For they began their journey for the sake of Christ.… Therefore, we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth. 3 John 1:7-8
The focus that the Wheaton Franciscan community chose for Lent this year is Living the Way of Love. This focus came as I was reflecting on how we might engage our various “audiences” and their various needs as we journey together toward Easter. The “audiences” include our Sisters and Covenant Companions, our partners in ministry/staff, and our faithful worship community. To do that I had to look at what we held in common and not what made us different. This is not to dismiss the ways we are different because the differences bring depth and breadth to our relationships; it is simply an invitation to look at how we can be better together.
Focusing on what we hold in common opens possibilities beyond the obvious. It creates an energy between the differences so together “we may become co-workers with the truth.” As Associates and Religious, we have committed to be co-workers with the truth of gospel Love. I believe this extends beyond our individual congregational charisms and includes how we engage collaboratively with others “on the journey for the sake of Christ.”
Collaborating with others is hard! It requires time and patience and trust and humility. It may require supporting others without receiving anything tangible in return except expanding the kin-dom of God. Genuine collaboration begins with an open mind and heart that is eventually filled with possibilities and the commitment of individuals and groups working together.
NACAR remains focused as an organization that promotes and supports leadership within the associate movement. We also know that we don’t need to do this this alone and that when we work with other groups and organizations we can and will serve better.
We are grateful for the collaboration with regional groups of Associates and our budding relationships with other organizations serving religious life. We are very excited about our collaboration with Religious Formation Conference (RFC) and the inclusion of Associates and Associate sessions at the RFC Congress, October 24-27, 2019 in Louisville, KY. Registration for NACAR members will open Wednesday, April 10, 2019. This is a wonderful opportunity to gather and to experience the energy of working together for the sake of God’s kin-dom.
Thank you to Conni Dubick for her wonderful service on the NACAR Board for 8 years.
We welcome Carla Rush, Associate of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati who has become our newest Board member!
“I have decided it is better for my personal wellbeing to just not turn on the news.”
This announcement was made by my sister-in-law. She had just finished pouring coffee and was taking her seat at the kitchen table. My brother had been talking about how they had decided against a trip to England because they were worried about the anticipated chaos following “Brexit.” We agreed that it is very difficult to learn about what is going on in the world without feeling anxious. Together we shared our sense of overwhelming dismay and powerlessness.
That conversation stayed with me. The next day as I arrived at our associate meeting about social justice and care of earth, I was sure it was only going to make me feel more disheartened. Much to my surprise I left 2 hours later buoyed and reenergized.
Our guest was Monica Lambton, coordinator of the Congregation of Notre Dame’s Visitation Province, Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC). She opened with this challenge:
As followers of Christ we should become beacons of hope, and if we,
associates and vowed religious, cannot find a way to do this, who will?
Monica’s challenge to live hopefully, became a call to go beyond simple strategies; to recognize that care of our “common home” was not only about recycling, and that working for social justice was more than planning the next letter writing campaign. She reminded me that becoming a person of hope means accepting the invitation to become both an ally and a witness; to be with others as community, and in community; to bear witness to their lives and to the faith alive in me. Hope requires that I find the courage to embrace connection and inter-connection.
I didn’t have to look far to see this truth in action. The North American Conference of Associates and Religious is a community of hope exactly because it makes allies and witnesses of us all. My membership links me to a network of associates by promoting and encouraging collaboration and connection within and across the associate movement. NACAR helps to support alliances by offering learning and leadership. Together, we work to develop our capabilities and enhance our capacity. Through NACAR we are provided with new opportunities to relate and communicate; to become partners and friends.
These alliances encourage growth and allow us to become witnesses to each other’s story. NACAR publishes The Associate to give voice to that witness, exploring individual and communal experiences thereby expanding our understanding of the shared commitment we have made to associate life. Through workshops, strategic studies and creative conversations we articulate and track our shared history and through all other NACAR publications, offer best practices which help to broaden our repertoire of skills.
NACAR is an organization of hope. By working together through NACAR as allies, we help generate the energy needed for us to become beacons of light in the darkness. NACAR members bear witness to the blessing and challenge of Associate Relationship and in so doing empower one another to live in the light of Christ.
Photo: Pablo Orcaray pborcaray [CC0]
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
The country honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January by a national holiday. Then, in the month of February, we pause to recognize the other distinguished women and men throughout our history who have lived lives of courage to hasten “the daybreak of peace and brotherhood.”
As members of NACAR and associates-religious of congregations throughout the U.S. and Canada, now it is our challenge to join the ranks of those who “will have the final word.” Each of us in our own way must determine how to act on this LCWR-NACAR resolution:
“NACAR supports LCWR in their reaffirmation of the 2016 Assembly resolution to examine the root causes of injustice, particularly racism, and to work to effect systemic change. We encourage our NACAR members to work with their congregational leadership and to pledge to go deeper into the critical work of creating communion, examining the root causes of injustice and our own complicity, and purging ourselves, our communities, and our country of the sin of racism and its destructive effects.”
Welcome to our newest Community Members - Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Colorado Springs!
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance Poster from: https://www.deomi.org/human-relations/special-observances.cfm?tab=mlk
Click here to learn more about the poster.
The mail-man (or woman) made a mistake. About a week ago, I saw a large stack of “The Catholic Worker” newsletter in my mail slot. It appears that the post office didn’t separate the copies while sorting, and so all the folks who get this publication in my zip code had their most recent editions delivered to me.
Note to self: I still need to drop off the copies meant for other residents in the area. Also, point of clarification: the newspaper is not delivered to me, but to my young daughter, Rachel, whose middle name is Day, which you might surmise is taken from Dorothy Day (indeed, it is). My wife and I signed up for the newspaper when Rachel was born. Perhaps at her confirmation, moving out, or some other significant event we’ll pass the editions unto her. But I digress.
The post office’s mistake provided me with some information I probably would never have received, which is: in my zip code there are six other people who receive this penny paper. I was happily surprised that my family isn’t the only one that receives it. And I must return the copies not mean for me because the headline in this edition is, Birth Pains of a New Future, by Ruby Sales, which is about racism and white supremacy and related forms of evil and insidious hatred.
What makes this relevant for a note to NACAR members? The following lines spoke deeply to me in my role on the executive committee and I believe could speak deeply to all Associates:
“...these carriers of hope and master architects built a human counterculture of elasticity, creativity, and hopeful innocence and resilience that fed themselves and others, especially [those]… whom they saw as the reapers and harvesters of their collective work and dreams...”
I read this around the same time I had the privilege of being on a video conference call with Sister of St. Joseph Janet Mock, where members of NACAR’s Member Services Committee dialogued with her in preparation for our leadership retreat in Houston this May. Elasticity. Creativity. Resilience that feeds. These are hallmarks of birth pains of a new future. In this new year, are we, in the Associate movement not giving birth to the future of our movement?
Happy Christmastide, Happy New Year, and I hope that you continue reading below for more details on our leadership retreat facilitated by Janet Mock.
© 2019 North American Conference of Associates and Religious.