Calls to Action: Partners-in-Mission

Calls to Action: Partners-in-Mission

Calls to Action: Partners-in-Mission

Calls to Action: Partners-in-Mission

Calls to Action: Partners-in-Mission

Calls to Action: Partners-in-Mission


By Liam Michael Quinn, Communications Manager

Partners-in-mission have always been a part of our story. Since our earliest foundations, women and men like Madame Lamy, Count Augustin de Neuville, and Countess Genevieve d’Andigne have spurred and supported the growth of the Congregation.

These foundational stories are a testament to the evolving engagement, relationships, and leadership in co-responsibility for the mission by sisters and partners-in-mission, which have been integral to the fulfillment of the mission around the world.

As part of the Congregation’s commitment to the full engagement of partners-in-mission, the theme was included as one of six Calls to Action made at the last Congregational Chapter. This month, on the third anniversary of the Chapter, the Congregational Leadership Team hosted an online meeting ‘A time to Unfold Anew’ (read about the event here) with over 1100 sisters and partners-in-mission around the world attending to work towards reimagining an approach that integrates all six of these Calls to Action.

As the first of six articles on these, this month we will listen to the echoes of what is happening in some of the Units around the Congregation as we journey forward to strengthen our relationships based on the Universal Culture of Justice for co-responsibility for mission.

The path to full engagement in the Provinces of Mid-North America and New York-Toronto has been evolving and blossoming over the past 50 years. Today, there are potentially 2,500 partners-in-mission spread out over more than 20 locations with most working in programs that are managed or were once run by the Congregation.

Opportunities to connect, include an online monthly mission reflection for all mission partners as well as regular training sessions. “We have learned,” says Lizzie Cody, Director of the Office of Mission Effectiveness, “that partnership comes from trusting relationships, which can only come from knowing one another through consistent opportunities to connect.”

Hosted by their Mission and Values Team, the Circle of Province Leaders of North America (CPNA) sponsors an annual four-day event in which 80 partner representatives from across the new Region come together for workshops and sessions on the mission, vision, values, and founding stories of the Congregation. The CPNA also sponsors a 9-day pilgrimage to the Motherhouse in Angers every few years.

In Europe, GSIF Partnership Development Manager, Andrea Curreri has been seeking to develop new and creative ways to nurture a sense of belonging and identity among partners-in-mission who have sometimes expressed a feeling of disconnectedness and isolation. One solution to this is his proposal to develop an online platform where partners-in-mission can connect in communities of practice. He also hopes for it to be a place where heritage and legacy can be shared to ensure the rich history of the past remains a valuable part of the future.

Both Lizzie Cody and Andrea Curreri, as members of the International Formation Team, have been working to create virtual ‘Circles of Belonging’ where mission partners can come together to connect and, in particular, develop their contemplative practice.

In the Asia-Pacific Region, a Partnership Team was established in 2008 to increase understanding of partnership and co-responsibility for mission and to highlight pathways to enable all mission partners to take responsibility – together – for the development, governance, and implementation of Congregational ministries.

Dr. Jason Furtado (read his personal testimony here) is a member of this team and the convenor of the Mission Partnership Commission for the Province of South West India. Recently, this commission hosted a transformative workshop in Bangalore on “Attitudes, Identity and Meaning”. As part of the province’s ‘formation for mission’ series, the workshop aimed to delve into profound reflections on personal and communal perspectives in the context of mission partnership.

The South West India Province Commission for Mission Partnership also organizes bi-annual workshops during the birth anniversary months of Count D’Neuville and Madame D’Andigne, focusing on self-awareness and the development of mission partnership values.

An example of where the full engagement of partners-in-mission has come to bloom is in the Province of Germany where the Provincial Council maintains general oversight but where their five ministries are supported and coordinated by Director of Operations Martin Gundert and a Provincial Administration Team.

Four of these ministries are not-for-profit organizations with all aspects of daily operations including HR, financing, management, etc under the leadership and responsibility of partners-in-mission, with one ministry still managed by a sister.

In total, there are 440 partners-in-mission employed in the province, which has 55 sisters who require support but who also continue to offer support through their individual connections and initiatives with sisters in other countries.

For Director of Operations, Martin Gundert, the biggest challenge is to “keep the spirit and value of St Mary Euphrasia embedded in our daily work and develop structures that keep existing ministries in line with our statutes while maintaining control of all activities including external lay partners for advice and support”

One crucial aspect of the full integration of partners-in-mission is that it is not about a sense of ‘diminishment’, but rather recognizing the God-given gifts in all people and acknowledging the charism present in others. It is embracing that the mission is not only of the sisters in religious life but that it is a shared commitment for all who choose to accept co-responsibility and seek to work collaboratively to forward the mission.

Here we have shared with you just some of the wonderful actions taken across the Congregation to respond to this Call to Action on partners-in-mission. Our reponse is an ever-evolving relationship that demands a broader understanding of communion, mutual respect, trust, commitment, and freedom to live and grow full and free in the vision and spirit of Saint John Eudes and Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier.

Have you thought about getting further involved in our mission? Why not become a partner-in-mission?


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