Webinars are open to all those who wish to attend. One does not need to be a member of the RFC to participate. RFC members enjoy the added benefit of having access to an archive of recorded webinar sessions and other resources (see below).

Thin Places/Thin Times: Religious Life as Lived Through the Curtain of Past and What is Yet to Be

Webinar: Thursday, January 12th, 2023 | 1:00 – 2:30 pm CST (extended webinar)
A collaboration with SOAR! Support Our Aging Religious

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Thin places in Irish lore are “portals” that open the past in a deeper way.  Thin times are special times where we are open for the first time, or once again, to an experience of wonder.  We often experience “betwixt and between” times where there are crossroads, past and present, light and dark. As religious we are in times of “ambiguity, paradox, and fluidity”.  Religious who are retiring from full engagement in active ministry today have lived some time in the culture of the past but have stepped into a new way of living what once was. This webinar will invite us to consider allowing the curtain to open between the past and present.  We will discuss the importance of entering the thin places and times and allowing them to “tumble into one another”.  

Outcomes 

  • To explore culture, values, experience so as to have a space where the past meets the present allowing for the future to unfold.   
  • Enter a space where we can be enriched by the past without the need to grasp it tightly or disavow it. 

Questions to Consider 

1. As you consider the roots of your religious community and religious life in general, what do you experience as ‘cultural models’ that assist you today and you hope to draw upon in the future? 

2. As people of faith, we are asked to pay attention to the ‘signs of the times’ and be a positive presence where we can.  How do I see myself moving to a stance of radical attention that leads to countercultural intention?  What will this mean for thriving in religious life now and in the future?  How do I create space for the ‘light to come in”?
 

Sr. Marie McKenna, SLW, PhD., LCSW, MPS Sr. Marie McKenna, PhD., LCSW, MPS is a Sister of the Living Word (SLW) and a licensed clinical social worker with a doctorate in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Sr. Marie served on the SLW Leadership Team for five years and at Catholic Charities, Chicago for almost 30 years in a variety of roles, mainly as a therapist and Department Director. Marie also had a Private Practice for over 10 years. 

Marie has over 25 years of experience as a clinical therapist serving individuals, families, couples, and organizations with areas of specialization that include trauma, life stages, communication, dispute resolution, and systems theory. She currently is a contract therapist at Cathedral Counseling Center in Chicago and volunteers at Marjorie Kovler Center providing counseling services to survivors of torture.  She is a member of the National Association Social Workers (NASW) and International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP). 

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Wellness visit
12/06/2022 (all day)

This session builds on Sr. Chris’s dissertation research entitled Staying Connected and Letting Go: Quality of Life for Elderly Nuns in Convent Care Centers and focuses on the unique challenges aging religious face as they approach moving from full-time or part-time ministry because of aging or health issues. Sr. Chris's premise is that while religious may retire from full-time or part-time ministry, they do not retire from living out the charism of their institutes and participating in its mission. 

Reflection Questions 

Resilience
09/15/2022 (all day)

One of the greatest gifts leaders of women religious can share with their fellow religious sisters is a sense of their own resilience …but they can’t share what they don’t have. By discussing psychological and classical spiritual approaches to maintaining a healthy perspective in challenging times, Dr. Wicks, an expert on the prevention of secondary stress (the pressures experienced in reaching out to others) offers insights into how persons in leadership roles can reach out to colleagues and those they are called to guide without losing their own inner fire in the process. 

05/24/2022 (all day)

In mainstream American society, aging is presented as a “problem,” a state to be avoided as long as possible, a state that threatens one’s ability to maintain independence, autonomy, control over one’s surroundings. Aging “well” (or avoiding aging) has become a twenty-first century American preoccupation. Epidemiologists and gerontologists have dedicated considerable research to understanding why some people age “well” while others do not. Studies have demonstrated that statistically American Catholic Women Religious experience better health outcomes than their lay peers. Dr. Corwin’s research argues that what is remarkable about women religious is not only their health outcomes, but how they achieve these outcomes.

