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.

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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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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Fishing with cast net from a boat near Kozhikode Beach, IndiaIn James Martin’s, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, he reflects upon Jesus stepping into Simon’s boat and asking him to “put out a little way” so Jesus can better address the crowds that are pressing the shoreline to hear him. Simon was wrapping up a long night of unsuccessful fishing and must have been tired and frustrated.  But he obliges, and after Jesus finishes, He tells Simon to ‘put out into the deep’ to lower his nets. What? The preacher knows better than the professional angler? Peter was fortunately humble enough to honor the request. And … cue up “miracle music” … the fishing nets fill to the point of breaking!1

There is something to be said for giving it a second look even though you think you know the waters well, for letting circumstances open you to new possibilities.

In the April issue of The Associate, Jeanne Connolly described the portion of our recent Board meeting that included representatives from the National Religious Vocations Conference (NRVC), Religious Formation Conference (RFC), and the Leadership Collaborative, whom she welcomed by saying: “… everything is open for conversation with the understanding that we firmly believe that God is serious about the future of the associate way of life and because we … serve associate leaders and prospective leaders …. we want to further this form of Gospel life, not to the exclusion of other forms, but in relationship with and in collaboration with others.”

We’ll do precisely that—serve our associate leaders, all hands on deck for the next year with no diminishment in NACAR service. So when you receive your membership renewal notice this month, be assured that your investment secures all upon which you rely—information, connection, and inspiration.

We appreciate you who have affirmed and creatively responded to our honest assessments and requests for committee members and financial assistance. We NACAR Board members continue to cast our nets seeking collaborative possibilities to ensure that NACAR continues to serve and promote associate life in the years ahead. As Jeanne indicated in her December 5, 2019 letter, we pledge to share the results of our futuring work with you by March 2021.

Now is not the time to hold back a single spark of an idea as we navigate these deep and compelling waters together. We rely upon each of you to share what you see from bow and stern, port and starboard, to discover that to which God now invites us.

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Flame Light SunNACAR enters June with the fire of Pentecost and the passion of the Sacred Heart, even as so many of us wait in our Upper Rooms for the time when we can reemerge safely and reunite with one another and all our beloveds. 

How blessed are we to have the spirit and spirituality of our various congregations to sustain us, as well as their indomitable legacy of heroic service in times of the world’s greatest need.  

As so many of our wisdom figures go home to God during this pandemic, how challenged are we to live on in their love by being what they were—single-hearted women and men of the Gospel.

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DaffodilsSpring is one of my favorite times of the year. Where I live, it is sometimes fleeting and easily missed. Whether we take the time to notice it or not, it still comes faithfully … despite late-season snow and “unseasonable” temperatures. The trees, grass, and flowers awaken from their winter slumber. Spring is never canceled—it may arrive differently from year to year or from one geographical location to another, but nature awakens to the new.

It seems to me that the global pandemic related to the novel coronavirus-COVID-19 provides each of us with the opportunity to awaken to the new. Our lives are necessarily very different from what they were just a few weeks ago. Business and life are far from “normal.” We have seen and experienced the oneness as a global community in ways many of us could not have imagined. We have been given a new wake up call to, as Sr. Ilia Delio writes, “think new,” because the power of God is yearning to do new things, to create more wholeness of life, to transform earth into the fullness of Christ, so that “they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).*

In these days of “physical distancing,” we are being invited to “think new” about how we learn, connect, share gifts and talents, and celebrate liturgy. As a human race, we can live through this time with love, gratitude, hope, and grace or fall into dystopian despair. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded (virtually) by many loving and compassionate groups. It is exciting to explore possibilities and to “think new” about services and ministries. NACAR strives to be one of those organizations providing support and sending positive energy into the world. We encourage you to share the new ways that you are learning to be community in this current reality. How might we re-imagine the Associate-Religious relationship in this new time … together for the sake of the world? May this spring and Easter season be a season of awakening and an invitation to “think new.”

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