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International Sisters in the United States Study: Reflection Guide

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September 08, 2017

International-Sisters-Study-Reflection-Guide-253x300REFLECTION - Trinity Washington University/CARA Study: International Sisters in the United States Reflection Guide

Download the guide in English and Spanish

In 2017 the GHR Foundation hosted representatives of key organizations of women religious in Washington and in Rome for a report on the groundbreaking “Trinity Washington University/CARA Study: International Sisters in the United States.” Rather than simply reporting data to the participants, the research team and facilitators expertly led a dialogue with and among the participants.

The prayerful process led to rich conversations about the challenges and opportunities presented by the data. Hoping to widen these circles of reflection and dialogue, GHR invited the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) to collaboratively develop a simple reflection guide to accompany the report and provide questions to focus and deepen conversations on the implications of the study’s initial findings. Representatives of the following organizations enthusiastically and generously offered their time and wisdom: The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC), the Religious Formation Conference (RFC), la Asociación de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en América (AHLMA), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the National Conference of Vicars for Religious (NCVR), and the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). We are deeply grateful for their guidance. The guide is intended to be a tool for prayerful reflection and dialogue. Therefore, it will be important for the organizers and facilitators to supplement the guide with copies of the study and relevant scriptural, pastoral, or congregational documents. Most importantly, the sessions will require the time and space necessary for respectful group process. Along with effectively addressing the challenge of language differences, intercultural communication requires a commitment by all to mutual respect. Eric Law’s “Mutual Invitation Process” is highly recommended. It is included, along with other helpful resources, in the USCCB’s curriculum, Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers.

The following results from several lively focus sessions that identified themes and critical areas for further reflection and dialogue, especially for leadership teams, vocation directors, and those entrusted with initial and ongoing formation. “International Sisters in the United States” is a unique resource to deepen awareness about the growing cultural diversity in religious life today and engage in critical conversations about the opportunities and challenges it brings to religious communities, especially in light of present and future membership. This accompanying guide offers brief reflections and questions that will hopefully lead to a deepening of intercultural understanding by sparking conversations about the study’s data and its implications for community life, vocations, initial and ongoing formation, and the ministries of women religious in today’s diverse settings. While the guide is primarily geared to congregations, the questions may hopefully be adapted and utilized in diocesan and educational contexts, especially among vicars of religious who are on the frontlines of a wider integration of international sisters into diocesan ministries and inter-community living.

The guide is intended to be a tool for prayerful reflection and dialogue. Therefore, it will be important for the organizers and facilitators to supplement the guide with copies of the study and relevant scriptural, pastoral, or congregational documents. Most importantly, the sessions will require the time and space necessary for respectful group process. Along with effectively addressing the challenge of language differences, intercultural communication requires a commitment by all to mutual respect. Eric Law’s “Mutual Invitation Process” is highly recommended. It is included, along with other helpful resources, in the USCCB’s curriculum, Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers.

Source: internationalunionsuperiorsgeneral.org

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