A Word from The Associate Editors
Conni Dubick, Associate, Dominican Sisters of Peace and Elizabeth Avalos, BVM
"Read, reflect and respond" is the mantra among the NACAR Board members, describing a new request for dialogue with our members and visitors to the website. In recent issues of The Associate, including this one, we have placed thought provoking articles with an invitation to NACAR members to "read, reflect and respond" with their thoughts and experiences. This interaction will facilitate collaborative thinking and enhance the NACAR membership as a valuable resource.
Earlier visitors to the website did read and reflect on the Jane Forni, SSND article, "Call and Relationship: A Reflection on Association," and on "Charism at its Core" by Elizabeth Fitting, BVM. But the call to respond to the open forum through comments on the website or submission of reflections for publication did not happen. This issue features the well-researched and insightful "Personal Reflection on Lay Association" by Jeanne M. Connolly, Ed.D., Wheaten Franciscan Covenant Member/Associate. Jeanne's reflection concludes by "encouraging us to share our thoughts with others, so together we build a future that contributes to the good of the whole, as well as to the kin-dom of God."
There is other essential content in this Fall issue of The Associate, including the NACAR Survey 2013 on Associate Leadership, offering data on roles and compensation for the ministry of associate leadership in religious congregations. There are also regional reports of Associate/Religious events.
So, Readers, get ready to do the three Rs with this Fall issue of The Associate, designed to engage you in mind and spirit.
A Personal Reflection on Lay Association
By Jeanne M. Connolly, Ed.D., Wheaton Franciscan Covenant Member/Associate
|Jeanne Connolly, Ed.D., serves as the Director Covenant (Associate) Relationship with the Wheaton Franciscans. She has more than 30 years of leadership, management, training, and consult- ing experience. She earned a doctorate in adult education from Northern llinois University with emphasis on human resource and organizational development. She has been a Covenant Member (Associate) with the Wheaton Franciscans for more than 17 years. She has served as the director since 2007.
As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ ... [Corinthians1: 12]
It is estimated that currently there are more than 50,000 lay associates in North America. This is a significant increase since a survey in 2000 by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which reported 24,500 associate (although not all orders completed the survey)1. Although association with religious orders goes back centuries, this phenomenon has been growing rapidly since the 1980s, particularly among congregations of women.2
For the most part, the current associate movement is young within the context of consecrated religious life, but all viable and creative life forms must continuously seek transformation or be destined to die. I offer this essay as my personal reflection on this committed form of life. I offer it as an opportunity for shared reflection and open and honest dialogue as associates and professed religious continue the journey to spiritual deepening and service to God and all of God's creation.
To develop transformational capability, we cannot be normal people doing normal things. We must stand outside the norm. To do that we need to go inside ourselves and ask who we are, what we stand for, and what impact we really want to have. We change the world by changing ourselves.3