News and Info

News and Information

News and Information for members of and people interested in the North American Conference of Associates and Religious.

Chicago O'Hare International AirportLast month, after two and a half days of intense discussion and planning in Chicago, I was booked to return home from the NACAR board meeting at 1:30 PM. Since other Board members were scheduled on earlier flights, I was anticipating a fairly long wait in the terminal. I arrived at the Air Canada gate just as the 11:30 plane heading for Toronto was in the process of boarding. I was able (at no charge) to change my booking and unexpectedly I found myself heading home 2 hours early.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a bit of an anxious traveller. I like to arrive at an airport with lots of time. I come prepared. I carry a book to read, Sudoku puzzles to solve, or my laptop so that I can work. But this time I had finished my novel, had forgotten my puzzle book, and although there was much I had to do after the Board meeting, I did not have my computer with me. I was not prepared for the hours of waiting, for simply being still. Flying home early was a great relief.

As I reflect on that feeling I find myself asking an important question. What would happen if I didn’t try to fill every moment with activity; if I left some space and time to be open to something unexpected? The hours of waiting in the airport that I was so happy to avoid, might then in fact have become an opening for some quiet reflection, a chance to experience a new awareness or an opportunity to connect with a “stranger.”

Christ with crowd and hands raised to sunNovember ushers in a month of remembrance and gratitude.  As persons called to carry the spirit and mission of our various congregations, we remember on whose shoulders we stand.  Those visionary and prophetic women and men intercede for us and continue to inspire and guide us. The miseries of our day cry out to us for a response, much as they did to our founders. Persons who are poor, oppressed, marginalized and a ravaged Earth still lay claim to our love and deeds of justice.   
 
Our remembrance is not marked by feeble nostalgia, a mere return to some “good old days.”  Ours is robust Biblical remembering.  The God who did great things in the past will do newer and greater things in our day, this time through us. We are called to be people of open minds, open hearts and open wills, living the Associate Call: Alive Today, Co-Creating God’s Dream for Tomorrow.   Our gratitude rests in our call to continue seeding our world with our various charisms, relationship by relationship. We are humbly grateful for the gift of consciously being the hands, feet, face, voice, eyes, ears and heart of Christ made visible.
 
And I believe if we peek at our Founders we will see and sense their gratitude to us for saying “yes” to our call as they did to theirs.  In her song “The Circle’s Larger,” Colleen Fulmer writes,

If not us, then who?
If not here, then where?
If not now, then when?
The Circle’s larger than when it began.

Hurricane Irma view from aboveSitting in Florida having breakfast with my husband and seeing all the damage done by Hurricane Irma makes me wonder how recovery from traumatic experiences happen.

The drive back home was riddled with felled trees and mountains of debris that were left in the wake of this category 4-5 hurricane. Observing where the worst destruction happened I could see that landscaping, fences and trees that were not supported by smaller shrubs and smaller trees were the most vulnerable and were more easily destroyed.

This phenomenal event is predicted and prepared for every year but only hits occasionally. The diligence of each person to board up, to stockpile food and water, to get a generator in order is constantly broadcast on all media. Some do not prepare. Most do!

Sounds a lot like the Gospel announcements and pronouncements to prepare, be ready, you do not know the hour when the Lord is coming! Some do, some don’t!

Coping with life in season and out of season has always been a challenge. I see that being surrounded by people who support the values I value, those who are looking for ways to prepare for the already here and not yet and to sustain a level of joy throughout is a defined response to that challenge.

As a Lifetime Sinsinawa Dominican Associate I do find that support, I do find that value system, I do find that visioning and that happiness I seek.

After the storm, our associate group met, prayed, and shared the experience. We did a mindfulness exercise together and we felt relief. We are supported by each other and by the many messages our sisters and associates constantly sent to us.

As we continue to stay alert, we will also continue to be here for one other, in season and out of season.

Let us continue to pray and offer our support to all of those affected by the many recent natural disasters in our world.

Sister Grace MannionSr. Grace Mannion, RSM, passed away on Thursday, October 19, 2017. Sister Grace served on one of the first NACAR Boards. Her wake will be from 3:00 to 5:00 PM followed by her funeral at 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 26, at St. Joseph University in West Hartford, CT.

Sr. Grace directed "the Mercy initiative, inviting and involving the laity to participate through voluntary annual covenant and commitment as partner Associates, to forward the spiritual and active ministries of the Sisters of Mercy called Extended Mercy. Sister Grace was a deeply compassionate, caring director from its 1995 origins until her recent retirement at which time she volunteered continuing service. Sister was indefatigable in her dedication to Extended Mercy. She lovingly developed the highly successful Associate program. Its growth is tenfold of the original group of women and men actively engaged to serve God's people through Mercy mission and works of social concern" (Grace Mannion Obituary).

Please hold Sister Grace and her community in your prayers.

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We at NACAR ask you to pray for the victims of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma and to contiue to pray for those who may still be in the path of Irma.

We hold in our prayers the religious and associates of NACAR members the Congregation of the Divine Providence and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word in Texas and for the people with whom they work.

Let us also continue to pray that world leaders may recognize how climate change is affecting the lives of the poor and the rich alike, but that such a great burden falls on vulnerable populations. Scientists have warned of extreme weather conditions accompanying global warming. May we all heed these warning and work toward protecting our home, the earth.

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