05/03/2022 (all day)

The interactive session focused on introducing “spirituality” as both Christian experience and formation. The presenter will then turn our attention to some of the more central issues to understanding U.S. Latin@ spiritualities: Jesús en la Cruz (Jesus on the Cross), María en la luz (Mary in the light), and el Cotidiano as locus theologicus (the Cotidiano as God's location)

04/07/2022 (all day)

We often long for healthy relationships in religious life. This webinar will focus on the care of the many relational dynamics experienced throughout religious life. We will highlight aspects of attachment theory that hinders and supports living healthily and authentically with one another. As formators, leaders, and ministers, there are tools and skills that give us the ability to engage in caring for ourselves and our relationships. We invite you to join us and deepen Jesus’ invitation to “love one another as I have loved you.

03/08/2022 (all day)

Cinema divina, or "sacred viewing," is a newer spiritual practice that has emerged from contemporary monasticism. Benedictine Matthias Neuman wrote in 1977 that "Beyond the written word, the giant visual image of the modern movie screen may provide the impetus for an authentic lectio.” Following the movements of lecio divina and using Leviticus 19:34 and clips from the film "The Visitor," Sr Rose will show us how Cinema Divina is to experience the ineffability of grace in the world. (Please feel free to see "The Visitor" ahead of time; available on Amazon Prime or Netflix DVD).

02/15/2022 (all day)

The title comes from the 1989 address given by Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPPA, Ph. D, at the meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Sr. Thea’s speech started with her asking the question, “What does it mean to be Black and Catholic?” and her answer was her singing, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” The rhetorical strategy that Sr. Thea employed can be useful as we consider our strategies for renewing and adapting the work of vocation recruitment within congregations, communities and orders of vowed women and men in our church today.

01/11/2022 (all day)

A collaboration of the Religious Formation Conference and the Asociación de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en América (AHLMA), this webinar with Dr. Rafael Luciani, PhD, a Venezuelan layman, took place on Tuesday, January 11th from 1:00-2:00pm central time. Pope Francis has said that "the path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium." The Pope is inviting us to discern a new ecclesial model.

12/14/2021 (all day)

Advent is a time of preparation for joy that has the possibility of changing our lives. In the midst of the current reality, COVID with its uncertainty illness, and death; Climate change with its catastrophic storms, floods, fires, and displacement; demographic and other changes in religious life, reduced energy, and questionable futures, how do we prepare for joy? Advent gives us a clue with a rising star that led the wise ones to Emmanuel, God with Us.

04/28/2021 (all day)

A significant component of our charisms as members of religious communities involves being intentional about accompanying those who have been marginalized. In order to do this well, we must consider how past, present and future actions inform the ways we approach issues of justice. Utilizing a lens of racial justice, this webinar will wrestle with the history and lessons of Jesuit slaveholding and the continued need to break down silence and complicity. The session will focus on community approaches to restoration, reconciliation, and mutual transformation.

03/03/2021 (all day)

In the middle of this winter’s darkness and social distance, in a period of Lenten renewal, we might find it hard to recognize God in our midst. Refining our skills of theological reflection is one critical way to attune our hearts to God’s presence. In 2014, Pope Francis said, “Our God is a God of surprises...” With this in mind, Christina Zaker will guide us to reflect on God’s movement in our lives. Drawing from the wisdom of the parables, she will encourage us to recognize God’s surprising nearness, explore what that nearness means and what it demands of us as Christians.

01/27/2021 (all day)

As we enter a new year, what is our present moment in terms of the issues we face within religious formation? What are our underlying assumptions about our world and our church? Where does our hope lie? In 2021 and beyond, what should be our agenda moving forward? This webinar is an an exercise in naming and explores our response as believers in Christ’s Good News. 

12/01/2020 (all day)

The goal of this webinar will be to explore what it means to facilitate the emergence of a new Religious Life.
•    Graced Crossroads: pathways to deep change and transformation
•    Learning to cooperate with grace
•    Inner work of transformation

09/23/2020 (all day)

Who of us can doubt that we are all glaringly living the paschal mystery? Though the interconnecting consequences of Climate Change, COVID, systemic racism and pervasive violence seem to thrust DYING into the forefront, our faith demands from us the understanding that BIRTH and RESURRECTION are integral elements of the cycle. This session explores how that faith flows from the greater context of the Cosmic Paschal Mystery. 

