News and Info

News and Information

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

Forsythia SpringSpring is the season of hope. It brings us through the last days of Lent to the glorious Alleluia of Easter. In Toronto, the crocuses whisper of its coming until one morning the burst of bright yellow on the forsythia bushes gives full voice to spring’s arrival.

But this year, not only from the burden of late winter snow but from uncertainty about our future, spring somehow feels heavy rather than hopeful. Again the forsythia has something to tell us.

Gardeners know that the forsythia bush is sometimes propagated through layering. A weight is placed over a branch to keep it on the ground. As the branch touches the earth, it sends out new roots. This portion of the branch can then be separated from the main. When re-planted it will grow and bloom.

The 2017 NACAR theme: Associate Call: Alive Today, Co-Creating God’s Dream for Tomorrow challenges us to be like the forsythia. Alive today we are rooted in Christ and watered by the vision and mission of our founders and congregations. Yet sometimes we feel weighted down by the force of our present circumstances. Encumbered like this it is difficult to see how we can ever again flourish and flower.

The forsythia reminds us that the weight which brings us low contains within it an opportunity to connect once more with the holy ground that has rooted us. It is because we bend under pressure that we will once more flourish and flower; for as we bend to touch all that has sustained us, we reconnect with the deep richness of our charisms, the long history of our companions. We will send out new roots that allow us to live and grow even if we become separated from the main branch.

This Spring we are called to become co-creators of God’s dream for tomorrow. We are called to hope, called to respond to the pressures we feel by preparing ourselves to be re-planted. So that whenever and wherever we find ourselves, we will, like the forsythia, continue to grow and bloom.

Increasing GraphHave you thought of yourself recently as God’s answer to prayer? NACAR knows you are and the 2015 – 16 CARA survey confirms it. It reports that the number of associates has doubled since the initial survey of 2000 – 2002. You are one way God is responding to our prayers for vocations. Apparently God is very serious about raising up women and men, calling them to deeper relationship with God’s self, connecting them to various religious institutes and asking them to leaven the world with the spirit, spirituality and charisms of these institutes that is alive in their hearts.

As a new Board member, I realize even more how much NACAR wants to honor the uniqueness of each group and at the same time resource, support and facilitate God’s dream and desire in calling this way of life into being at this time in our history. We have the CARA survey to serve as a compass guiding us in to an unknown future. We have the resource manual as a compilation of the best wisdom to provide a firm foundation as associates become more and more responsible for the future of associate life. We have a Board and its committees willing to facilitate the sharing of your wisdom, your questions and your challenges as we live together Associate Call: Alive Today, Co-Creating God’s Dream for Tomorrow.

Jesus walking on water and helping PeterMuch like the disciples and Jesus, your initial attraction and journey with your congregation has grown into more than you dared to dream ask or imagine. Like them, you are ordinary people filled with grace for the life of the world. NACAR wants to partner with you in this great adventure. May we respond with the faith-filled abandon of Mother Janet Stuart:

“You must let Him tempt you to walk on water and in your heart you must sing, for you belong to God.”

CARA Special Report Cover PageWow!! I never suspected the many uses of the CARA Report!! I knew it was full of useful information; I believed it was a tool for moving the Associate-Religious relationship forward but I did not know how very important it could be in developing a vision and uniting leadership in congregations within themselves; unifying Associates to Associates; Associates to Religious and congregation to congregation.

I have had the privilege of studying and presenting the CARA Report document, commissioned by NACAR to three different gatherings. Each was to a different group of membership and to a different level of leadership.

The goal of The Associate is to tell the story of NACAR and the story of our members. Therefore, we invite and encourage our members to submit articles for The Associate. We want to know about your associates, how you are interacting, how associates are partnering in mission and ministry, your events (past and upcoming), etc.

Below are our guidelines for submission:


  • Articles of 450-475 words with a few smaller photos
  • Articles of 250 words with larger photo/s
  • Layouts are adjusted based on photos and content


  • As important as your words!
  • High resolution as possible for best quality
  • Accompanied by “a release to publish” from those identified – could be a statement issued at event that photos may be taken and used for publication.
  • Photos of minors should have explicit permission of parents or guardians.
  • Best photos enhance the story, that show action, emotion or connection, i.e. rather than a group photo of a committee, show the committee working or interacting.


  • Include the name, title (associate, sister, covenant member, etc.) and congregation of the author
  • Include email and/or phone # of author (see #4)


  • NACAR reserves the right to edit all submitted content prior to publication. If editing might alter the content or meaning the author intended, we contact the author to ensure the intended meaning remains consistent.
  • Edits to grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc. will adhere to NACAR guidelines, which emulate the style of the Associated Press and the Catholic News Service Stylebook on Religion.


  • Submit this information six months to a year prior to the event.


2017 Issue Dates and Deadlines:

released week of March 27 --- submission deadline week of February 13
released week of June 26 --- submission deadline week of May 15
released week of November 6 --- submission deadline week of September 25

In addition to news articles, NACAR Communications Committee is always seeking individuals who are willing to write more reflective, thoughtful articles on topics of interest to members. If you are a writer and are interested in joining with NACAR to share your thoughts and reflections on provided topics, please contact Conni Dubick.

You may   download these guidelines here .

“And suddenly you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

Meister Eckhart

New Year FireworksEach January there is a start of something new and the magic of beginnings as the new year is ushered in with celebration and cheers. It’s a time to exuberantly make new year’s resolutions and anticipate that life will continue to unfold with new promise.

Thus it is the time for the NACAR Board first to thank you for your personal and financial support in our twenty year history. And second, to pledge that we are determined to fulfill the 2017 NACAR theme Associate Call: Alive Today, Co-Creating God’s Dream for Tomorrow. It is evident from the CARA Study that the work of the Holy Spirit is in the persistent growing presence of associates in mission with the religious congregations.

But as with all new year’s resolutions, there must be the action steps to implement the ideas. With your assistance and participation in sending us your insights, reflective thinking, scholarly research as well as analysis with photos of your local/regional activities and events, NACAR will continue to be your voice. We will be able to reflect and respond to the needs of the evolving associate movement in co-creating God’s dream for tomorrow. NACAR will be the common voice to articulate the associate-religious relationship over the time and space of this new year. Suddenly we know “it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”