Gathering is a time to connect

“Oh! How consoling it is to find ourselves reunited today! How happy I am to have you, my dear daughters and sons, around me to witness the affectionate charity, the peace, the spirit of union reigning among you. None of you are strangers to each other – all have but one heart and one mind. You reanimate my courage.”

With these words from St. Mary Euphrasia, the 2019 North America Good Shepherd Gathering opened. Province leaders of North America sponsored the Gathering from October 15-18 at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center in Detroit, Michigan. 

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The theme this year’s Gathering was “Shared Roots.”

The Gathering of 68 participants provided a wonderful opportunity for Good Shepherd Mission Partners from the provinces of Central South, Mid-North America, and New York/Toronto to come together for a time of support and inspiration around our mission, spirituality, vision and values. “Shared Roots” served as this year’s theme.

Gathering focuses on connections

The sessions focused on connections — to our Good Shepherd history and founders, our personal connections to one another, the connections of the ministries/programs to one another, the connection to the international community of Good Shepherd, and the connections that need to be sustained in the future.

The North America Mission and Values Team (NAMVT) planned and hosted the Gathering. NAMVT consists of representatives from Mid North America and New York/Toronto. The NAMVT is Lizzie Cody from Edwardsville, Illinois; Sr. Tram Nguyen from St. Louis, Missouri; Nadia Dias from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Celia Ceballos from New York City; and Nancy Fritsche-Eagan from New York City.

Perhaps the most important aspect of an immersive event like the Gathering is the message that participants take home to their teams and their lives. Some of the messages that participants said they took home with them are:

  • Everyone’s role in our agency helps keep the Good Shepherd mission alive!
  • I’d definitely like to bring in the sustainability goals focused on by the Sisters to determine how we can run our practice in accordance with those goals.
  • Our mission and core values are truly what drives us, and we have the power and duty to keep them going.
  • I want to make sure that everyone in our agency knows they have a bond with other agencies. We are not alone.

Meaningful conversations

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Forging bonds is a key aspect of the Gathering.

For me personally, it is an honor to be a part of such an incredible group of Shepherds. I am astounded by the ability of participants to enter into meaningful conversations with one another for inspiration, education, problem solving, and connection. 

The next Gathering will be May 18-21 at St. Paul of the Cross in Detroit. The theme “Shared Roots” was such a success that we have decided to reprise it this year.

Lizzie Cody

Lizzie Cody

Lizzie Cody is the Coordinator of the Mission Effectiveness office for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America.