2014 Convocation

2014 Convocation

Convocation 2014

Save the date: October 27-31, 2016

Convocation 2014



The theme for Convocation is "Awakened by the Spirit: Called to Discipleship."


convocation 2916, Keynote speaker



Plans are underway for the 2016 NRVC Convocation, which will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas. Four pre-convocation workshops will be offered on Thursday, October 27 and four workshops will be offered on Saturday, October 29.  Check back here for further updates.

Two keynoter presenters

Father Kevin O'Brien, S.J.

Father Kevin O’Brien, S.J. serves as vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown University. In this role he shares the Catholic and Jesuit tradition of education and spirituality with faculty, students, staff, and alumni through seminars, social justice immersion programs, and retreats. Father O'Brien also oversees campus ministry programs on four campuses and the Mission and Pastoral Care program at MedStar Georgetown Hospital.

Father O’Brien lectures in Georgetown's Department of Theology in the area of ecclesiology. He writes in the area of Jesuit history and spirituality. In 2011, Loyola Press published his award-winning book, The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life. Father O’Brien has taught and served in the chaplaincies at Fordham University, Saint Joseph's University, Loyola University in Baltimore, and LeMoyne College. He holds a J.D. from the University of Florida, an master's in philosophy from Fordham, and a master's of divinity and licentiate in sacred theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now part of Boston College).  He graduated from Georgetown with a B.A. in 1988.

Ms. Sherry Weddell

Sherry Weddell co-founded the Catherine of Siena Institute (CSI) with Father Michael Sweeney, O.P. in 1997. CSI is an affiliated international ministry of the Western Dominican Province and trains Catholic leaders in  evangelization and the formation of parishes of "intentional disciples." Sherry and her international team of collaborators have worked directly with 120,000 lay, religious, and ordained Catholics in well over 500 parishes in 137 dioceses. In 2014 she presented a workshop before the annual assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

Ms. Weddell is the author of the books Become a Parish of Intentional Disciples (2015) and Forming Intentional Disciples: the Path to Knowing and Following Jesus (2012), the latter of which is available in Spanish as Formación de Discípulos Intencionales. She edited and contributed to Forming a Parish of Intentional Disciples (2015).  Ms. Weddell originally wrote the Called and Gifted discernment process in 1993 and is now revising this process for international use. She intends to write a book on the charisms and the charismatic dimension of the Church’s life as one of the fruits of intentional discipleship. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 from the University of Washington and a Master of Arts degree in Adult education in 1993 from Seattle University.

Convocation 2014 follow up

Convocation 2014 follow up



See photos, write thank yous, order copies of talks, and take advantage of all that convocation offered.


Jubilee, 2014 convocation, 25th anniversary



The 332 participants in NRVC’s convocation, held November 6-10 in Chicago, gave the gathering high marks in their evaluations. They praised the 25th jubilee event for the fresh ideas, networking, and inspiration it provided. Attendees came from 25 countries, including Austria, Canada, Chile, Ireland, Mexico, Trinidad, and the United Kingdom.

Approximately three quarters of the 159 evaluators said it exceeded their expectations; 96 percent gave it three or four out of four.

Photos  View and download them at flickr.com/nrvc.  (Thank you to Sister Belinda Monahan, O.S.B. and Father Toby Collins, C.R. for your photography work.)

Audio or video  Call AVM at 888-763-1464 to order discs of speakers or workshops. Click here for the order form.

Keynote presentations and a selection of convocation reflections will be published in the Winter 2015 HORIZON, which mails in early February. Pre-order additional hard copies of HORIZON, $25 each: cscheiber@nrvc.net.  

Donations  Thank you to all who contributed during the convocation’s final Mass to the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, pbmr.org. Donations totaled $1,638.

Hotel billing  Any concerns in this regard should be directed to Nix and Associates at 800-266-0866 or 314-645-1455.

Videos used during the convocation (such as the video of laity expressing appreciation for religious life) are posted on the NRVC YouTube channel.  All of these videos can be shared and used on your own social media sites.

Sponsors  A final word of thanks to our sponsors and 28 exhibitors, A list of exhibitors can be viewed or downloaded.

