News and Info

News and Information

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

Being the Presence of Love: The Power of Transformation LCWR 2017 Logo"Being the Presence of Love: The Power of Transformationwas the theme for the August 2017 LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) Assembly in Orlando. The participation of over 600 congregational leadership team members was a remarkable presence of ‘love with transformative thinking’ on many topics throughout the assembly.  It was a perfect opportunity for NACAR board members to interact with many leadership teams at our exhibit table and at other times of both informal and ‘deepening group’ conversations.

It was evident that many sisters knew of the 2016 CARA Report, our NACAR website, social media and print resources, and the outreach that members are doing to promote NACAR. They asked questions about our strategic goals and requested advice on issues about supporting and enhancing their associate groups. Our attendance as an exhibitor for the last three years and the active engagement of NACAR members in various ways is providing tangible recognition with the leadership teams across the country.

Thus, as the NACAR membership moves into the autumn season with regional meetings and local group prayer, service and educational activities, we should be enthusiastic as we move forward.  We understand our important role of collaboration with congregational leadership teams and dialog with other religious and lay institutes.

LCWR President Mary Pellegrino CSJ described “the emerging narrative of communion within the diversity and universality of the Church.”  She said “Consider what God and humanity are asking for today?” Let us discuss this question as we explore our leadership role and determine our future communion with God and one another.

Summer Beach with umbrella and surf board and sand castleAs the North American summer hits mid-stride, it is easy to think of the leisurely change of pace that many of us look forward to every summer. July 4th celebrations, afternoon games at the ball-park, a visit to grand-parents for the kids, and vacation from work. 

While it may be true that we in the world of Religious Life also take time over the summer for retreat and vacation, at NACAR the summer's “to do list” looks an awful lot like it does throughout the year.

First and foremost, our Member Relations office keeps the renewal information up to date, and encourages those who have not yet responded to consider how NACAR serves the Religious/Associate movement through its resources and communication network.  If you have not yet sent your dues for 2017-2018, I hope you will do so very soon.

Pentecost dove over flamesOn June 4th, we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of our church. It is not the birth of Christ, the Crucifixion, nor the Resurrection that marks the birth of the Church. Pentecost is the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire, and Peter and others began to tell the story of Jesus to all those gathered.

In much the same way, religious congregations listened to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit and began inviting women and men to share in the charisms of their communities. Associates, affiliates or companions, were invited to join this new movement with vowed members. As time went on, leadership for this group was needed so directors were named to assist the growing numbers of associates, much the same way as the early church. More than 20 years ago it was realized that the associate movement needed to have guidance and leadership. Thus, the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR) was born. It can be said that the associate movement is the best kept secret in the Catholic Church!  Let's not keep it a secret any longer.  Invite and empower women and men by sharing your story as the apostles did on Pentecost.

FireworksIn Canada and the States, we begin July celebrating our self-governance and the freedoms available to us all. We are truly blessed!

There is a lightness about Summer as we are encouraged to relax, rejuvenate, and recreate. As we step away from packed calendars of deadlines, meetings, and projects, let’s take the time to re-energize our commitment to the charism and mission that grounds us in God’s Love. Let us reflect at leisure on the joys of the associate relationship and how it shapes our perspective and actions. Let us open ourselves to the possibilities of sharing our blessings by inviting others to experience their own call.

Man with eyes closed being blessedSince April 7, I have traveled from my home in Illinois to Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, and Iowa. The travel included being with three regional groups of Associates and/or Directors of Associates ...Tri-State, Midwest Kindred Spirits, and CARMA.  Although these travels are not cross country or across continents, I can attest that with this area, the Associate call is Alive Today!

Doing something different always helps me “see with different eyes.” In my travels I noticed the degree to which spring had come and I was able to recognize God’s on-going creative work in the beauty of the budding trees and in the hearts of the people. In my native Illinois this same beauty is unfolding, but somehow it is easier to see when I am not in my familiar surroundings.

Sometimes I am surprised at how easy it is to be blind to what is “right in front of us,” from the beauty of springtime to the grace and gift of the people in our midst.  In a world filled with fear, anger, and destruction, it may be safer to stay in familiar surroundings, but is that our call?

Keith Payne wrote on June 11, 2013, in Scientific American:

We cannot get to know or learn from people if we look right through them. The modern world might magnify these effects ... because the power of the unconscious is greatest when our attention is under the heaviest demands.... It makes you wonder who you have looked at today and have not seen.

As Associates and Religious we are invited to take the time to see with new eyes what is right before us. How are we called to be co-creators of God’s dream for tomorrow? How are we called, each in our own way, to share our congregational charisms for the sake of our world? Who is right in front of us ready to be compassionate collaborators? Let’s take the time to see what it is good!