October 2016 newsletter

October 2016 newsletter

Join us for convocation!

Oct. 27-31

Participants in the 2014 convocation enjoy the camaraderie of learning, networking, and worshiping with other vocation directors.

Don't miss out. Register now to take part in the NRVC Convocation Oct. 27-31 in Overland Park, Kansas—an event that promises to be stimulating, rewarding, and educational.

Hundreds of vocation directors and those who support them will be part of this gathering, which features outstanding learning, networking, discussion, and prayer opportunities. Here are just some of the highlights on the schedule.


Live-streamed panel of young religious

Moderated by Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann of Salt + Light TV, a panel of young people in early formation or discernment will discuss their vocations.


Talk by Vatican insider Father Rosica

During a dessert social Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. of the Vatican Press Office and Salt + Light TV will share stories and insights about Pope Francis in a presentation on the pope's Ignatian qualities.


Fresh new keynoters

Father Kevin O'Brien, S.J. and Ms. Sherrie Weddell will deliver keynote addresses on the convocation theme of "Awakened by the Spirit: Called to Discipleship."

O'Brien is dean and a professor at the Jesuit School of Theology of the University of Santa Clara in Berkeley, California. Weddell is the co-founder of Catherine of Siena Institute and has published books and articles about discipleship.


Presentation and panel on NRVC's family study

Brother Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., NRVC's former executive director, will present the results of NRVC's 2015 study about the role of the family in vocations. A panel of NRVC members will share insights on the topic, too. The panel will consist of Sister Michelle Lesher, S.S.J.; Father Adam MacDonald, S.V.D.; Sister Pat Dual, O.P.; Sister Anna Pauline Pham, O.P.; and Brother Chris Patino, F.S.C.


Outstanding workshops

Attendees may attend two 75-minute workshops on the following topics: the faith life of vocation directors, conversations between generations in religious communities, building intercultural competence, and reaching young adults.  Four full-day pre-convocation workshops will also be offered.


Quality networking, camaraderie, and worship

Convocation participants routinely praise NRVC convocations for the opportunity to meet other vocation directors, find support, and pray together in beautiful prayer services and liturgies. The liturgist will be Mikey Needleman, a Catholic musician who has provided music at a wide range of church events and has produced three CDs.

Pre-convocation opportunities

Workshops, vocation fair

Come early for convocation and take in a day-long workshop, participate in a vocation fair, or do both. 

These in-depth workshops will run 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on October 27 at the Sheraton Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas, where the NRVC convocation will begin October 28.

Crafting authentic community

Presented by Sister Ruth Ann Harkins, I.H.M., this workshop will explore the theological and scriptural foundations for communal life and look at ways to rejuvenate community bonds and positive communication in a religious order.


Tips of the trade: How to market vocations for your religious institute

Communications expert Ms. Cynthia Krohn of Christian Brothers Services will explore how to develop a clear vision and marketing strategy. She will also examine tools for conveying your message, including social media.


Understanding and assessing behavioral addictions

Psychologist and St. Luke Institute president Father David Songy, O.F.M. Cap. will review behavioral addictions such as excessive gambling, eating, spending,  Internet use, etc. He will discuss the addiction cycle, warning signs, and interventions.


Vocation ministry and the issues of civil, canon and immigration law

Mrs. Donna Miller of the Resource Center for Religious Institutes and Mr. Miguel Naranjo of Catholic Legal Immigration Network are the presenters. This workshop will examine legal concerns pertaining to vocation ministry, including  privacy issues, assessment practices, financial practices, etc. One half the workshop will look at legal concerns of foreign-born candidates.


Vocation fair opportunity

NRVC's Heartland member area, Serra Club, and the Archdiocese of Kansas City invite NRVC members to participate in a vocation fair prior to the convocation, on Wednesday, October 26, 5-8 p.m., to meet young adults from the Kansas City area. The fair will be held at Ascension Parish, four miles from the Sheraton, and NRVC is offering shuttle service to and from the site. To participate, contact Sister Vicki Lichtenauer at vlichten@hotmail.com or 816-718-2660. There is a $20 registration fee to offset expenses.

