God calls. We invite. Who have you invited today?
By Pat Quinn, CSJ, and Anna Edge, CSJ
In mid-October, Anna Edge, CSJ, and Pat Quinn, CSJ, attended the Vocation Directors training workshop sponsored by the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) and hosted by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas. The retreat center’s beautiful location provided an opportunity to walk the grounds during breaks and take in gorgeous sunsets at night.
Our group consisted of men and women from religious congregations around the country with one thing in common – we were all fairly new to vocation ministry.
Our presenters for the workshop were Debbie Borneman, SSCM, director of member relations and services for NRVC and Sharon Dillon, SSJ-TOSF, the NRVC executive director. Together, these women shared a wealth of knowledge to enable vocation directors to engage professionally with individuals who are inquiring and discerning life as a vowed religious.
The topics presented ranged from the role of Vocation Minister to the recent NRVC and CARA studies, current demographics of new members who are entering religious life today, and an overview of the generations! Further sharing took place around an individual’s capacity for the life and the skills needed by the vocation director to help the individual discern the direction of their call. We had a number of case studies to help us focus on the many complications that are involved from policies pertaining to Canon Law, immigration, debt, social media use, and the very personal background of individuals. In addition, it was helpful to get an overview of the many resources offered on the NRVC website that could be useful to us in the future.
Debbie’s passion for this work and her wonderful stories based on her experience made the full days go by quickly. We came away from our time in Kansas reenergized yet knowing that there is much to do. We were reminded often during the workshop that the role of the community is to invite and the role of the vocation director is to help guide the interested individual. It takes all of us to promote vocations, whether to vowed life, the Associate relationship, or the Agrégée relationship. A couple of statistics to keep in mind: there has been an increase of entrants to religious life, and 37% of those entering teach in Catholic schools. God calls. We invite. Who have you invited today?
Volunteer Fair — A Collaborative Venture
by Jill Uchiyama
On October 26, 2017, The Literacy Connection collaborated with ABCD, Boston College Neighborhood Center, Gardner Pilot Academy, Charlesview Community Center, FriendshipWorks, The Women's Table, and Farmily Nurturing Center to spearhead a Volunteer Fair at the Gardner Pilot Academy. The fair was called "Make a Difference in Allston/Brighton" and was designed to raise awareness of the need for volunteers at these Allston/Brighton organizations.
Refreshments were provided by The Harvard Workforce Collaborative.
In the spirit of outstanding community service, five volunteers were publicly given awards for their volunteer work at the following organizations:
Jim Spinale, The Literacy Connection
Eduard Drizik, FriendshipWorks
Jacqui Austin, ABCD
Guerline Charles, ABCD and Family Nurturing Center
Allison Barkauskas, Gardner Pilot Academy
Representative Capuano Echoes CSJ Values at Allston/Brighton Community Meeting
When Mike Capuano, Representative of the 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts, is home from Washington, DC, he touches base with constituents and invites them to talk with him.
October 30, 2017, he held a community meeting at the Brighton Marine Health Center. As residents of the 7th Congressional District, seven sisters who live at the Motherhouse participated in this meeting. They were encouraged to hear Capuano listening to neighbors as they voiced concerns about health care, taxes, and immigration, especially pertaining to DACA and TPS.
Representative Capuano was reflective and respectful in response to the people’s concerns. He clearly works for the people on the street and cares deeply about many of the same things we speak of as Sisters of St. Joseph. During our recent Chapter weekends, we spoke of being a presence in the neighborhood. Participating in this Brighton/Allston community meeting was one opportunity to do this.