By: Sr. Patty Johnson

Members of the International Center Board working during their April 2019 meeting.Representatives from the four international federations, and the Lyon, Annecy, and Chambéry congregations — who make up the International Center board — gathered again to conduct business. Believing that the International Center is viable until at least 2025, if not beyond, the board engaged in creative visioning for the future.

They are very excited about the progress that has been made on preparing a program for those sisters approaching perpetual vows or having made them within a year. This idea was first proposed by the U.S. Vocation/Formation Group. The 'Roots and Wings' program, which will bring together sisters from all over the world, will be offered by Srs. Judy Donovan (Winslow, Maine-Lyon) and Gloria Philip (Argentina). It will be offered twice and if successful, may become a yearly offering. 

The success of our Cultural Diversity and Conflict Management program, which trained formators and younger members in a process they could lead in their home country, has inspired the International Center Board to begin planning for the next step, programming or experiences for these two groups that will enable them to live more effectively interculturally.

The board members outside of the International Center.One of the most successful strategies to increase the participation in programming for sisters and lay people from the global south has been the awarding of scholarships. Through the generosity of the U.S. and Canadia Federations, the board awarded eight scholarships for three programs in 2020 that will bring sisters from Latin America, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and countries in Africa to the International Center.

Acknowledging the oneness of all creation, the board hopes to offer a series of programs beginning in 2020 that focus on eco-spirituality. 

Every board of a center such as this has to deal with the fiscal realities. Based on the success of our strategic planning over the last 6 years, the board is preparing a professional document that touts our successes, learnings, and engages the public in our plans for the future. This report will be used for fund-raising efforts. 2018 was another year where there was a small surplus after all the bills were paid.

Lastly, many people are aware that one of the staff members at the International Center is Congregation of St Joseph associate, Olga Bonfiglio. Olga is well into her second year. She now feels very comfortable with the routines at the International Center and her French is improving. Her co-worker, Sr. Eluiza shared that she values Olga’s presence and that she adds life to the International Center. 

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