next"It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view… This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.”*

Many of our readers will be able to identify these words as part of a longer prayer written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw and it expresses eloquently the impetus to conduct an organizational audit of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. This year the Federation will celebrate its 50th Anniversary and Patty Johnson, CSJ stated that, “The Federation seeks to bring its tradition and vision to life in a way that will speak to the contemporary society and be a positive influence for change.” Patty further explained that the scope of the organizational audit will extend to asking:

  • How the Federation can best use its human and fiscal resources to support its mission now and into the future.
  • It asks if it is offering the programming and activities that its members want.
  • It asks what type of staffing may be needed to achieve the desired outcomes that may emerge during the audit.”

The idea to conduct an organizational audit had been surfacing over the last few years.  Last November at the Leadership Assembly, the annual meeting of Leaders of the US Federation, there was a strong momentum to move forward with an audit.  The formal decision was then made by the Leadership Council.** It was noted that there is an increased interest in expanding collaboration and cooperation among member congregations and provinces to support internal needs. Leaders also began to ask,“ What do its members and partners see as the most significant ways for the U.S. Federation to function going into the future? How can it best use its resources to meet the needs of its members and live out of its vision?”


mauren big 129x150After soliciting proposals from a variety of firms, the Leadership Council selected the Reid Group as the company they believe can best address the expectations and needs of the Federation at this time. “Their (the Reid Group) proposal and interactions with us as well as our knowledge of their work with others led us to believe that they could assist us in the kind of organizational transformation the Assembly identified.” Others pointed out that, “They understand religious life and have extensive and impressive experience with church communities. We had a sense that they would be a good fit with who we are. The Reid Group, grounded in “Prophetic Planning,” utilizes an appreciative approach. They focus on what is already life-giving in the organization and what can lead to more life in the midst of many internal and external challenges. It is our belief that they have the tools and processes to help us engage our members in determining our preferred future.” john reid big 129x150

Maureen Gallagher, partner and senior consulatant of the Reid Group said, "We are eager to be of service and excited about the possibility of bringing our experience and creativity to assist the Federation to continue to “share the charism” of the Sisters of St. Joseph with “expanded energy” and engage a “broader public." It will be a privilege to be part of this sacred journey." Both Maureen Gallagher and John Reid have co-authored the book, "The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning." To learn more about the Reid Group, check out their website at http://thereidgroup.biz/John Reid and Maureen Gallagher will attend Event 2016 and are happy to answer any questions about the audit that may surface for participants. John and Maureen will leave Sunday, July 10th after lunch. 

Sisters Ginny Maitland, Eileen McCann, Peggy Sullivan, and Patty Johnson (all members of the Leadership Council) will serve as the Steering Committee for this organizational audit. Over the next six weeks they will be meeting with the Reid Group to refine the process they have suggested. The Steering Committee will share more details of this process as they emerge.


[1]*This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled "The mystery of the Romero Prayer." The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.

**[2] The Leadership Council is the elected leadership team of the Federation. It is made up of 10 members plus the Executive Director and the Treasurer. This group meets several times a year to forward the purpose and direction of the Federation, plan the annual meeting, and carry on business. Co- chairs provide leadership and relate between meetings with the Executive Director.