Contacts  If you wish to send thanks to the Catholic schoolchildren who wrote notes to attendees or contact anyone else involved with the convocation, please email Sister Debbie Borneman, SS.C.M. at debbiesscm@nrvc.net. She will help you to get in touch with the appropriate people.

Jubilee Prayer

Jubilee Prayer



We begin our Jubilee celebration much like we begin all things—in prayer.




Here is the NRVC 25th Jubilee Prayer--set in two styles--which we invite you to print out and use throughout the year for personal reflection, at your regional meetings, in vocation team meetings, or in other similar settings. You may also download a high-resolution file of the prayer set.






Thoughts of the 25th on the 25th: A Glimpse Back

Memories of NRVC's first 25 years

Thoughts of the 25th on the 25th: A Glimpse Back



IN CELEBRATION of the 25th anniversary of NRVC, on the 25th of each month we offered highlights of people and events that were significant in our organization's history. Over the past 12 months we've looked at our offices, convocation, HORIZON, Australian connection, USCCB, VISION Vocation Network, Orientation program, Continental Congress, Behavioral Assessment workshop, Black Religious Committee, and J.S. Paluch Collaboration, and membership.





October 25, 2014

Thank you, members!

Some of our newest NRVC members.

Throughout this year, the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) has been celebrating its 25th anniversary to commemorate its founding in 1988 as a national professional organization for vocation ministers to work together to promote all of religious life. Twenty-five years after its founding, NRVC has over 800 members from 39 states and the District of Columbia, as well as international members from 12 countries. NRVC is known as a bridge builder because it embraces the varying spiritualties, missions, and charisms of its members from over 300 religious institutes that are apostolic, cloistered, evangelical, missionary and monastic. 

While the message from the risen Christ to “Come follow me” has not changed in over two millennia, the methods used to promote vocations continue to emerge as religious life evolves. The incentive to promote vocations is the belief that the multitudes of charisms in religious life are relevant in the twenty-first century and that new members want to enter religious life. NRVC is committed to providing its membership with seminal studies, new resources, and innovative workshops that strengthen and enhance the professional skills of those serving in vocation ministry. 

There is a joyful spirit at NRVC with a pulse that is palpable in its members. With a pace that can be relentless at times, dynamic vocation ministers ask the deeper question, “How can I fully engage in my NRVC membership?” The answer begins with networking with one another at region meetings and in planning collaborative vocation promotion events. Members who are fully engaged are motivated to keep updated in the trends, best practices, and issues in vocation ministry. They attend annual workshops and read relevant articles and books. Fully engaged members have the conviction that emerging adults are curious about religious life and desire vocation discernment. They are enthusiastic contributors to the field of vocation ministry as writers, presenters, videographers, and animators. Most importantly, fully engaged members mentor one another and support each other in prayer. 

It is with a profound sense of gratitude and appreciation for our members and all their predecessors that NRVC will culminate its 25th anniversary at Convocation. With a confident humility that God continues to call women and men to vowed communal life, NRVC members, staff, and board will continue to excel as a professional organization that exceeds the expectations of all those who promote vocations among and with the next generation of religious sisters, brothers, and priests.

— Submitted by Sister Debbie Borneman, SS.C.M., 
Director of Member Relations and Services


September 25, 2014

What a joy it is to be part of NRVC’s 25th jubilee celebration!

Vocation Seminar

2014 J.S. Paluch Vocation Seminar

The collaboration between J.S. Paluch and NRVC enjoys a productive and enriching history. Paluch staff members initially worked with the National Sisters Vocation Conference (NSVC) and the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors (NCRVD). Then two important events occurred in 1988: The NSVC and the NCRVD became the NRVC and the national board members of NRVC and the national Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD) came together for the first J.S. Paluch Vocation Seminar. This was a small gathering, including only the national boards meeting with Bishop Thomas J. Murphy and Rev. J. Cletus Kiley. The focus then, which remains the focus today, was to communicate, share resources, and work together. For the next two years, executive directors from both organizations helped plan the gatherings and served as facilitators.


