Beautiful Hampton Bays provided us with a lovely setting for our meetingAfter 18 months of intense discussion, data gathering, and refinement, the Leadership Council of the US Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph gathered for its fall meeting to prepare for the Leadership Assembly which will draw this exhaustive study to a close.  Significant time was spent in reflection on and discussion of the reports prepared specifically for the Organizational Audit: Synthesis, Structure, Vitality, and Reid Report, draft Financial Projection Study along with the Annual Report.  They used an abbreviated process similar to the one planned for the Leadership Assembly.  There was contemplative silence, followed by contemplative dialogue responding to the questions what am I learning, what am I questioning, what excites me and what is emerging for me. 

The Leadership Council greatly appreciates the countless hours of volunteer work that went into each of these reports.  They noted that the Synthesis Report contains challenges that are 10 times bolder, full of hope and energy.  The report succinctly focuses the tensions with which the Federation has been struggling.  It was noted that the report finally asks the right questions and deals with the reality.  It deals with a new narrative that is relational.  It’s a question of identity and membership.  It emphasizes the need to do something now, the demographics require it.

The Structure Report suggests additional purposes for the US Federation.  The Leadership Council thought the Structures Report clarifies the role of the Federation as more of a forum organization for the charism rather than a membership organization for religious communities.  It sees the Federation as a convener for a movement greater than the vowed sisters. Essentially as numbers decrease the Federation becomes more of a collaborative and a cooperative.  This interpretation will make for interesting discussion at the Leadership Assembly.

From left to right Sr. Miriam Ukeritis Peggy Sullivan and Eileen McCannThe Financial Projection Study provides important information.  The Leadership Council noted that a budget is a moral statement that says what our values are.  The Leadership Council hopes that at the Leadership Assembly with the information available we will figure out what the US Federation priorities are and then figure out how we will fund them.

The Annual Report contained valuable insights from the Interest Groups and some discussion of the other groups including Tending the Flames, Spirits on Fire, Hub hop and their hoped for relationship with the Federation. 

An animated discussion with the Reid Group reviewed their recommendations and preparation for their presentation at the Leadership Assembly.

Joan Gallagher engages with Michele BeiterTwo other pieces of business included receiving the recommendation from the Finance Committee to approve the financial audit and the approval of the Corporate Voice Statement on Climate Change recommended by the Corporate Voice Committee.

The Leadership Council agreed with the process for the Leadership Assembly although they suggested a few minor changes to the schedule and process.  The Leadership Assembly, the gathering of elected leaders of congregations and province will occur in Albany, New York from November 8 to 11.