05/13/2020 (all day)

Maria Benavides, a senior at Ann Hall High School San Antonio, shares her encounter with refugees and migrant children at the bus station in downtown San Antonio, TX. As she listened to the voices and dreams of the children she discovered an inner passion for the work of social justice. Through the stories and eyes of the children, she awakened to a beauty and hope rooted in resurrection love.  

03/17/2020 (all day)

In the document Misericordia Vultus (The Face of the Mercy of God), Pope Francis calls us to pattern our lives after the image of Jesus, who is the face of divine mercy. Dianne Bergant, CSA, PhD examines some of the biblical background of Pope Francis’ thinking on our call to embody divine mercy.

Please note: this webinar does not have a visual presentation (powerpoint) or handouts as the presenter chose not to use these items. The video below includes only audio of Sister Dianne's presentation. 

12/18/2019 (all day)

In this webinar Marcelline Koch, OP explores the season of Advent through the lenses of incarnation and solidarity. 

10/15/2019 (all day)

In this webinar, Marianne shares her experience and teaching of a practice called Compassionate Listening. The practice grew out of work facilitated by Leah Green (rooted in the work of Quaker Gene Knudsen Hoffman) with reconciliation leaders on the ground in Israel – Palestine beginning in 1991. The reconciliation work in Israel-Palestine was adapted for peace-building in everyday life and the Compassionate Listening Project began in the U.S. in 1999. Marianne has presented the practice to formation personnel participating in the RFC ForMission Program.

06/26/2019 (all day)

In this webinar presentation, Father John Tourangeau engaged several topics related to clergy sexual abuse and the role and dynamics of power. He gave a brief sketch of the historical considerations and then explore the critical need for greater awareness of the dynamics of communal power through honest dialogue and ongoing education. How do we oppose the culture of power and clericalism in the formation process, for example? Fr. John will also covered how power is informed by Gospel values and Christian mission.

04/16/2019 (all day)

Fr. Dan Horan discusses his recent book on this encyclical by Pope Francis titled Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis’s Rejoice and Be Glad: A Faith Formation Guide.

03/20/2019 (all day)

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019 the RFC hosted a Lenten webinar presentation and discussion with Massimo Faggioli, PhD. He gave an overview of his current work on the Catholic Church and sex abuse.

12/05/2018 (all day)

On Wednesday, December 5, 2018 the RFC hosted an Advent webinar presentation and discussion with Sister Barbara Jean Franklin, ASC.

09/13/2018 (all day)

On Thursday, September 13 the RFC hosted a webinar discussion with the editors of and an author in the book, In Our Own Words: Religious Life in a Changing World.

06/30/2018 (all day)

Presented by Religious Formation Conference (RFC) in partnership with Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM)

Part Three: Developing and Managing Intercultural Competencies Within Formation

05/16/2018 (all day)

Presented by Religious Formation Conference (RFC) in partnership with Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM)

Part Two: Dealing with Difficult findings and Difficult Realities

05/02/2018 (all day)

Presented by Religious Formation Conference (RFC) in partnership with Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM)

Part One: The Basics

03/21/2018 (all day)

Sr. Sallie Latkovich will lead us in an exploration of “spirituality” and “holiness” in the context of the Christian Lenten journey.  She will reflect on the events of the Triduum, a three-day commemoration of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection, and how they form Catholic/Christian spirituality and act as catalysts to renew the faith community year in and year out.

12/13/2017 (all day)

As Church, we have put the “waiting” back into Advent through catechetical efforts to counteract a consumer-driven Christmas season. The amount of time that is dedicated to the joyous news of the Incarnation, however, is disproportionately small in comparison to the overwhelming gracious mystery of God-among-us. The unfolding of liturgical time after Epiphany is compacted and we return swiftly to “ordinary time.” This webinar looks to popular religious practices of the season as sources for theologizing resistant hope in troubled times.