Over time, this collaboration evolved from moderate initiatives to fundamental expectations. Working together moved from novel to normal. NRVC’s commitment to this goal and process was key to its birth and growth. NRVC leadership has played an essential role in the planning and success of all the Paluch seminars.


The collaboration grew as NRVC, NCDVD, J.S. Paluch, and Serra USA Council formed the National Coalition for Church Vocations (NCCV) to consolidate vocation resources. NRVC and Paluch also served on committees for the Third Continental Congress on Vocations to the Ordained Ministry and Consecrated Life in North America.


NRVC continues to be an active supporter of Paluch and World Library Publications, its music and liturgy division. At convocations, the graciousness of NRVC manifests itself to Paluch participants and exhibitors. 


I’m personally and professionally privileged to have shared the vision of vocation ministry and creative insights of Br. Joe Samson, Sr. Cathy Bertrand, S.S.N.D., Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., their staffs, and many NRVC national board members and regional coordinators. I congratulate all those who have helped NRVC grow in scope, skill, outreach, innovation, quality and variety of resources, and attentiveness to its members. NRVC always moves to the light, to the future. How apt the motto for the 2014 NRVC Convocation: It is good that we are here. Rise, and have no fear.


— Submitted by Dolores J. Orzel, Creative Director, 
National Vocations Awareness Division, J.S. Paluch Company, Inc.


NRVC Black Religious Committee

Members of the Black Religious Committee, Sister Josita COlbert, S.N.D.deN., board liaison; Mr. Mark McGuthrie, Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, committee co-chair; and Sister Gayle Lawanga Crumbley, R.S.G.

One of the strategic goals of NRVC is to educate and to raise awareness among our members about issues related to multiculturalism in our Church, especially as it applies to vocation ministry.

The Black Religious Committee was established by the NRVC Board in the mid-1990s to meet the needs of all peoples of African descent. The committee was originally named in 1994 the African-American Standing Committee; however, as a way to be more inclusive of the influx of African candidates in religious life, Sister Mary McNally, O.S.F., then board liaison to the African-American Standing Committee, suggested that NRVC rename the committee to the Black Religious Committee. 

The purpose and aim of this committee is to assist NRVC Vocation Directors in a respectful manner with the discernment process of black, African-American, or African candidates, to address particular interests of black religious in relationship to vocation ministry, and to identify and research those issues related to black religious vocations. The committee also helps with an education component by providing workshops at convocations and for religious congregations on how to welcome women and men candidates of African descent.  

The Black Religious Committee oversaw the production of the resource booklet, “Towards Cultural Competence and the Incorporation of People of Color into Predominantly European American Religious Communities,” written and compiled by Sister Gywnette Proctor, S.N.D.deN. In addition, it was also instrumental in having Father Bryan Massingale, S.T.D., then president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, speak at the 2010 Convocation in Cleveland, OH.  

Currently the committee consists of Sister Patricia Rogers, O.P. (co-chair), Mr. Mark McGuthrie (co-chair), Sister Magdala Marie Gilbert, O.S.P., Sister Gayle Lawanga Crumbley, R.S.G., Sister Chala Marie Hill, F.H.M., Sister Patricia Dual, O.P. and Friar Douglas McMillan, Conv. O.F.M. Sister Josita Colbert, S.N.D.deN. is board liaison to the committee. 

As NRVC celebrates its 25th anniversary, the Black Religious Committee continues to expand its outreach to other African-American Catholic organizations to heighten the awareness of the important contributions of black religious in the history of the Church and to invite a new generation of black religious in the future.

Submitted by 
Sister Josita Colbert, S.N.D.deN.
Sister Magdala Marie Gilbert, O.S.P.



July 25, 2014

Behavioral Assessment Workshops

Behavioral Assessment Workshops: How it all began



 Participants at the 2014 Behavioral Assessment Workshop send the NRVC Jubilee greetings


While a doctoral student in clinical psychology in 1978, I was invited to treat the topic of candidate assessment. The invitation came from a novice director of a women’s religious community who was responsible for bringing a speaker to a gathering of her colleagues in Toronto, and thus was born the first “Behavioral Assessment” workshop in the context of vocational discernment.

The whole premise of the behavioral approach was to begin to think in terms of “learnings and skills” rather than psychological traits or personality characteristics. Of course, the learnings and skills need to relate to the unique set of learnings and skills required for each particular congregation, especially as they are lived in the congregation’s common life and mission. That first weekend effort was a skeletal image of the more refined workshop that stands today, but the basic principles that underscore the methodology have continued.

In the middle 1980s the Executive Director of NRVC, Brother Joseph Sampson, FSC, asked whether NRVC could regularly provide that workshop for its members. Housing it with NRVC would benefit more congregations and would relieve individual groups of the burden of organizing and sponsoring such an enterprise. From that time on the professional home of the Behavioral Assessment Workshop has been with NRVC, as has been the more advanced Behavioral Assessment Workshop II.

Over the years topics that reflect the issues of the time have been folded in and out of the assessment paradigm. For instance, in the ’80s the pros and cons of HIV testing was a prominent issue for vocation directors. Eventually, we focused on questions about sexual orientation, diverse ecclesiologies among candidates, histories of addiction, questions about divorced and widowed candidates, second-career candidate issues, generational concerns of Gen X and the Millennials, and a variety of other issues.

Behavioral Assessment, as a methodology, continues to adapt to meet the needs of NRVC members in their commitment to effective candidate assessment. It has been a great privilege to be a part of this endeavor.

Submitted by Reverend Raymond P. Carey, Ph.D.


June 25, 2014

Continental Congress

Vocación: Don de Dieu, Given for God’s People 
(Vocation: Gift of God, Given for God’s people)

Above: Participants at the 2002 Continental Congress on Vocations in Montreal. Below top: Members of the Congress Planning Committee; below middle: Sr. Cathy Bertrand, S.S.N.D., former NRVC Executive Director, flanked by participating bishops; below bottom: Sr. Cathy with Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C, current NRVC Executive Director.



In my capacity as NRVC Executive Director (1992-2002), I had the privilege of serving on the core planning committee for the North American Continental Congress on Vocations to the Ordained Ministry and Consecrated Life. This congress occurred at the request of Pope John Paul II to the bishops of the U.S. and Canada, and was held in Montreal, Quebec, April 18-21, 2002. 

Though the two bishops’ conferences were given the responsibility for the event, it could not have happened without the generous work of many additional individuals and organizations, including NRVC. 

From the outset, it was the desire of the congress planners that the event itself, and the gatherings prior to the congress, reflect the North American meeting style: inspirational, challenging, dialogic, and practical. It gave new meaning to the word collaboration as women and men religious, lay women and men, bishops, clergy, and secular institute members served together on the multitude of committees, as workshop presenters, and in many other capacities. It was indeed a North American event and afforded participants the rich opportunity to explore this critical area together. 

After many months of planning, more than 1,500 delegates attended, including parents, young adults, youth directors, campus ministers, vocation directors, members of secular institutes, priests, religious sisters and brothers, congregational leaders, bishops, pastors, vocation ministers, Serrans, Knights of Columbus, members of lay movements and numerous others. The diversity was evident in other ways as well, with simultaneous language translation in English, French, and Spanish. 

While keeping the “preferential option for the young” front and center, the Congress invited the Church of North America to adopt a five-fold approach to creating a “Vocation Culture.” The five activities include: praying, evangelizing, experiencing, mentoring, and inviting. I am pleased that NRVC continues to promote these goals today. 

As I look back on this event that happened over ten years ago, I still recall the energy, passion, and commitment of the participants to bring vocation ministry to the forefront of our Church. This experience was as much a turning point for NRVC as it was for the North American Church as the final document was a reflection and practical action guide that still serves as a valuable resource for many vocation ministers and others. And for those who participated in the event, may the theme song still resonate in your minds and hearts as it continues to do in mine. “We are called on a mission to love and serve the Lord.”  

Submitted by Sister Catherine Bertrand, S.S.N.D.

Sister Catherine Bertrand, SSND, was NRVC Executive Director from 1992-2002. After serving as  Provincial for the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mankato Province, Sister Cathy currently serves as a facilitator and mediator for several religious congregations. 


May 25, 2014



Orientation Program

The Evolution of the NRVC Orientation Program for New Vocation Directors

Top: Sister Cathy Bertrand, S.S.N.D. and article author Father Tom Enneking, O.C.S. posing with the first orientation binder in 1988. Bottom: Participants at NRVC's 2013 Orientation Program.

Thousands of former and current NRVC members have benefited from the Orientation Program for New Vocation Directors, the most consistently, successful workshop offered by NRVC. Building on the one-day program once offered by the former National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors of Men (NCRVDM), under the direction of James Vedro, O.S.C., NRVC initially began a two-day orientation in 1987 for vocation directors who were new to this ministry.

I was privileged to be invited in 1988 by Sister Cathy Bertrand, S.S.N.D., then vocation director for the Mankato province and later Executive Director of NRVC, to be her co-presenter for a totally new, reformatted Orientation Program. This was the beginning of the famous “binder” with compiled resources to address a growing range of issues related to vocation ministry. Initially, we not only presented, but also organized and did the music for the Liturgies in addition to overseeing the registration and hospitality! This annual three-day workshop was offered in the summer, but because of increased demand, the NRVC Board decided to offer a shortened version prior to the biennial Convocation.

Five years later I left vocation work, and the late Brother Kenneth Grondin, C.F.C., assumed my role with Sister Cathy and the program quickly expanded in quality and length. With increased resources and articles, the famous “binder” also expanded into two binders that weighed 8 pounds!

Brother Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C. replaced Brother Ken in 1998 as co-presenter, and after assuming the leadership of NRVC in 2002, Brother Paul has since benefited from the professional expertise of co-presenters Sisters Susan Kidd, C.N.D., Carol Tropiano, R.S.M., and Charlene, Diorka, S.S.J. Sister Debbie Borneman, Ss.C.M., current NRVC Associate Director for Programs and Resources, now serves in that capacity.

Because no other such program at the time was being offered worldwide, over the years the NRVC Orientation Program has drawn participants from as far away as Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. As a result, NRVC was invited to give adapted versions of the Orientation Program in Ireland, England, and Australia.

With the rise of technology, the three-ring binders are now obsolete. Three days of orientation have now evolved into five. Reflecting the needs of contemporary vocation ministry, current topics include canon law, immigration, social media, communications, professional boundaries, and self-care.

Vocation work is an ever changing ministry as is reflected in the continuing, but ever changing curriculum of the Orientation Program for New Vocation Directors.  

Submitted by Father Thomas Enneking, O.C.S.

Father Tom is former vocation director for the Crosier Fathers and Brothers. He is currently the Prior Provincial and served on the planning committee for the NRVC Men Religious Moving Froward in Hope program.


April 25, 2014

VISION Vocation Guide:

How our VISION has improved over the years

VISION covers

Sampling of VISION Covers

Vocation directors participating in NRVC's predecessor organization had long seen the need for a comprehensive resource for discerners. By the time the NRVC was formed in 1988, the first issue of VISION was already in print.

In the early years of NRVC, the board contracted Chicago-based Berry Publishing to produce VISION on their behalf. In 1998 the NRVC board sought help from Claretian Publications, and then in 2001, they contracted TrueQuest Communications to provide extensive publishing services.

Although the core mission of VISION--to offer vocation discerners a wide array of information about contemporary religious life--has not changed over the years, the world of publishing has undergone dramatic changes. What started out as an annual printed guide with several dozen participating religious community sponsors has grown into a multimedia extravaganza!

Well, maybe that is a bit of an overstatement, but consider how things used to be and how they are now:

In those earlier days way back in the 20th century, VISION magazine was laid out manually, sent to the printer, and mailed to about 25,000 addresses around the U.S. Discerners interested in receiving more information about a particular religious community filled out a card in the back of the magazine, which they tore out and sent to a post office box. In about six to eight weeks, they would receive a letter from a vocation director with information about the community.

Flash forward to 2014 and VISION has hundreds of thousands of readers from around the world and 300 plus participating religious community sponsors. The annual guide is offered in print and online digital formats. Discerners are also welcome to browse through the VISION Vocation Network website, updated daily, where they can find articles, videos, continuous posts on the calendar of events, interactive quizzes, blogs, social network feeds, and dozen of other unique features that offer up-to-date information about religious life.

And when it comes to discerners' inquiries for more information, their requests are processed instantaneously. In addition, if they are not sure what community might be right for them, they are encouraged to go through Vocation Match, an extremely useful interactive discernment tool developed by TrueQuest and NRVC in 2007 to help discerners sort through their diverse vocation options.

With each new generation, the NRVC's VISION Vocation Guide is committed to being responsive to the changing needs of discerners, religious communities, and the universal church. 

Happy Jubilee, NRVC!

Submitted by Patrice Tuohy
Executive Editor
VISION Vocation Guide




March 25, 2014

Our relationship with the USCCB

Bishop McRaithSINCE 1993 NRVC has had the privilege of being a consulting organization to the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations. This, however, was not always the case. Prior to the founding of NRVC in 1988, there existed the National Catholic Vocation Council. This umbrella group was composed of representatives of the USCCB, the two religious leadership conferences, the Knights of Columbus, the U.S. Conference of Secular Institutes, Serra International, the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors (men), the National Sisters Vocation Conference, and the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD). The purpose of this umbrella group was to ensure the provision of resources and programs for priestly and religious vocations within the U.S. Church.

For varied reasons at the time, the members decided to dissolve the Council in 1987. Although the USCCB approved the founding of the National Religious Vocation Conference the following year and recognized it as the official vocation conference for religious vocation directors, the agreement did not stipulate any formal association with the U.S. bishops.

In 1992 former NRVC executive director, Sister Catherine Bertrand, SSND, initiated a dialogue about more formal relations between the NRVC and the USCCB with then Bishop Robert Carlson, the chair to the new USCCB Committee on Vocations. As a result, Bishop John McRaith, bishop of Owensboro, KY, was appointed by Bishop Carlson as NRVC episcopal liaison. Bishop McRaith attended his first NRVC board meeting in the fall of 1992, and because of his positive experience with Sister Cathy and the NRVC board, Bishop McRaith recommended to the bishops that the NRVC executive director become a consultant to the Committee on Vocations. Sister Cathy attended her first committee meeting in 1993.

The NRVC executive director continues to represent NRVC to the recently restructured Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations.

NRVC will be forever grateful to Bishop McRaith, for his advocacy on behalf of NRVC, and for his many years of serving as the episcopal liaison to our organization. Since Bishop McRaith’s retirement, NRVC has had the pleasure of working with three additional episcopal liaisons: Archbishop Gregory Aymond, archbishop of New Orleans (then bishop of Austin), Bishop William Callahan, OFM Conv., bishop of LaCrosse, and now recently appointed Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, bishop of Beaumont.

Submitted by Br. Paul Bednarczyk, CSC
Executive Director




Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC, Sister Cathy Bertrand, SSND and two Australian vocation ministers at a 1998 workshop in Australia

At a 1998 Turramurra, Australia “Orientation to Vocation Ministry” workshop, are current NRVC executive director Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC with former NRVC executive director Sister Cathy  Bertrand, SSND (center right)  and two Australian vocation ministers. 

Feb. 25, 2014

Decades long friendship enlivens Australian and U.S. vocation organizations

A visit from NRVC’s former executive director in 1997 proved to be a significant milestone in the development of Australian vocations ministry and ultimately the Australian Church.

Back in 1997, Australian vocation leaders representing both diocesan and religious community members, asked the executive director of National Religious Vocation Conference to be a

keynote speaker at our 4th Biennial National Conference. Sister Cathy Bertrand, SSND, then NRVC’s executive director, gave the keynote in Australia.

Cathy’s presence, and the gifts of her passion for the future of religious life, her insightful presentations, her wisdom, her inspiring one-liners, her generous self-giving and encouragement-- and her promise of on-going support--provided us with a much-needed injection of life and hope. It was also an impetus to work toward a national vocations office.

With support and encouragement from many quarters, including NRVC, Australian vocation leaders subsequently wrote a constitution and hired staff members. Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia (CVMA) thus became a more formal professional association.

True to her pledge of support, Sister Cathy returned the following year. She delivered a five-day “Orientation to New Vocation Ministry” workshop in 1998 in Turramurra with Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC. (Brother Paul, now NRVC’s executive director, was then a vocation minister for his community and active in national vocation ministry.) The workshop provided us not only with insights, skills, and excellent resources, but it also facilitated networking with colleagues: kindred spirits across Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand--and the USA.

Later, as CVMA’s National Executive (in addition to many responsibilities with my congregation) I shared my sense of being under-resourced. Sister Cathy threw out to me the exciting idea of visiting the States! Thus I traveled in 1998 to the U.S. to meet and share strategies and ideas with NRVC ministers and church leaders across the country.

I returned home exhausted, yet exhilarated, and with a treasure trove of new ideas and resources, a deepened belief in the future of consecrated life and the diocesan priesthood, and most of all, a very strong sense that, despite the geographical isolation of our land ‘down under,’ we were no longer alone!

Our two organizations have continued to be in conversation with each other—visiting and exchanging resources and publications. Most recently, Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC spent several days giving a workshop in Australia in 2012. I will always be grateful for the gift of NRVC’s influence, friendship and support – for me personally and for CVMA.

Submitted by Sister Mary Ryan, RSJ
CVMA Executive Officer 2001-2006
Feb. 25, 2014






Jan. 25, 2014

HORIZON grows and changes with the times

HORIZON began 39 years ago as a modest mimeograph. The idea of a journal for vocation ministers originated with the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors of Men—a predecessor to NRVC. HORIZON was originally titled Called to Growth/Ministry. It was produced the way everyone made low-cost copies in the 1970s: on a mimeograph.

When the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) was born in 1988 out of a merger of two religious vocation groups, Called to Growth/Ministry was renamed HORIZON, but the focus remained the same: providing insightful and instructive articles to assist in the ministry and professional development of vocation directors.

As NRVC grew, the printing and design of HORIZON became more sophisticated, its readership expanded, and it received wide recognition for editorial excellence, including being honored with numerous Catholic Press Association awards. With an eye to covering vocation issues in other parts of the English-speaking world, the journal recently added editorial board members from Canada, the UK, and Ireland.

Looking to the future, NRVC continues to invest in HORIZON and is committed to keeping a lively, thought-provoking journal for those dedicated to and supporting a robust future for religious life.

Submitted by Carol Schuck Scheiber,
Jan. 25, 2014




Dec. 25, 2013

Convocation 1996 in New Orleans leaves a lasting impression


Most things in New Orleans have a festive flair unique to “The Big Easy.” While we work hard and get our work done (well, most of the time), we enjoy ourselves celebrating life and the people who are with us. And, the NRVC Convocation held in the “City that Care Forgot” in 1996 was no exception.

We even got everyone present to join us in a “second line” waiving their very own “NRVC Second Line” handkerchiefs and dancing through the hotel.

The truly unique part of Convocation 1996, however, was the presence of 200 young adults who had been invited to address us and the Convocation theme, “Who Do You Say that We Are?” Through processes planned by Sr. Gloria Marie Jones, OP and Fr. Bill Kraus, OFM Cap., young people were able to personally offer to us their experiences of the ministry and witness of women and men religious across the U.S. Church, what encourages and discourages their consideration of religious life, and suggestions on how to better approach our ministry. All in attendance were humbled and touched by the honest sharing, the appreciation they expressed for religious, the genuine desire of many in attendance to discern a religious vocation, the willingness of so many young people to assist us with vocation promotion. With no disrespect to any of our guests, they were the hit of the weekend!

Our young adults even joined us in a parade – a surprise parade – right down the center of the main ballroom, complete with costumed Mardi Gras krewe members throwing beads and doubloons.

no_1996_maureen_brronnie1.jpgThrough the collaborative efforts of the NRVC staff, the members of host Region V, the speakers and presenters, and the young people themselves, Convocation 1996 was a most memorable experience and with a record 670 attendees!

So, y’all come back, now. Hear?

Submitted by Br. Ronald Hingle, SC
Vocation Director, New Orleans Province
Brothers of the Sacred Heart
NRVC Board Member

December 25, 2013




Nov.  25, 2013

Our offices


Vocation directors had hoped for the consolidation of the religious vocation conferences for many years so that the combined resources, personnel, and energy could be focused on one mission and require only one membership. 

In the spring of 1988, the interim board of directors, composed of members of the National Sisters Vocation Conference (NSVC) and the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors (NCRVD)--together with their respective executive directors, Sharon Baudry, CSA and Jeanne Schweickert, SSSF--put the finishing touches on the structure and documentation of the new joint venture: National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC). 

Since 1979 the now combined conferences of NSVC and NCRVD into NRVC had shared office space (at 1307 South Wabash Avenue, Suite 350 in Chicago) with the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD) and the National Catholic Vocation Council (predecessor to the National Coalition for Church Vocations) in a collaborative effort to serve religious and diocesan vocation directors in the U.S. The building had been anchored by a business school, but once the school closed, all tenants were asked to move. 

In 1990 the NRVC office along with NCDVD and NCCV was relocated four blocks away to 1603 South Michigan Avenue. This building was being remodeled from a manufacturing plant into office space. It was a temporary venture until the foreseen regentrification of the neighborhood would begin, at which point the entire structure would be turned into condominiums. 

The NCDVD was the first to exit in the mid-1990s when Dorothy Foss became executive director and moved their office to Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Then in 1997, NRVC and NCCV were invited by the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) to relocate to the first floor of their residence hall at 5420 South Cornell Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. That cozy space served NRVC well until 2005 when the old residence hall was demolished to make way for CTU’s new school building. 

NRVC now occupies a newly renovated space in CTU’s original building at 5401 South Cornell Avenue. 

And that is the end of the story of NRVC's beginnings. 

Happy 25th Anniversary!

Submitted by Sr. Mary Ann Hamer, OSF, 
former NRVC Finance coordinator 
and current HORIZON contributor
November 25, 2013




25th Jubilee Announcements

Anniversary celebrations commence

25th Jubilee Announcements


Br. Paul Bednarczyk C.S.C., c


November 6, 2013 marks the inauguration of a one year 25th anniversary celebration commemorating the founding of the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC). One year from that date we will open the 13th NRVC Convocation at the Marriott Chicago O’Hare Hotel which will culminate this special year of jubilee.





November 6, 2013 marks the inauguration of a one year 25th anniversary celebration commemorating the founding of the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC). One year from this date we will open the 13th NRVC Convocation at the Marriott Chicago O’Hare Hotel which will culminate this special year of jubilee.

Throughout the coming months NRVC will recognize this milestone in various ways. We are grateful to our Anniversary Committee who have worked hard in the planning and preparations of this important year.


Sister Debbie Borneman, SS.CM
Ms. Dolores Orzel
Sister Elyse Marie Ramirez, OP
Mr. Mark Teresi
Ms. Terry Tuohy


We begin this celebration much like we begin all things—in prayer. The NRVC 25th Jubilee Prayer can be found here. We invite you to use it throughout the year for personal reflection, at your regional meetings, in your vocation team meetings, or in other similar settings.


For 25 years NRVC has served the Church and religious institutes by meeting the evolving, professional needs of religious vocation directors. We give thanks to God for all that has been, and for all that is yet to be, as we continue to build and strengthen NRVC in the future.


Click here to see our Jubilee Prayer.


New England Member Area Gathering ...
Updates, planning, and relaxation at Jamestown, RI for NRVC members. Contact ...  More
Register for Convocation today ...
Come celebrate NRVC's 30th anniversary, November 1-5 and kick off National ...  More
Delaware Valley Member Area Gathering ...
Join NRVC members in Philadelphia for a presentation on being a ...  More
2018 HORIZON Summer ...
On youth, faith, and vocation discernment. ...  More
NRVC Member Area


September 2018

NRVC Office closed

Labor Day, Sept. 4

NRVC Member Area Meetings

Midwest: Sept. 20, Chicago

Deep South: Sept. 21-22, New Orleans

Hudson Valley: Sept. 24-26, Albany

Mid-Atlantic: Sept. 25, Baltimore

New England; Sept. 25, Jamestown

Member Area Coordinator Meeting

Sept. 17-19, Chicago

NRVC Board Meeting

Sept. 25-27, Chicago


Renew your NRVC membership