Women Moving Forward in Hope

Women Moving Forward in Hope

Final Report

Our very well-received Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope gatherings have concluded. Click to download or view the Final Report.

Report Highlights

Regional Gatherings of Women Religious

A total of 115 congregational teams took part in gatherings between Nov. 2012 and May 2013 representing more than one fourth of apostolic women’s congregations in the United States. These workshops were held in Chicago, IL, Burlingame, CA and Latham, NY.


Five Guidelines for Dialogue

The participants were asked to follow five guidelines for dialogue:

  • Be fully present, open to grow in understanding and new insights.
  • Listen attentively and ask clarifying questions
  • Suspend certainty and judgment
  • Trust in the sincerity and commitment of each other
  • Appreciate the diversity among us.

Action Plans

Congregational teams developed concrete actions plans that largely fell into four categories:

  • To share the information from this gathering with each of their congregations and educate their membership about the generational and ethnic diversity of young people in the Church today;
  • To prepare and involve more sisters in vocation efforts, with the goal of a greater outreach to the Millennial generation;
  • To actively reach out to young adults where they are;
  • To invite young adults to places where the sisters live and minister.

Congregational teams also agreed to increase their outreach to young adults and further educate their membership on what people are seeking in religious life today.





Original invitation sent to the vocation director and major superior of all canonically recognized U.S. religious institutes of women:

INVITATION LETTER to Women Religious: Moving Forward in Hope

National Religious Vocation Conference

JUNE 4, 2012

Dear Vocation Director:

I am pleased to invite you and your major superior to apply to attend Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope, a gathering for women religious funded by the GHR Foundation and sponsored by the National Religious Vocation Conference. Building on the momentum of the 2010 Moving Forward in Hope Project (MFIH), which proved to be a milestone symposium, the Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope gathering will be in fulfillment of the National Vocation Plan developed at the 2010 symposium.

The purpose of Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope, offered in three separate locations, is to explore the ethnic and generational demographics of Catholic women in the United States, and the opportunities, challenges, and implications they present for new membership to religious institutes.

As highlighted in the NRVC/CARA Study on Recent Vocations to Religious LIfe, successful vocation ministry calls for a corporate ownership for promoting and supporting new membership within religious congregations. The Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope gathering will provide a unique forum for vocation and leadership personnel to assume this ownership with a greater awareness of the profile and diversity of today's Catholic women.

Please read on to learn more about the terms and benefits of this extraordinary opportunity.



Sister Mary Johnson, SNDdeN, professor of sociology and religious studies at Emmanuel College and visiting professor at Trinity Washington University for the 2012-13 academic year. Sister Mary is co-authoring with Sister Patricia Wittberg, SC, and Dr. Mary Gautier, a book on the new generations of women religious.

Father Donald Senior, CP, president of Catholic Theological Union and member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Sisters Kieran Foley, FSE, and Gloria Marie Jones, OP.

Sisters Lorraine Reaume, OP and Anne Walsh, ASCJ, who will attend each of these gatherings and prepare a final document on the three gatherings.

Who is invited to this special program?

NRVC invites both the vocation director and the major superior or leadership team member of any canonically recognized religious institute to apply to this program. A total of 150 women will participate in this project. Each gathering will host 50 women from 25 individual congregations representing the diversity of apostolic religious life.

What will the program consist of?
In addition to significant input, time will be devoted to prayer, dialogue, reflection, and celebration of our vocations.

What are the criteria for acceptance?
Priority for acceptance will be given to NRVC member communities. If a congregation is accepted and agrees to participate in the program, both the vocation director and leadership team member must:

  • Make a full commitment to the schedule, process, conversation, and follow-up to the program in fulfillment of the grant requirements

  • Be open to dialogue across differences

  • Desire to invite new members into their institute

  • Commit to some action or purpose

Where will these programs take place?
These programs will take place within three regions of the country. Communities may prioritize on their application their first, second, and third choice of gathering.

  • November 26-28, 2012, Felician Sisters Motherhouse, Chicago, IL

  • January 7-9,2013, Mercy Center, Burlingame, CA

  • March 5-7,2013, Carondelet Hospitality Center, Latham, NY

    Additional Offering! May 28-30, 2013

Communities may prioritize on their application their first, second, and third choice of gathering.

How much does this program cost?
Communities are only responsible for their travel to and from the gathering location. The entire program, including meals and accommodations for all participants, is covered by the grant funding.

What if my congregation cannot afford our travel?
A limited amount of funding is available for those communities who find unbudgeted travel expenses a financial hardship. Please call the NRVC office at 773.363.5454 for further information.

How do I apply?
Simply click the following link and complete the online application:

Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope Online Application

No additional documents are necessary, nor will they be considered in the selection process. All applications must be received by Monday, March 15, 2013. Any application received beyond that date will not be considered.

When will I hear whether or not my congregation is selected?
A selection committee will review all applications. Applicants will be notified of their status by July 26. Communities not accepted will be placed in an established “waiting pool” of applicants. If both selected applicants from one congregation are unable to attend, they should notify NRVC as soon as possible. NRVC reserves the
right to select other participants from the waiting pool of applicants to take their place.

What will be the outcome of these gatherings?
In addition to providing a forum for dialogue among sisters and setting a direction for future vocation efforts, NRVC will publish a final document for wide distribution gleaning the shared wisdom of the three gatherings.


I would like to express my deep gratitude Mrs. Maryellen Glackin, project coordinator, for her careful preparation of these gatherings and to the planning committee for their dedication and commitment to this project: Sisters Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Joyce Candidi, OSSH, Mary Johnson, SNDdeN, Donna Markham, OP, Maureen Martin, ASCJ, and Miriam Ukeritis. CSJ.

If you have any further questions, please contact Mrs. Maryellen Glackin.

With prayerful best wishes and blessings, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC
Executive Director

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