09/25/2017 (all day)

En este tiempo complejo de creciente diversidad, nos enfrentamos continuamente con las posibilidades de encuentro o aislamiento. La tendencia natural de relacionarnos solo con la gente que comparte nuestros valores culturales y creencias religiosas refuerza inconscientemente el aislamiento etnocentrista, un cuarto lleno de espejos. El reto del Papa Francisco de encontrar al “otro” – el que ve, actúa y cree de manera diferente – nos mueve fuera de nuestra zona de confort a una mayor autoconciencia y apertura para ver el mundo desde el punto de vista del otro.

09/25/2017 (all day)

In this complex time of ever-increasing diversity, we are continually faced with the possibilities of encounter and isolation. The natural tendency to relate only with people who share our cultural values and religious beliefs unconsciously reinforces ethnocentric isolationism, a room full of mirrors. Francis’ challenge to encounter the “other” – the one who looks, acts, and believes differently – moves us beyond our comfort zone to a greater self-awareness and the openness to see the world from another’s point of view.

05/22/2017 (all day)

 In this webinar, our presenters will explore prayerful contemplation of the visual arts. 

02/17/2017 (all day)

This webinar will present the findings from a recent survey of sisters under 50 years of age who were invited to share their reflections on the transformation of religious life. The results of their reflections will be offered in this webinar in order to elucidate and amplify the voices of younger members, sharing what they see emerging on the horizon and enriching our collective understanding of the ongoing transformation of religious life.

12/12/2016 (all day)

Mindfulness been introduced and accepted into the mainstream of mental health treatment as an important tool in assisting the regulation of emotion, flexibility in responding to life situations, and the development of healthy relationships and self-concept. However, mindfulness has a deep religious context and origin as a spiritual tradition, including the Christian contemplative tradition. In this Advent webinar participants will explore mindfulness, as a Christian discipline and practice that helps us uncover the sacred in our everyday experience.

11/09/2016 (all day)

We stand at an evolutionary juncture that is fostered by a deep yearning to be co-creators of the Universe. Led by the energies of that first primordial fire of the Divine, we are in communion with the Universe, Earth, and God. We strive, as sexual beings, to evolve and engage in life, seeking deeper understanding, interconnectivity and love. In this webinar, participants will explore how these energies within ourselves and beyond have evolved from that first fire that drove evolution. We will explore what God has intended for us all along.

05/19/2016 (all day)

The impact of living in a digital world which is “always on” 24/7 is felt in all walks of life: consecrated life no less than the others!

04/22/2016 (all day)

This webinar will weave the Universe Story and the Paschal Mystery using art, poetry and theological reflection. The Great Flaring Forth of the universe is an invitation to contemplate how Divine Mystery enfolds the cosmos. On Earth Day and during the Easter Season, participants in this webinar will ponder and celebrate the mysteries of Deep Incarnation, Kenosis, Deep Resurrection and the Cosmic Story.

01/29/2016 (all day)

What do the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures tell us about the nature of a prophetic call by God and our response?  How do the narratives of the Bible challenge us in terms of both initial and ongoing formation?  This webinar will examine the call narratives of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Mary and seek to understand better how the stories of their call can deepen and enrich our own.

11/17/2015 (all day)

For members of religious communities retirement is often seen as a signal to be ‘recycled.”  How do we respond to the too frequently asked question, “What do you do?” when ‘doing’ no longer fills our days?  What is the invitation embedded in this life event we call retirement?  We will consider some of the attitudes that impact our response, the ordinary phases that are to be expected, some suggestions on how to move through them and the potential of new life that lies beyond.

09/15/2015 (all day)

We live in an increasingly wireless world connected by screens: smart phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, to name a few. There is a potential to be connected to someone at every moment of the day on almost every place on earth. This webinar will address some of the "hidden costs" of connected living, in particular: healthy companionship, creativity and contemplation. This reality, sooner or later, surfaces for us personally and in ministry, but particularly in initial and lifelong formation settings.

