News and Info

News and Information

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

We wish to impart with sadness that Jean Sonnenberg recently passed away.  Jean was very active in the associate movement.  She was one of the founding members of NACAR, and she served many years as the director of associates for the sisters of the Congregation of Bon Secours.  Jean is remembered as a deeply spiritual woman who inspired the associates she coordinated and the sisters with whom she teamed up in their associate leadership.  For more of a remembrance of Jean, please read more here.  She is missed....

csm logo blueOn behalf of NACAR, I warmly welcome the Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish as NACAR's newest congregational member!  The religious (aka The Marthas) and their associates minister in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Alberta.  Their mission-commitment is “... hearing, embracing and responding to the cry for Gospel hospitality.”  Currently, there are approximately 100 Martha Associates and across Canada, and they are members of the Atlantic Regional Congregations Associate Network (ARCAN).  WELCOME!

I invite you to logon to and look for the Associate Population Trends Survey Results (you must be registered and logged in to download the document).  The document thoughtfully and thoroughly exhibits the compiled results of a survey generated by the Membership Services Committee last fall.  Remarkably, 72 representatives of NACAR-member congregations participated in the survey.  The data in the report speaks for itself, and the survey's participants’ comments contribute valuable insights as well.  Understanding that others participated in compilation of data and publishing the document, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of the Membership Services Committee for bringing this project to fruition for our members’ benefit.

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We just received the following news from Amy Kulesa, Director of Associates, Sisters of Bon Secours USA:

Jean SonnenbergIt is with sadness that I write to share that former Director of Bon Secours Associates (1995 - 2006), and one of the founding members of NACAR, Jean Sonnenberg, passed away Saturday afternoon, around 3:30 p.m. She died with her daughter at her side, who was holding her hand and singing Amazing Grace. She received a visit from three Baltimore-area Bon Secours Associates earlier that day. Jean shared so much of her deep spirituality during her many years as Director and treasured the years she served the Associates and Sisters of Bon Secours. In addition, she was instrumental in the founding of NACAR and its early development as a member organization (see NACAR History).

Her daughter has communicated that a memorial service will be held in two weeks or so. As we receive those details we will be sure to pass those on to you.

Please pray for Jean, as she passes into Eternal Life, and for her daughter and extended family and those who mourn her passing from this life.

Cards could be sent to her daughter, Kaiya.

Kaiya Larson
2815 Sagewood Drive
Glenwood  MD  21738

Read Jean's Prayer for a Labyrinth Walk here.

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Sisters of St. Dominic of Tacoma 125th Anniversary Logo On behalf of my board colleagues, permit me to be among the first this day to wish you that this New Year be filled with hope, happiness, and success for your leadership.

My particular hope for all of us who are affiliated with NACAR is that during this New Year, we will come closer towards achieving our vision:

A vibrant, viable organization
that collaborates with regional partners
to promote association in all its forms.

Here are a couple of announcements for your consideration:

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Have you ever stopped in the middle of something and puzzled over what you are doing and asked why?  I can get so caught up in daily projects and a narrow mentality just robotically doing things.  I lose a sense of direction on what is becoming in the grander scheme of things—the big-picture perspectives of purposes and whys.   

Organizations, no matter what their size, customarily ponder similar questions.  You see them discussed at retreats, workshops, meetings and other occasions when people come together to take a deep breath, refocus and reenergize.  Amid these structured activities, leaders urge their groups to keep in mind the fundamentals of their organization like core values, mission and vision as easy ways of keeping centered on purposes and whys.  Take NACAR’s dedicated activities, for example:


The North American Conference of Associates and Religious is a membership organization that acts as a catalyst to serve, empower and promote the Associate-Religious relationship.


Becoming a vibrant, viable organization that collaborates with regional partners to promote association in all its forms.

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Advent WreathToday marks the beginning of Advent! It's the start of a new liturgical year and twenty-four days of preparation for the celebratory coming of Jesus—an occasion for peace and renewed hope through the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord on Christmas Day. And so we prepare ourselves for rejoicing.


The board of directors had its fall gathering last month to begin formulating a strategic plan. We agreed NACAR's Mission statement adequately describes our purpose and mission activities. Next was attention given to the question, "what does NACAR want to become as a result of its mission?" In other words, what do we want NACAR to look like at some point in the future? This is what we came up with:

A vibrant, viable organization that collaborates with regional partners to promote association in all its forms.

The statement's words/phrases such as vibrant, viable, collaborates, regional partners and promote association provide excellent substance for planning goals. For starters, we brainstormed these: resolving the need for an executive director; broadening benefits and services; outreach, development, and recruitment of members; promoting relationships among regional associate groups; expanding board and board committee memberships to include regional representation; and exploring fundraising prospects.

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NACAR Community Members Directory Map Search

To utilize the map search, you may either search a location by entering as much of the addess as you want and the distance from that address or a combination of location and any part of the name of a community in the seach box. For example, you can enter "United States" for the location, "Notre Dame" in the search box and 5000 miles for the distance and the map will show all communities with "Notre Dame" within 5000 miles of the center of the United States.