Category Archives: Updates

Simone Campbell, SSS at 2019 September BACAR Presentation

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK will be the presenter at BACAR’s 21st Gathering at Notre Dame High School, 1540 Ralston Avenue in Belmont, CA. Sister Simone will present on September 21, 2019 from 9 AM to 3 PM She will share her insights on the intersection of faith, contemplation, and doing justice.

As Sister Simone described her presentation. “Karl Rahner stated ‘in the future Christians will be contemplatives or they will not be at all.’ This conference will explore the contemplative practice and the resulting action that is required. Through examining Pope Francis’ writing we will explore the mandate for political engagement and the challenge to live 21st century holiness. Prayer is not a private practice, but rather one that impels us into action. Let us together explore the call to engage this chaotic and painful world.”

Registration Deadline September 11, 2019 Registration Fee: $60 Without Lunch $70 With Lunch $75 Registration at the door & No Lunch. Please register below for further details.

Please Click Here To Register for This Event.

Above is a video of Sister Simone on panel discussing the role of faith in one’s public discourse. Once video starts you can enlarge video.

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.

BACAR Discussion Groups Advocacy for Migrants & 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

Article by Marilyn Morgan, RSM and her trip to the border.

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.  

                She documented her trips and also told us of her trip to Honduras where many of the caravans began. We visited the Border Patrol of the Rio Grande, in San Juan, TX.  Their number one priority is terrorism, followed by drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling.   We learned about human, labor and sex trafficking.  We visited a respite center where people are staying while awaiting transport to their sponsors.  The respite center was crowded with people.  People were sleeping on mats in various rooms or trying to find clothes.  One problem with the clothes is that the donated clothing tended to be too big for most of the children.  When a mother found something that might fit, that was it.  She wouldn’t accept anything else because someone else might need it. Workers in the kitchen make chicken soup that is available all day as people are arriving at different times.  We set up tables for the children to sit at for lunch while the parents lined up outside the kitchen for their meal. The look in their eyes told of a long difficult journey, of tiredness and of the unknown

                  Throughout the week we listened to many testimonials. There were always tears as people shared their stories of leaving their country and trying to get here to start a new beginning.  Our group split into two and we visited two women in their homes. We listened as Manuela told of her journey and how her husband eventually got deported and then left her here for another woman.  She has no papers and sells things she makes in order to survive.  Her daughter will soon be old enough to get her papers and then she will be able to sponsor Manuela.

                  Across the border in Matamoros, Mexico we talked with people waiting to apply for asylum at the border.  Many have been there for a month or longer waiting. There are no bathrooms, no showers, no food, no water, except for what volunteers bring to them.  Some bring tents, or sleep with a space blanket on the concrete.  While we were there a grandmother gathered all the children and entertained them with a story.  People were waiting with hope and patience that their name would be on the list that day. 

                  I joined this Border Immersion trip for two reasons.  The first one was that I saw invitations for people to go and volunteer on the Border where help was needed.  I couldn’t fit this into my schedule at the time so when the invitation to join the Spring trip from the Justice Committee came out I thought, well, I could do that! My other reason was a far deeper one. We hear, almost on a daily basis, about the asylum seekers and their situation but they are far away and don’t really affect my daily life.  I wanted to go and see and experience for myself what is the reality of the situation and learn about the root causes for why they come.  I came home a little overwhelmed over all that we had seen and heard.  I did not come home alone.  I brought the faces of those I saw and met with me in my heart.  I brought them to the cross on Good Friday. And I bring their stories with me as I try to spread the news of what I saw and heard.  They are my brothers and sisters.  They are knocking at our door.  Will we be there to answer?


In response to the Bishop’s Retreat in Chicago. Sister Elaine Coutu, CSJ wrote the following which was published in NCR Weekend Edition.

I just read the article on the bishop’s retreat in Chicago. First of all, I want to comment on the photo. Why are the bishops wearing their official regalia? Why not a pair of dockers and a sweater? Or clothes 
suitable for Chicago weather? After all this was a retreat for bishops which means they knew who they were.

The fact that a priest from the Vatican gave the retreat doesn’t give a lot of credibility to the gathering. Were there any women, survivors, people from the LGBT population to give input to the bishops? At any time during the retreat did they sit in small groups for sharing of the heart, to talk to each other about what the laity — groups, organizations, professionals and individuals are saying, what they think needs to be done? Or, did they sit in a chapel listening to the priest talk at scheduled times?

