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Associate Relationship

Visitation Province

September was a wonderful month for many events connected to the on-going development of Associate Relationship in Visitation Province.

On September 17th, the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR) gathered at Villa Consolata, Howe Island, ON, for one of three workshops on: Celebrating Our Charisms Alive in the World. Celebrating NACAR’s 20th anniversary, it was a first Canadian conference hosted by our CND associate coordinators. Over 78 sisters and associates of 5 different communities came together and enjoyed a meaningful facilitation by Mercy associate, Kathleen Wade. Those present were led in a contemplative exploration of associate-religious relationship, especially focused on leadership for the future and how all are called to discover and share personal gifts and community charisms.

Participants heard that the associate movement is one of the “best kept secrets” in the Catholic Church; recent statistics show there are over 55,000 associates in North America. Participants were given an overview of the study and research just completed and released in a comprehensive CARA Report. NACAR states, “Our joy is possible in part because your congregation responded to our request for funding to launch this study.” These findings are important for future long-range planning for associate relationship in all communities.

During the coordinators’ meetings the following day Ann Gotfryd, Karen Volpe and Nina Glinski shared a mutual conversation and question on the experience of General Chapter. The new Orientations and the Visitation Province Associate Group Wisdom Summary (prepared for General Chapter) were foundational during a prayerful discernment time concerning future priorities. Alana Forrester, associate and spiritual director guided this discernment. Associate coordinators’ priorities for the next few years will be: sustainable leadership, mutuality and collaboration and interculturality in light of the new Orientations.

On September 20-21, associate coordinators continued meeting to discuss: Associate Intranet and Regional Newsletters, Social Justice Concerns, 35th Anniversary Pilgrimage Report, Provincial Chapter Participation, Coordinators Job Description, Leadership Team Report, Unpacking the Discernment Priorities, CARA Study, and Future Assembly for Associates. There is a desire to involve the membership in each region in a consultation about needs/possibilities for growing associate relationship. These gathering days were abundantly blessed and could not have happened without generous volunteers. Thank you to one and all. 


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