CONGREGATION OF OUR LADY OF CHARITY OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD PROVINCE OF MID-NORTH AMERICA

Virtual ASSEMBLY, October 19-22, 2020

FOCUS STATEMENT

Preamble

Zeal for the Good Shepherd mission of Mercy, Justice and Reconciliation is the campfire around which partners-in-mission* circle.

This fire unites, warms and inspires us throughout North America. Tending this fire and inviting others to join us is our ongoing mission. We do so for the sake of those denied rights and dignity, and the resources and respect due to all. Our special focus is on women and children, providing for their human and spiritual healing and integral development.

We are culturally diverse and united globally with the whole of creation. Concern for our common home is essential to our call to care for our earth and one another. COVID-19 has deepened our awareness of disparities in healthcare, housing, food security, employment, and discrimination against people of color.

Province Focus Statement

At such a time as this (Esther 3:14), we are called to a radical transformation of heart, mind and lifestyle. We, partners-in-mission of the Province of Mid-North America, put forward these priorities:

Ministry of Justice, Mercy and Reconciliation

  1. We will discern local and global justice issues, responding to the signs of the times, such as climate change and its effects, violence against women, children and people of color, and discrimination against ethnic and gender diversity.
  2. We will confront the issue of racism, within ourselves and all social structures, and seek reconciliation and change at all levels. Our core values will help guide us as we live out this call to be reconcilers.
  3. We will provide for ongoing evaluation of these issues and of the effectiveness of our approaches in addressing them.    

Vocation/Initial Formation/Continuing Formation

At the core of our mutual calling to bring the Love of the Shepherd’s Heart to all who we serve and to one another, is our commitment to ongoing transformation.

  1. We will discern and support the charism of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in those who carry it in their hearts, welcoming all races, religions and cultures.
  2. We will make continuing formation for mission a priority for partners-in-mission.
  3. We will recognize that the Spirit is calling some to a vowed life commitment. We call forth and support the work of the Vocation Team in responding to those discerning their call to religious life.

Collaboration

  1. We will work to strengthen or recreate a global Congregational culture of welcome and respect that honors the diverse cultures in every location.
  2. Zeal for the mission impels us to care for and advocate with those on the margins. We commit to collaborate more fully with the National Advocacy Center and the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office.
  3. Drawing on the inspiration of the Ministry Organization Report, we will collaborate actively to create a Good Shepherd oversight structure for ministries and administration.
  4. We will collaborate with congregational and interprovince efforts to change structures to ensure relevance to today’s reality and increase focus for mission.
  5. Drawing on the recommendations of Plante Moran, we will collaborate with Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd provinces in North America to create a vision for our future together.
  6. We will partner with other like-minded congregations and non-profits to share resources, for new ministry opportunities and to amplify our voice for social justice. We make these connections always bearing in mind the charism we have been gifted to carry forward.

Strengthening Inclusive and Spiritual Leadership

  1. We will work as teams, encouraging inclusion of diverse voices on all levels.
  2. We will provide discernment resources and leadership development opportunities.
  3. We will provide consistent opportunities for organic and productive exchange among all partners-in-mission to build on the narrative of abundance rather than scarcity. In the spirit of abundance, we expand our understanding of partners-in-mission to include those with Shepherd hearts who are benefactors or who work alongside sisters in independent ministries (affiliated or sponsored by other than the province).

* Throughout this Focus Statement, we use the term “partners-in-mission” to include sisters and lay.