Sometimes the lines that connect the dots in our lives seem obscure and difficult to detect; other times they shine and shout out. In their glow we see the path of life: gifted, graced, and guided by our gracious God.
Looking back on the year we completed several months ago, memories of Congress 2019 glow as embers. Little did we know that how much the gifts of courageous hope would be needed by each of us and all of us in the days that would follow. The Providence of God is certainly at work in our lives!
In this annual report we recollect the many gifts of courage and hope we have experienced throughout the year. I invite you to click on the attachment below or at left to view the inspiring work we were able to do together.
Key among them was the establishment of the Together program. Launched in the fall of 2018 as a pilot, it has matured and flourished: guided by its coordinator, Karina Conrad, CDP, advised by its Local and National Advisory Committees, nourished through its partnership with CTU, and embodied in the participants who shine with hope in the global sisterhood of religious life.
Another key focus of this past year was the establishment of Member Areas for the Conference. More than a replacement for the regional structure, they are designed to enable local groups of members to gather for input, share resources, seek support, and spark ideas with one another. It is no coincidence that their name begins with “Member”! We are most grateful to the Member Area Liaisons who have partnered to form a new body that facilitates communication among members, with the National Office, and across Member Areas.
The process of discernment for this new membership structure involved visits to the various hubs of members throughout the U.S. from late winter to early summer, 2019. This provided an unparalleled opportunity to meet and listen to members, participate in local activities, and experience firsthand the various ways in which charisms are expressed and missions are embodied in various parts of the country. We are grateful to all who hosted Ryan and me and all who participated in one of the regional meetings.
The focus of the 2019 annual appeal was technology for programming. Special thanks to all who contributed to this new fund that has already enabled us to purchase video equipment to use in our ForMission and Life Commitment programs. In the future it will support the creation of videos of various speakers as well as other resources for members.
The virtues of courage and hope have also been evident in the themes of our various programs, publications, and services as well as in the lives of those who have participated in them throughout the year that culminated in Congress 2019. None of us anticipated how they would prepare us for the challenges of 2020.
None of the initiatives, happenings, and efforts of the past year would have been possible without the quotidian commitment of the staff of the National Office, the unwavering support of the Board and its committees, the generous assistance of our volunteers, and the enthusiastic participation of our members throughout the U.S. and beyond.
May we continue to stir into flame the gifts our gracious God has given us in this past year. May the energy of the fire of God’s love light our path, strengthen our steps, and embolden our actions in the days ahead as we live into new realities as women and men religious and as global citizens.
Ellen Dauwer, SC