts by BACAR


A conference of Associates and Religious of the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey, Stockton, and Sacramento

Simone Campbell, SSS at 2019 September BACAR Presentation

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK was the presenter at BACAR’s 21st Gathering at Notre Dame High School, in Belmont, CA on September 21, 2019. Simone shared her insights on the intersection of faith, contemplation, and doing justice.

Simone reminded the assembled that Prayer is not a private practice, but rather one that impels us into action. She invited us to explore the call to engage this chaotic and painful world.”

Below are pictures from the event.

Mother Marie-Rose Durocher: Sent to Cast Servant-Leadership Fire

Mother Marie-Rose Durocher(1811-1849)was a servant-leader who demonstrated a natural desire to serve which ultimately manifested itself in her commitment to education for young women. Best known as the first Canadian foundress of a teaching order in Canada, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Mother Marie-Rose surmounted many obstacles to realize the refuge to which she was called by God.  The impetus for studying her life is rooted in my own history as a student, teacher, and administrator in schools founded and originally run by Holy Names’ sisters. My recent journey to become an Associate of the Congregation has also sparked my interest in the charism of Mother Marie-Rose. Understanding her original mission provides a strong foundation for carrying the torch of what she began over 166 years ago. Her interior moral code, willingness to both be led and to lead, and spirit under fire is a source of inspiration in understanding servant-leadership. 


The story of Mother Marie­ Rose is set in rural Quebec in the early to mid 1800s during a historically and politically contentious time. TheDurham Report recommended the assimilation of French Catholics both religiously and linguistically (Pelletir-Baillargeon, 1982), and the Charter of Education in Quebec created outrage against school taxes. French Canadian families did not want to send their children to school for fear of Anglicization, and parents reacted violently to the changes by withdrawing their children from school and going so far as to burn down numerous schools. By 1837, only three rural schools remained open in Lower Canada, a decrease of 96% over the previous seven years (Laberge, 1979); it is also estimated that 90% of the rural population in 1843 was illiterate (Pelletir-Baillargeon, 1982). This lack of education created intemperance, disorder, poverty, and low standards of morality (Duval, 1985). Only families with financial means could afford to educate their children by sending them to boarding schools in urban areas. Otherwise, education was left to the discretion of the family. 

My archival review of numerous biographical accounts, interviews, and excerpts from the letters of Mother Marie-Rose and a stay in the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Congregational House in Quebec provided opportunities to experience primary sources and historically significant locations. This created a rich research experience from which to analyze, through the servant-leadership lens, the development of a remarkable young woman into a community leader within the context of the development of Catholic education in Canada. Marie Rose edified those around her less by teaching than by the most humble services which she delighted in rendering. 

SERVANT-LEADERSHIP   The concept of servant­ leadership was created by Robert Greenleaf, an AT&T employee who began his career in management research, development, and education. He generated a second career as a leadership consultant out of his quest to find a way to affirmatively build a more caring society (Spears, 1998). That journey led him to write his first ground-breaking essay, The Servant as Leader, in which he outlined a paradigm shift from a hierarchical style of leadership to one which emphasizes relationships and community building to influence change by transforming followers into leaders. The core values of servant-leadership are rooted in an unwavering belief in people and are defined by processes and relationships. Greenleaf ( 1970) defines servant-leadership as follows:

The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions … The leader­ first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature (p. 15). 

Mother Marie-Rose’s practice was strongly aligned with the attributes of a servant-leader which are derived from Greenleafs depiction of servant­ leadership: awareness, listening, empathy, conceptualization, stewardship, persuasion, commitment to growth, community building, healing, and foresight (Spears, 1998). The study of her demeanor, life circumstances, and tenacity reveals a progression in the development of these servant­ leadership attributes which led her to envision, lead, and sustain a community of service in education. Table 1 outlines the skills, values, and purposes indicated in Mother Marie-Rose’s thirty-eight year life journey that led her to consciously and humbly serve first and, in so doing, become recognized as a leader. The proposed stages progress in an ascending order and include more complex integration of the attributes from the previous stages. This biographical review of Mother Marie-Rose’s life, as reviewed and applied to these servant-leadership attributes, provides a comprehensive case from which to examine the profile and development of a servant­ leader.

BACAR Board Members attend NACAR Retreat in Racine, WI


NACAR Retreat

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 Sister Louiseachievement 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

Click below for latest NACAR Associate



Gathering of the SNJM Associates

Pre=Associate Retreat Hosted in Campbell                                                                                at the Holy Spirit Chapel on June 3, 2018

A “Come and See” pre-Associate retreat attracted 18 people to the Holy Spirit Chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Names in Campbell, CA. The participants were from the Santee neighborhood of San Jose, CA where the Holy Names Sisters have ministered for nearly 25 years.  The retreat facilitators were Miriam Daniel Fahey, SNJM (SouthBay), Cecilia Calva, SNJM (San Francisco) Elizabeth Avalos, BVM and Mary Becker, SNJM (Saratoga), who said that the participants’ deep spirituality was truly edifying.

Screenshot 2018-06-22 11.31.13
Come and See Participants



2017 SNJM Associate Sponsored Retreat and Associate Commitment Ceremony

Villa Maria del Mar, Santa Cruz, CA November 3-5, 2017         Many celebrations took place at the Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz, California for Sisters and Associates this past weekend. The annual Associate Sponsored Retreat was held November 3rd through 5th. We had a full house. The topic was Living With Paule-Hermine, Our First Associate. Sue Woodruff, SNJM was our presenter. Sister Sue is a historian for our SNJM community. She is a brilliant presenter and we hung on her every word. On November 4th we received two new Associates, Mary Barber and Mary Jane McGranahan. Mary was presented by her companion Associate, Stephanie Friedrich. Mary Jane was presented by her companion Sister, Mimi Maloney, SNJM. Mary and Mary Jane’s families and friends joined us in celebrating our reception of these wonderful women. We are blessed and our tent is widening.

Advocacy for Migrants and Homeless

Listen to Volunteers. Find out how you can help our sisters and brothers in need. Participate in Person or View by Zoom, information below.

Sisters and Associates of the NDdeN, BVMs, Holy Names, and Holy Family Congregations gathered at the Sisters of Notre Dame Province Center in Belmont, CA on Saturday May 18, 2019. Some participated by Zoom.

The listened to a presentation by Sister Mary Becker, SNJM, and Sister Susan Olson, SNDdeN who have spent time at ‘The Wall’ with immigrants.

Donations of clothing were collected and BACAR will send it to an immigrant shelter site where Sisters, Associates, Friends and Catholic Charities are working. (Suggested donation: money, New clothing (men’s/women’s/children’s-particularly extra large sizes needed), New shoes and undergarments, stuffed animals, toys and games for kids).


For more information about how you can be involved, contact Kathy Noether. Information below

Email Kathy Noether♦ 408-267-3426 ♦ 4246 Meg Dr., San Jose, CA 95136

Very early in the morning on March 31 I left for McAllen, TX to join nine others for our Border Immersion Trip sponsored by the Mercy Justice Team.  There were three Sisters of Mercy in the group, Srs. Phong Dong from South Central, Joanne Whitaker from Mid-Atlantic and myself.  The others, mostly employees of the Sisters of Mercy from South Central who are Mercy Associates.  We were led by Maggie Conley, Justice Coordinator for the Sisters of Mercy and later joined by Jean Stokan, Coordinator of the Immigration area of the Sisters of Mercy.  We spent a week at the Border with our home base at the different sites of ARISE, which is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word. Our days were full beginning with the first evening with a talk by a Spanish journalist/photographer telling us of her experiences on two caravans.