Mini-grants available

For National Catholic Sisters Week projects

Grants of up to $1,000 are available to organize celebratory events for National Catholic Sisters Week, to take place March 8-14, 2017.

The National Catholic Sisters Week organization (NCSW) is accepting applications for the grants through November 15. Awards will be announced December 15, and funds distributed by January 15. Applications are open to any event that "instructs, enlightens, or brings into focus" the lives of women religious.

Contact NCSW at 651-690-6925 or contact@nationalcatholicsistersweek.org.

National Vocation Awareness Week

Nov. 6-12

Image on the downloadable vocations prayer card.

Vocation directors are invited to reach out to parishes in particular November 6-12 to celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week. This observance is sponsored by the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations and celebrates consecrated life, priesthood, and the diaconate.

Free resources, including a prayer card, homily points, holy hours, and bulletin inserts, are available here


Interim NRVC leaders set

As executive director search continues

As the NRVC Board seeks applications for the position of executive director,  interim leaders for the organization are in place. Board chair Brother Ronald Hingle, S.C. will serve as NRVC spokesperson (rhinglesc@nrvc.net). Sister Deborah Borneman, SS.C.M., director of member relations and services, will oversee many day-to-day office operations (debbiesscm@nrvc.net). Membership questions, as always, should continue to be directed to database manager Marge Argyelan: margyelan@nrvc.net.

The board has begun to seek applications and will accept them through December 16. The board encourages members and friends of NRVC to let potential candidates know about this opening. A detailed job description and list of qualifications are available here.

Upcoming member area meetings

New England, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, West Coast

Deep South members at their September 17 meeting.

If you live in one of the following NRVC member areas, be sure to connect with fellow vocation directors by attending your forthcoming meeting. All NRVC members are welcome to attend the sexuality workshop in Renton, Washington in November.

For additional details contact the member area coordinators listed below for each area. Minutes of prior meetings and a full list of member area meetings and coordinators can be found here.


New England

October 3, Jamestown, Rhode Island

Sister Natalie Cain, S.S.J.   413-536-0853   ncain@ssjspringfield.com

Father Rocco Puopolo, S.X.   508-429-2144   frrocco@xaviermissionaries.org



October 5, North Beach, Maryland

Sister Mindy Welding, I.H.M.   610-547-9715   sismindy@gmail.com

Mr. Chris Irr   443-805-5294   cirr@xaverianbrothers.org


Pacific Northwest

November 11-12, Renton, Washington

"Healthy Sexual Integration in Religious Life"

Workshop by Kathy Galleher, Ph.D., co-sponsored by NRVC Pacific Northwest member area and the Religious Formation Conference

Sister Michael Francine Duncan, S.S.M.O.   503-644-9181   srmichaelfrancined@ssmo.org

Sister Christine Still, O.S.F.   253-797-0173   cstill@osfphila.org


West Coast

October 12,  ZOOM virtual meeting

Sister Mary Yun, O.P.   213.760.3085   mary@msjdominicans.org

Member area coordinators gather

For professional development

Member area coordinators gathered in Chicago at the end of September .

Twenty NRVC member area coordinators met in Chicago September 27-29 for prayer, professional development, and updates from the NRVC Board and staff. This year's gathering included time to interact with the NRVC staff, learn more about event planning, and share best practices within member areas.

Resource of the month

Hearing God's Call: 30 Days of Vocation Discernment

This 63-page booklet is an affordable resource for seekers and inquirers who want to pray about their vocation. It is written as a 30-day retreat, using scripture, reflection, activities, and questions to aid discernment. This is an ideal resource to give students following a Busy Persons Retreat. It is written by Father Tat Hoang, C.S.s.R., a former NRVC member who currently ministers in Chicago. $4 for members; $6 for non-members. Order it today.


NRVC collaborator news

Communications conference, online formation, workshops, and more

Communicators for Women Religious conference

The Communicators for Women Religious will hold its annual conference in Indianapolis October 4-7. The theme will be "Advance Your Mission! Turbocharge Your Communications." Attendees also have the option to attend only a single day, October 5 or 6.


