NACAR Board Messages

Each month, the NACAR Board President or another member of the NACAR Board of Directors sends a brief message to all members of NACAR. You may read those messages here.

Pennsylvania Winter SunsetThe sun is dawning slowly these days over the Midwest farm fields. It is its usual bright red and today is particularly striking as it contrasts with the white fields… empty now of their grains and covered with an early snowfall. Trees near the house here are heavily laden with the snow. This is much too early for such winter events. Just yesterday the harvesting was being done with great machinery and beautiful fall colors of the orange, red and yellow trees. The empty fields glowed with the golden remnants of the crops.

These quiet times, early in the day, come before the news reports open up to declare the most recent and most striking news of the day… political reports… covid updates… natural disasters and… the world news…

These days I, like so many of you, am looking at all of this from a situation of sheltering in place; social distancing and all that goes with staying healthy and keeping others safe.

The quiet beginning and time for reflection help me to face all of this with a feeling of calmness and purpose.

Staying connected to others is so important to everyone during this time. Our Franciscan congregational leaders have helped sisters and associates who are not located in or near the motherhouse to carry out bi-weekly zoom conversations. The topics of these conversations at this time are usually around racism, white supremacy, and white fragility; all part of our current congregational study.

Though these discussion topics can be heavy in nature, they are important for our time in history. We are all very aware of the recent peaceful demonstrations in so many cities during this past summer. Demonstrators have been very successful in getting the attention of the nation for the issue of racism as it exists in so much of our society, its institutions, and government.

It is indeed time that we all learn to have these discussions in a manner that helps us to look deep into ourselves in order to confront and change the deep-seated attitudes and practices of racism.

God is in these moments of our time. Let us all work with this awareness to change what needs to be changed. Peace to you all.

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Nativity Scene SilhoutteI was driving last week and my music “shuffle” produced song after song from the Christmas season. “NOT Christmas!” I said aloud, then recalled the words from a prayer to the Blessed Mother that my Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth community began praying in 1858. In part:

… Grant me the vision to see
that the Incarnation is going on in the world today.
Help me to share the Incarnation
by cooperating with Jesus and with you
to prepare the world
to be His new creation …

The Incarnation is occurring, with or without us.

We cooperate in it (and are reborn) -

If we orient ourselves in the direction of hope…
If we remember the wise elders whose stories affirm that disturbance begets new life…
If we call out to God, who never abandons us…
If we remember that we are not alone, that we have the comfort of generous, encouraging companions in this ministry of Associate leadership.

NACAR is an essential part of my confidence and effectiveness as an Associate leader, offering educational opportunities and connecting me to companions and wisdom figures who educate and encourage me. The Member Services Committee has lined up a variety of Creative Conversations and webinars topics we believe will be timely and helpful this fall and next spring. Don’t forget to contact us with your ideas!

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Quote from Philippians 4:6-7 on Sunset backgroundIn these times of great uncertainty, I am noticing myself getting tangled in thoughts of worry and anxiety. When will life be “normal” again? Will our country move past this time of division and discord? What will happen with the school year and the safety of students, teachers, and staff? How will we continue to see grandparents and family once in-person school begins?… etc.

I have been turning to Paul’s letter to the Philippians and his reflection on how to face times of uncertainty.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Paul encourages the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord no matter what difficulties they face. He advises the Philippians and us to turn to prayer, again and again, and God’s peace will fill our hearts and minds. Our first reaction during this time is to worry, however, Paul guides us to turn to prayer instead.

Paul also tells the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord no matter the obstacles they face. When thoughts of worry and anxiety swirl, I strive to focus on the many blessings in my life and say prayers of thanksgiving for them. I also turn to this quote from the book of James about when troubles come our way.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

James 1:2-4

At this time of great uncertainty, we have many opportunities for our faith to be tested and for our faith and endurance to grow. May we all use this challenging time to grow in our prayer life, faith, and gratitude.


Be sure to visit the NACAR Virtual Booth at the Virtual LCWR Assembly, August 12 - 14.

If you are not attending, please encourage your leadership members to do so.

Jeanne Connolly, S. Rita Woehlcke, and Terri Butel will be present at various times throughout.

Renewals are past due for 2020-2021.

However, the Board has extended the Grace Period during these uncertain times to August 15, 2020. If you have to postal mail your payment, please contact us for the correct address during this pandemic.

A complete schedule for Creative Conversations and webinars will be emailed to all members soon!

Background Photo by Marfil Heuze from Pexels.

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Border Fence along highway near San DiegoIn his August 12 General Audience address, Pope Francis said, “The pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable and interconnected we all are. If we do not take care of each other, starting with the least—those who are most affected, including creation—we cannot heal the world.” Everything and everyone is connected as God’s creation.

This year’s LCWR assembly focused on the topic of “God’s Infinite Vision: Our Journey to the Borders and Beyond.” The participants explored the impact of COVID-19 and new understandings of racism on the mission and lives of Catholic sisters. When I reflect on this theme, I wonder what it means for Associates, Affiliates, Companions, Co-members of religious congregations … what is God’s Infinite Vision for our way of life? Do we see borders, or do we look beyond to see how connected we are to one another?

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Adam and Eve with animals and tress in silhouetteWell, where are we? For any person on this earth, and for any person of faith, where are we?

In the struggle, stress, and strife that is this global pandemic, and for Americans with a national reckoning for systemic and personal structures of sin and oppression, where are we?

We’re not in the Acts of the Apostles, we are not yet of one accord; we have not yet risen from the death that has been wrought historically or currently. Many are putting out words of support, words of solidarity, but it takes time to see if those words will be made flesh in our actions. Perhaps we are further back at the time of the Samson, where, so enraged we wish to lash out disproportionately at the Philistines; perhaps we’re in the land of the Psalms which cry out in lamentation.

I propose we are in a time of naming. We are naming injustices and sins both systemic and individual. We are naming what atonement and equality look like. As such, if we’re looking for a Biblical guide, I think we’re at the very beginning, at the genesis of our future.

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