Category Archives: Updates

BACAR Forum Facilitators Report April & May

BACAR Pandemic Forum #2 May 6, 2020 Developed by: Kathy Noether, Judy Borlad, Carmela Huser, Marilee Hearn, Dolores Nice.

To Access reports from the conversation of May 6, 2020 Click here.

Zoom Participants at May Forum


Facilitators for April Forum: Mary Becker, SNJM, Stephanie Friedrich, Constance Dubick Judy Borland, Kathy Noether

Questions Posed to the Groups in Breakout Rooms

1. Do you have particular concerns about the time we are facing? What are concerns you have faced over the past few weeks and looking forward?

2a. What is Eucharist/Communion/Spiritual Nourishment for you now?

2b. What touched you in the ‘Letter to God’ from Ilia Delio?


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

Fund Raiser for Father Joe’s Village

Associates of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur traveled to San Diego for an immersion experience with those who are Homeless at Father Joe’s Villages. This complex is named after Father Joe Carroll who initiated this organization.

-Submitted by Sabrina Harper, Associate of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur  On February 19, our small group of volunteers returned from serving those in need at Father Joe’s Villages in San Diego.  Two Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Associates were inspired to respond after an associate Day of Prayer on November 2nd.  Realizing a few of us had free time, but not enough to go to either Arizona or Texas to help at the borders, we decided to serve closer to home.  So, we two associates invited a few friends to join us. Who are we?  We are teachers, a retired librarian, a Pastoral Associate, and a nurse.  

Our group, composed of Laura Leon (associate-SNDdeN), Nancy Galli, Rosalie Doyle, Maureen Bellew, Sister Celeste Pagliarulo  (Sister of Notre Dame de Namur) and me, Sabrina Harper (associate of SNDdeN), arose early on Saturday morning of February 15 to drive to Fr. Joe’s Villages which encompasses several city blocks off I-5 and Imperial Avenue.  We saw many individuals experiencing homelessness lining the sidewalks, some in sleeping bags, some up and about waiting for the sun to rise and hope to appear.  The proximity of the Villages to downtown provides a level of security and convenience for the population of unhoused individuals, as they are provided with daily free noon meals and perhaps even a chance at transitional housing in one of the shelters or affordable housing opportunities provided by Fr. Joe’s Villages.

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Associate and Religious Celebrations

Sister Pat Bombard, BVM gave a presentation in Nairobi, Kenya to Sisters who feted her at the end of the Workshop. Sister Pat teaches at DePaul University, Chicago and does outreach in Kenya and China. Click on Arrows to the top left to make video full screen.

Sr. Patricia M. Bombard, BVM, D.Min. Director of Vincent on Leadership: The Hay Project at DePaul University

Patricia M. Bombard, BVM, D.Min., serves at DePaul University as director of Vincent on Leadership: The Hay Project, which conducts research, training and education furthering the leadership legacy of Saint Vincent de Paul.

In addition, the Project is the DePaul base for the Chinese Leadership Initiative (CLI), a four-week summer program of leadership development begun in 2011 for native priests and women religious who live and minister in China. As a CLI co-coordinator and program director, Dr. Bombard guides program and curriculum development and assists with fundraising, evaluation and reporting.

Dr. Bombard also directs a partnership between DePaul University and Tangaza University College in Nairobi, Kenya to identify and train a team of local facilitators to develop a leadership program for women religious unique to the African context and research its impact.

Her own international teaching and travel experiences include Australia, China, Ecuador, India, Ireland, Kenya, South Africa and the Philippines.


Celebration of Associate Commitment

Associates and BVMs Celebrate Renewal of                   Associate  Promises and BVM Vows.

With virtual presence 11 members of the BVM family gathered in the Sunnyvale home of BVMs to pray, renew commitment, and socialize. Present virtually were BVMs from Washington, DC, Belmont, CA,  and Associates from Ashland, OR, Los Gatos and Pacifica, CA. Following the prayer Associates and BVMs continued the celebration with a hearty meal. The roses in front of the prayer table add to the remembrance of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Welcoming New Associates to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, CA

The Sisters and Associates of Notre Dame de Namur welcomed six women at the Celebration of Commitment ceremony held at the Belmont, CA, Province Center on March 11, 2018. Cari Alexander, Mary Chan, Laura Leon, Karen Rende, LaVerne Vitale, and Partner in Mission – Patti Andrews each were graciously introduced by their Companion On their Journey, and then each gave a few words defining their reasons for choosing to be an integral part of Notre Dame. These women of courage spoke so generously from their hearts that it gave us all pause to remember the joy of being on this spiritual journey together with the Sisters of Notre Dame.

We weredeeply grateful to Associates Shyrl McCormick and Joanne Rossi for leading our new Associates towards their initial commitment. It was a growing experience for new and old, sisters and Associates, who participated in the Saturday sessions planned for the women seeking to become part of the Notre Dame Family. The leaders provided sessions that would be unique and enriching for the candidates andfor Sisters and Associates who joined them to share in praying together, relationship building, and getting to know the community of SND’s and Associates.  This bonding effort helped to create the experience of community through prayer, sharing, and support.

Monthly an invitation was sent to Sisters and Associates saying, “We are hoping you will be able to participate in some of the Saturday gatherings while the candidates will be discerning and preparing for their commitment. Even if you don’t have a formal role, you will be acquainting our candidates with the community to which they belong. Come be with us and enhance our experience of prayer, story-telling, learning, support and inspiration.”  Throughout the sessions it was apparent that a truly significant contribution to the process came from Sisters who joined in the sessions and shared their stories, remembrances and reflections.  All these things came up spontaneously out of the conversations while inspiring knowledge and understanding.

Shyrl and Joanne invited Sisters and Associates to plan monthly Saturday sessions with themes including: Sisters of Notre Dame – Founded on Friendship; Spirituality and Prayer; Sisters and Associates Partnering in Mission; Discerning Association as a Way of Life;Peace and Justice; and finally, the Commitment Retreat. The Candidates were welcomed to all events the sisters and Associates have had throughout the year. One of our sisters, Sr. Kay McMullen, prepared and led the prayer experiences for all of the sessions before she became seriously ill. These rich and spiritually alive presentations concluded with the Associate Commitment Ceremony and Celebration in March.

Together all Sisters and Associates present this March day recommitted themselves to the mission and charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur established by Saint Julie Billiart and her dear friend, Francoise Blin, in 1804. The Call of Notre Dame Associates draws ‘women and men, living their baptismal call in the spirit of St. Julie Billiart. They have experienced a strong attraction to Saint Julie, who proclaimed God’s goodness throughout her entire life. Based on their desire to grow in Notre Dame spirituality and mission, these women and men have a special relationship to the SNDs,” stated on the SNDdeN website – These women have personified the gift of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur that the “Good God is so very good” (Saint Julie Billiart)!

Kathy Noether, Associate SNDdeN, BACAR Co-Director





Holy Family Associate Newsletter

The Peace and Justice Committee of the Sisters of the Holy Family have published an enewsletter detailing actions that Associates and Religious can take.

Read the full issue by clicking on the link below.

“We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and one social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Laudato Si’ (139)”

HF-Social Justice-Newsletter  2016.1 &2 I&A