Discussion is always animated from left Ann Charlene Jeanne Marie and Jane

The Life Long Formation Committee is in the process of welcoming new members, providing them with orientation, and engaging them in our important work.  However, that isn’t enough to slow us down.  Our aggressive schedule includes a process for the Leadership Assembly to ratify the ongoing formation section of the Unified Vision for Life Long Formation (Click here to see the previous  article on the Unified Vision), to complete two handbooks, and prepare a virtual library of resources on the Federation website.  We are also promoting a series of workshops and materials that flow from the Unified Vision for Life Long Formation.

Ingrid Mary Louise and LindaMany thanks to the vocation/formation staffs of the various congregations who have provided us with valuable feedback regarding our second draft of the Handbook for Initial Formation for Sisters.  Each comment we received was carefully reviewed and many were incorporated into the final version of the handbook.  As was suggested, the handbook has been sent for review by an ethicist and theologian.  After their review, any additional changes will be made and the handbook will be released for use by formators and leaders in the US Federation.

Working through feedback on the Initial Formation for Sisters handbookWe also received much helpful advice on the Ongoing Formation for Agrégées, Associates and Sisters.  Those comments are also being incorporated into the handbook and we anticipate getting a second draft out for review this summer. 

Ingrid and CharleneOver the last several years the Life Long Formation Committee has struggled to gather many of the resources that congregations have on the charism, community life, and ministry for initial and ongoing formation.  Responses to requests have been slow.  We decided to take another approach.  We are building a virtual resource library which will embed resources on the website beginning July 1.  Using the mantra, “If you build it, they will come,” we are hoping that many of you will supply us with resources that can be uploaded onto this site.  They can include articles, videos and other forms of media.

The Life Long Formation Committee suggested programming consistent with the goals of the Unified Vision for Life Long Formation that can be implemented over the next 18 months.  The Leadership Council approved this plan.  It includes:

Mary Louis and Jeanne MarieCultural Diversity and Conflict Management for the novitiate class of 2017 and in the spring 2018 for potential novices for 2018-2019 along with their novice and/or candidate directors. A class will also be offered in Albany as part of ongoing formation for agrégées, associates, and sisters.

Walk with Wisdom is a six-part series that invites agrégées, associates, partners in ministry and sisters to engage in facilitated conversations and shared experiences that deepen their understanding of the CSSJ charism and discover a gospel-centered way to proceed in discussions of justice issues.  To help get this program better known, a sample session will be held online with communicators, associate directors, and justice coordinators who after attending a sample session will be better prepared to engage audiences in their congregation or region.

Back row Mary Louise Jeanne Marie and Ingrid Front Charlene Linda Jane Ann and PattyWe are highly optimistic that the first of a two volume history of the Sisters of St Joseph in the United States will be published in 2017.  It will be entitled “All of Which Women are Capable.”-To bring this book alive we will offer a program where we travel to many of the sites in the book with the author, Sr. Mary McGlone.  Sr. Mary has told me that many of the fascinating subplots of our history just won’t fit in the book so this will be a wonderful opportunity to learn even more about our history.

As we began to talk with people about the virtual library, many asked us to put copies of Sr. Barbara Baer’s workshop tapes online.  Prior to her death Sr. Barbara had stated clearly that she did not wish for them to be distributed because they were not professionally prepared tapes.   The Life Long Formation Committee asked the Congregation of St Joseph if the content of Sr. Barbara’s tapes could be redone and prepared professionally.  They have given permission for this to proceed and the US Federation Office is pursuing the possibility of working with one or several of our CSSJ Colleges and Universities to look at the materials and prepare a professional video presentation.

We are also looking for a volunteer to prepare a presentation on Laudato Si which can be offered for novices in their non-canonical year in 2018 and also as a webinar in 2018 for general audiences.

Linda and JaneLastly, an important component of the Unified Vision of Life Long Formation is evaluation.  Over the summer, the novitiate sub-committee will begin building the tools to evaluate the novitiate programming.  This will help us reach our goal of developing an overall evaluation tool for regular monitoring of the Unified Vision for Life Long Formation.

This work would not have been possible without the countless volunteer hours provided by the Life Long Formation Committee.  Over this last year, we have bid farewell to some of the members who have served us so well.  Many thanks to Srs. Karen Clock, Jane DeLisle, Jeanne Marie Gocha and Ingrid Honore-Lallande. Our ongoing thanks go to members continuing on with the committee, Srs. Charlene Diorka and Mary Louise Heffernan.  A hearty welcome to our new members, Agregee Sr. Ann Ashwood, Associate Linda Kuhn, and Srs. Rosie Hefner,  Mary Rowell and Sue Dunning.