A number of us were privileged to participate in the NAVFD Conference in Toronto in March



National Association of Vocation Formation Directors (NAVFD) Conference, Toronto, March 2010.

The keynote speaker, Father Ron Rolheiser, omi, and the excellent workshop leaders brought to life the theme Let Your Life Speak – Vocation Alive. A few noteworthy thoughts from the conference are: “The first task of a leader today is to radiate life!” Loch Sofield. “They were amazed because Jesus spoke with great authority, unlike the Scribes and Pharisees.” We only have the power/authority to call if we have given ourselves completely to God, having given our lives away. Authority comes from prayer, sacrifice and a preference for the poor. It is to be all about God and not about ourselves. Father Rolheiser warned us against losing heart as individuals and as communities.

Sister Barbara Thiffault stands beside the display board at the youth conferenece at Holy Cross.

While speaking of developing a Vocation Culture, we were reminded of a quote from Jim Wallis, “Don’t be a liberal or a conservative, be a woman or man of compassion and faith and go where that takes you” and of the line from scripture, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms.” During Chapters and study days we must work towards communities of compassion, truth, love, forgiveness. Religious life needs to go beyond the liberal-conservative tension and build communities as “houses of many rooms.”

left to right: Sisters Sheila Boase, RHSJ, Lucy Kearney, SP, Barbara Thiffault, SP and Barbara Prior, CND.

As noted, the workshops were excellent but one is most noteworthy – Vocation Culture: The Whole Kit and Caboodle. The kit prepared by Sister Maureen Baldwin, cnd and Sister Mary Rowell, csj will be invaluable in broadening the concept and understanding of Vocation Culture. This is a tool that can be used at the parish, school and community levels.

The Inter-Congregational Committee continues to work together in planning activities. A highlight for us was the invitation to participate in the Diocesan Youth Conference, Celebrating Catholic Youth 2010, on May 8 at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Kingston.

We were impressed by the quality of leadership of the young people. It was a positive experience to witness the youths’ participation in all of the activities and their reverence throughout the Liturgy.

Youth as well as adults participated in our workshop, ‘All You Wanted to Know About Nuns.’ The insightful questioning and comments enabled the participants to leave more aware of the way we, religious sisters, live out our baptismal call to-day. The school personnel present were looking for information to present to students.

The displays prepared by each of the Congregations gave an overview of the mission and outreach of our communities.