News and Info

News and Information

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

Happy August!

I find myself churning with excitement, and it isn’t because August is my birth month. I am no longer at that age where I anticipate a birthday with excitement. Instead, I am reflecting with gratitude for all that I have received. I am grateful for another year of life. I am grateful for family, friends, my Wheaton Franciscan community, and the extended NACAR community I have had the privilege to meet and work with. I am grateful to be a part of the associate movement at this point in the evolution of this committed way of life.

I am excited about the CARA report and all of the ways that it might inform the future of the associate way of life. I am looking forward to exploring opportunities for personal growth and community/congregational collaboration.

I am honored to be representing NACAR, and by extension all associates, at the LCWR Assembly in Atlanta, August 9-11 at Booth #101. I look forward to visiting with congregational leaders, listening to their stories, and sharing information about the many resources NACAR has to offer. In this political season of divisiveness and fear it is a unique opportunity to be in the presence of leaders who are committed to embracing mystery and living transformation for the sake of the world.

We are blessed with a call to live the charism of our congregations. Charisms are always given for the sake of God’s creation. Oprah Winfrey wrote, “There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born and how you become most truly alive.* As associates and vowed religious, we have each been called to live an expression of our congregational charism. In these topsy turvy, uncertain, and sometimes crazy times we live in, we have been given the greatest gift of all ... the opportunity to share God’s love through our call. I hope you will join me in celebration!

Contact: Jonathon Holland
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CARA NACAR Special ReportA new study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) for the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR) reports more than 55,000 associates in 378 religious institutes, eight in ten of them in the United State, a significant increase from the 25,500 associates reported fifteen years ago in the United States. Associates are lay people who live out a religious charism and largely connect with institutes of vowed religious in order to live out the charism together. This study builds on a previous study done in 2000 and 2002 on associates’ relationships with vowed religious and was commissioned by NACAR in recognition of its 20th anniversary.

In addition to the 378 religious institutes that responded to a survey on associate leadership, over 10,000 vowed religious and associates responded to a survey about the associate-religious relationship. Both surveys asked about current realities and future expectations.

Laundry machine and folded clotheLove, laundry and living the mission as an associate is an article written by NACAR member Ryan P. Murphy. Ryan is an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and works as Director of Service-Learning at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. Ryan is also a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Temple University where he is researching the experiences of American Women Religious in the years of renewal after Vatican II.

The article appears in Global Sisters Report. You can read the entire article here:

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Things often come full circle. I became the director of the Bon Secours Associates nearly nine years ago, and at the time knew nothing of NACAR and its work promoting the Associate-Religious relationship. My predecessor at Bon Secours, Jean Sonnenberg, was one of the foundresses of NACAR, 10 years earlier.

Now, in 2016, I find myself serving on the Board! It is an honor to do so, and to be serving with such dedicated fellow Board members, representing both Associates and religious life. As we celebrate 20 years of NACAR’s presence as a catalyst for the Associate movement in North America, I find myself reflecting on the many beautiful and committed people I have met while serving in this ministry. It is a privilege to work with the Associates and Sisters of my congregation, and to collaborate with others of many other congregations expressing diverse charisms, all of whom inspire me in both my life of faith and commitment to serving God’s people.

NativityTo NACAR members, supporters and friends,

We are grateful for your continued support this year.  We wish you peace and joy during the Christmas season and throughout 2016.

Enjoy this year of video memories from 2015 as a gift to you!

Merry Christmas!
NACAR Board of Directors and Staff

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