San Jose, California


During the Last Week of January 2019 Movie Producer Stephanie Bell, and Director Misha Marcus, with the assistance of CNEHT – Catholic Network to End Human Trafficking screened the Movie I Am Still Here in two venues of Silicon Valley.


On September 8, 2018 25 Religious and Associates learned more about the crisis of those who are without a residence in the SF Bay Area. Fran Kearny, SNJM joined us by Zoom. We are grateful to Mary Becker, SNJM who helped arrange our gathering at Catholic Charities, Santee Campus.

Patrick O’Meara from Village House spoke about the 3 year projects that has assisted over 90 women.  Churches commit to one month of overnight housing, providing food, safety and community while sleeping in the church or church gathering spaces.

Screenshot 2018-09-12 16.37.41For more information go to Village House

Eugene from St. Lucy’s shared with us information about Safe Park that is hosted by St. Lucy’s parish.  It was established in 2016, their mission is to use the parking lot behind St. Lucy’s as a safe place where those who are homeless can park their cars overnight thus helping them to sleep without fear.  For more information click link above. nsider initiating a Safe Park in your parish.

Casa de Clara, the San Jose Catholic Worker, is involved in many projects to help those who are homeless. There is need for financial assistance for their Shower Program, donations of towels, underwear for women and men, soap and other toiletries.  Contact Andrew at the Catholic Worker House:Casa de Clara

Penny, Sinsinawa Dominican Associate explained how her parish has gotten involved in blessing bags. Once a month parishioners from St. Thomas of Canterbury come together and bag  items in a small zip lock bag to give to those who are homeless.  Parishioners pick them up after liturgy and hand them out to people they encounter on the street who have no permanent residence.

The meeting was a real success.  But one of the projects discussed, Hope Village is now  facing some challenges.  The Hope Village founders are trying to get permission to set up a permanent tent encampment, but cannot get a commitment from city or county officials to set that up.  Prayers and advocacy are needed for this venture. If you live in San Jose write, call, visit your council person.  If you live in the country, write, call, or visit your county supervisor.  Here is a video explaining Hope Village

Following are pictures of those attending the BACAR Discussion and Engagement Group on the issue of Homelessness.

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Many of those who attended this gathering supported Hope Village the following Wednesday as they demonstrated in support of Hope Village when they were asked to move by the California Highway Patrol.  Good news the CHP is working with officials to find a permanent residence for Hope Village.


Click Here for the calendar on this site of upcoming events.

BACAR Expands Dialogue on “Let the Call Be Heard” by Kathy Noether, Associate of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur,  Co-director of BACAR Board

In the latest issue of The Associate, Conni Dubick reminded us of Joan Chittester’s inspirational words when she spoke at the 2002 NACAR Conference. Joan continued earlier this year at the Fourth International Oblate Congress expanding the theme for all Oblates throughout the world in an almost parallel address. Inspired by the reading of these two presentations, BACARused Joan Chittester’s address for our Quarterly Discussion Group on May 19, 2018 incorporating the same title and including a link to the Joan Chittester’s address: “Let the Call Be Heard”.

In October Mary Waskowiak, RSM, spoke about “Connections: Ever Ancient / Ever New / Always Calling” at the BACAR Conference. This seemed a perfect segway for the May Discussion Group. Planning the day, a smaller team formulated a plan inviting responses to Joan’s address. We knew there was a wealth of material to cover, so outlined the four questions with team members each taking a question for reflection and discussion.

The time spent in reflection and discussion was rich and reminded of us our deep commitment to the individual charisms embedded in each of our congregations. It is also true that this affirmation inspires each of us to continue the Call with renewed energy and focus, particularly as we share compassionate goals.

Click here to read Excerpt from Joan Chittister


On Saturday, January 13, 2018 in the Adobe Wells Home Park Clubhouse in Sunnyvale, Associates and Vowed Members gathered to hear Marilyn Wilson, BVM share re reflections on  “Women In the Church: Past, Present & Future”  As an example of present day Women in the Church, Penny Donovan, Sinsinawa Associate, shared her spiritual journey and where it has led her.  

This is Part 1 of the video: Women in the Church:Past, Present & Future

Following are pictures of the event.  

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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