By: Sr. Patty Johnson

The Leadership CouncilThe Leadership Council convened in St. Augustine, Florida for a full two days of meetings at the end of March. We enjoyed the hospitality of the St. Augustine sisters as well as some warmer weather.

For the second time in our transition to a new Leadership Council, the sisters appointed three new members who will begin their three-year terms in November 2019. As three elected congregational leaders leave the council, they will be replaced by three members of Federation Groups. Looking at the current composition of the Leadership Council and the needed skills, the Leadership Council selected three members from among the ten nominees. Two were chosen for their grant-writing and fund development expertise and one for her expertise in Justice and Peace. Congratulations to Sr. Kari Pohl (Baden), Mrs. Barbara Rogers (Carondelet — St Louis), and Sr. Mary McFadden (Philadelphia).

Sisters Charlene Diorka (Philadelphia) and Mary Elizabeth Nelsen (Orange) spending some free time at the beach in St. Augustine.A videoconference with the staff of Spirits on Fire provided the Leadership Council with a deeper appreciation of the impact their program is having on lay partners in mission.  They have been invited to develop a written proposal for how they envision their relationship with the Federation into the future.

Two new members of the Life Long Formation Committee were appointed. They are Kate Theriot, the associates program director for the Congregation of St. Joseph, and Sr. Melinda Pellerin of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield.

As the U.S. Federation continues to develop processes to define the new roles and responsibilities of different groups in our new structure, the Leadership Council heard the first feedback from the leaders of the Atlantic Region on the role and structure of the Leadership Assembly, especially as they determine how they will exercise their role related to their reserved powers. The Atlantic Region input was very helpful to the Leadership Council in further refining the consultation process. The three other regions will have their meetings this spring.  All the input will be compiled and prepared in a fashion that can be addressed at the November Leadership Assembly.

After reviewing the recommendation of the Dues Committee and the Finance Committee the Leadership Council established the annual cost for dues for the expanded membership of the U.S. Federation.

The Leadership Council in St. Augustine, Florida during their March 2019 meeting.

Congregations will continue to pay the dues for sisters and their staff. Dues for agrégées, associates, and the St. Joseph Worker Community will be $50/year. A family rate of $75 will also be available. A dues rate for partners in mission has been set up on a scale that allows them to choose the level that will be commensurate with the services they would receive. This information will be available on our website shortly.

In 2017, when the Leadership Assembly approved the move to expand membership, it was to include all agrégées, associates, the St. Joseph Worker community, partners in mission, and others who share the charism as defined by their congregation. The Orange Congregation has submitted the first request to consider a group that shares the charism for Federation membership. The Orange Family of Joseph is a movement of lay people who share the charism. The request was approved by the Leadership Council and they are now eligible for membership. 

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