02/28/2014 (all day)

Most of the theological and spiritual tradition that forms us as religious is based on a classical view of a static universe. As science reveals more about the world God created, we have the opportunity to deepen our understanding of God, ourselves, and the reality around us. The focus of this webinar is cosmology and how this new knowledge and consciousness informs the vowed life, lived in communion and for mission.We will discuss insights from cosmology and its significance for Catholic faith, spirituality, and religious life.

05/30/2014 (all day)

This webinar will focus on new legal questions religious congregations encounter today. These include such delicate topics as end of life decisions and issues which newer members who have raised families and/or had long careers before entering religious life may present: concerns about property disposal, inheritance, debts, contracts, and insurance. There will be an opportunity for webinar participants to raise questions and issues of concern to them.

09/07/2013 (all day)

Religious women and men take a vow of obedience that binds them to those with whom they share life. In the contemporary experience, discernment - both individual and communal - is extremely difficult and has few, if any, parameters. The webinar will explore a model of communal discernment that is centered in communion ecclesiology and that offers religious a model for engaging in communal discernment. *Image credit: The Coming of the Holy Spirit by Soichi Watanabe. Used with permission.

04/08/2014 (all day)

Often older religious comment “No one taught me how to do this time of life.” Called in Baptism to share in the mission of Christ, the spiral of call moves through all the different phases of discipleship. This webinar is designed to offer older religious a spiritual model of aging and support them in their desire toRe-vision/ re-vitalize their call into the second half of lifeFind meaning and purpose on their journey into radical discipleshipBecome a spiritually transcendent elder

11/14/2014 (all day)

Being resilient in the face of adversity requires us to look inward rather than outward and examine our approach, our expectations, and our reactions to situations. This webinar will focus on the following topics: the definition of resilience, the factors that enhance our ability to be resilient, the distorted scripts that lead to burnout, the difference between healthy vs. unhealthy self-sacrifice, and the importance of establishing a self-care plan. 

12/04/2013 (all day)

Contemplating the gifts received when called into the vowed life will be the focus of this webinar. Our vows are a gateway into discipleship and communion. The challenge is to see the depth of meaning offered by each vow. According to Ilia Delio (2011) “heaven is not a place of disembodied spirits but an embrace of love that transforms this present earthly life with its frailties and weaknesses into the divine presence of enduring love….Heaven is not another world but this world clearly seen.” Come spend an hour clearly seeing the transformative nature of our vows. 

03/08/2014 (all day)

Based on the recently released book, Can You Let Go of a Grudge? Learn to Forgive and Get on with Your Life (Paulist Press, January 2014) Fr.

10/04/2013 (all day)

On the way to the deep and full joy that Jesus desires for us, we feel profound anxiety, deep rage, powerful shame, and intense grief in response to the ordinary experience of life that can challenge our faith, shake our hope, and limit our love. This webinar will help participants to deepen awareness of our emotional lives as invitations to transformation, growth, wisdom and peace all opening us to deeper faith and genuine hope.

12/02/2014 (all day)

La integración de la diversidad de la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos es vital para la transición al ministerio de aquellos/as que están migrando de Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Este “webinar” contrastará las características históricas y culturales que dieron forma a la Iglesia de los Estados Unidos con la Iglesia de América Latina, subrayando las contribuciones que cada tradición trae al ministerio hoy. La meta será explorar las competencias interculturales que el ministerio en los Estados Unidos requiere de todos/as. 

03/30/2015 (all day)

Every person encounters the mystery of suffering in his or her life and in the lives of loved ones. Those of us who minister in the Church come face to face with this mystery often, as we are called to be present to those who suffer in different ways. Vowed religious are affected by the reality of suffering within religious community. This webinar will address the challenges of talking about God and talking to God in times of suffering.

12/03/2014 (all day)

 This webinar will provide an overview of the immigration processes available for “religious workers.” In immigration law, the term “religious worker” encompasses men and women, both religious and lay, who serve in various capacities in religious organizations. For purposes of this webinar, we will focus our attention on members of religious institutes. We will cover immigration basics, including R-1 status, R-1 visas, and the permanent residency process.