By: Sr. Patty Johnson

At the 2017 Leadership Assembly, membership in the U.S. Federation was opened to agrégées, associates, partners in mission, St. Joseph Worker Communities, and others who share the charism as defined by their congregation. Much progress on many fronts has been made in implementing this historic decision.

Structural governance in this evolving organization has shifted from "elected leaders" (superiors) of member congregations to a Leadership Council which will reflect the new and expanded membership. One of the pieces of preparing for this shift was to define what reserved powers or authority over the Federation that elected leaders would continue to have.

Reserved powers are defined as those actions where the Leadership Assembly would have the final vote on major decisions pertaining to the U.S. Federation. However, many decisions will continue to be made in collaboration with the Leadership Council. For example, the executive director of the U.S. Federation would be appointed by the Leadership Assembly based on the recommendation of the Leadership Council.

The Reserved Powers of the Leadership Assembly are grouped into three categories. Here is a brief summary of the most important items:

  • Mission and Identity
    • Approve any changes to the Mission, Vision, and Values
    • Approve formation programs and collaborative ministries
  • Governance
    • Define the composition of the Leadership Council
    • Appoint/remove the Executive Director in consultation with the Leadership Council
    • Amend by-laws
  • Assets
    • Approve finalized annual budget recommended by the Leadership Council
    • Approve the investment policies
    • Provide oversite of the investment funds

[Sr. Patty Johnson is executive director of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph]