How it all began

How it all began

The 1989 Board meeting for the newly formed National Religious Vocation Conference.

THE NATIONAL RELIGIOUS VOCATION CONFERENCE was born the way many organizations are: in response to a need. The organization began organically as vocation ministry began to take shape and professionalize in the 980s. However, vocation ministry as a profession began taking shape well before then.

The NRVC staff in the 1990s. Left to right are Sister Mary Ann Hamer, Sister Cathy Bertrand, Sister Charlene Herinckx, and Maureen O’Meara.

According to former NRVC administrative assistant, Sister Mary Ann Hamer, OSF—who worked at the national level of vocation ministry for nearly 21 years—religious communities began appointing vocation ministers in the 1960s. These ministers started to form local chapters to share ideas. Eventually the National Sisters Vocation Conference arose as an umbrella group for women. Religious men formed the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors of Men (NCRVDM). The men’s group put on workshops that the women began to attend. By 1982 so many women religious had become involved with NCRVDM that it dropped the word “men” from its name and was simply the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors (NCRVD).

At the 2004 Convocation, Father Timothy Radcliffe, OP and Father Andrew Carl Wisdom, OP.

Sister Charlene Diorka, SSJ completes the Orientation to Vocation Ministry program.

The first NRVC newsletter, long before the days of e-newsletters.

Over time it became clear that only one religious vocation conference was needed. Thus NRVC came into being in 1988 with the formal merger of the National Sisters Vocation Conference and the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors. Much like today, albeit on a smaller scale, the NRVC offered professional development workshops, vocation ministry resources, opportunities for networking and a national voice for religious vocations.

The 1991 NRVC Board.

Current NRVC executive director Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC during his early days in NRVC.

HORIZON’s roots go back even further than 1988 when NRVC was formally established. Father Jim Vedro, OCS (then the leader of the NCRVDM) began publishing Called to Growth/Ministry in 1975. NRVC later renamed the publication HORIZON. “I’d type it up; we’d run it off and staple it together,” said Sister Mary Ann. “I’m sure he never knew it was going to last; he was just responding to a need. He’d get writers to contribute, and the articles were on the same types of topics as today— the concerns of vocation ministers.”

Saul Garcia, former HORIZON circulation coordinator, shows off the Vocation Director’s Manual, (now on CD).

Staffing an NRVC table at an event.

Listening during a workshop.

Thank you to those who provided photos and information: Sister Kathleen Bryant, RSC and Sister Mary Ann Hamer, OSF, former administrative assistant for NRVC.


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