Saint Luke Institute offers online formation program, free trial

Saint Luke Institute has a new online program for formation called "Foundations."  It includes more than 30 on-demand, online courses to help those in initial formation cultivate the emotional, psychological, and spiritual skills needed to thrive in ministry. While designed for seminaries, the content easily can be used with other initial formation programs. A free trial is available. Direct questions to Beth Davis, director of education, at sliconnect@sli.org or 502-632-2471.


RFC seeks staffer, hosts series of contemplative conversations,

The Religious Formation Conference is seeking a program director to design and implement formation programs for both new and seasoned religious.

In addition the organization is sponsoring a series of workshops to encourage contemplation and conversation.

On November 18-19 at Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Brother Donald Bisson, F.M.S. will present on “Acting on the Journey of Transformation.”

On December 2-3 in Cincinnati, Father Daniel Horan, O.F.M. will present on “Crossing the Borders of Human Exceptionalism: Community, Colonizations, and Care for Creation in the Age of Laudato Si.”


Hesburgh Sabbatical Program

Looking for rest or renewal in a supportive, inquiring, and faith-based environment? The Hesburgh Sabbatical Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago is accepting applications for the spring 2017 sabbatical experience, which runs January 30 - May 12, 2017.

Sister Connie Bach, P.H.J.C.


What roles do you play in your ministry?

I’m vocation director for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ as well as co-director of our PHJC volunteer program. I also serve as co-coordinator of NRVC’s Midwest member area and as a board member for the Chicago Area Vocation Association.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I've been involved with our vocation ministry team a time or two in the past and returned again in late 2014.

What do you enjoy most about vocation ministry?

I enjoy meeting people, sharing the mission of the gospel, enlivening our community's charism and values, inviting people to consider a life of service, and helping them reflect on God's call in their lives. I also thrive on collaborating with other vocation ministers, sharing the joys and challenges of our lives, working together for the same purpose.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful?

Yes, I have wonderful mentors and strong relationships with the men and women in NRVC. In a short time they have taught me a great deal about vocation ministry, about journeying with another, and about collaboration. The professional development workshops have especially benefited my own development as a vowed religious and as a vocation minister. The spiritual growth and integration that has taken root and blossomed in me through my NRVC membership has been a tremendous gift!

What has been your best vocation effort?

Being authentic with those whom I meet. When I can be my truest self and welcome another in her God-given uniqueness, I am doing the best job I can in inviting another to a life of service. People know when you are genuine. They know what really matters to you and what you hold dear. When I share my time, gifts, and talents, the Spirit does the rest of the work.

Internally our vocation team has worked very hard the last couple of years to look at our life together and ask how to make it more authentic and attractive, naming who we are and who it is we are inviting. We've answered tough questions and looked each other in the eye asking about the future of vocation promotion and invitation. We've provided a great deal of education for our sisters. And we've worked internationally with our sisters in eight other countries, some of whom no longer invite and others who are thriving.

Reach Sister Connie at connie.ss@att.net.

HORIZON Fall 2023 ...
The vow of celibacy is at once deeply personal and very ...  More
Become a Member ...
Join a professional network of vocation directors and those who support ...  More
World Day for Consecrated Life ...
Check out our resources to assist you in promoting vocations to ...  More
Get Involved in your Member ...
Check out events and gatherings this fall in your Member Area ...  More

NRVC Member Areas

Click here to locate members of the NRVC in your Member Area.


Behavioral Assessment 2 workshop

December 2-3,

Tucson, AZ

National Board Meeting

December 4-8,

Tucson, AZ

Member Area Gathering - Delaware Valley

December 5,

via Zoom

National Office Closed

Dec. 25 - Jan. 1,

Christmas Holiday

National Office Closed

January 15,

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

National Board Applications due

January 31,

Learn more

World Day for Consecrated Life

February 2,

Learn more...

Catholic Sisters Week

March 8-14,

Learn more...

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

April 21,

Plan now

Religious Brothers Day

May 1,

Plan ahead...

Renew your NRVC membership