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Do we have the courage to write a new chapter? Yes we do!

"Dominican Spirituality is a living reality which WE must realize NOW! If we do not do this, we just repeat a story others have told long ago, as though we have no chapter to write in this book begun before us. Do we have the courage and the will to write such a new living Chapter together?" - Edward Schillebeeckx, OP
[caption id="attachment_1404" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA[/caption] In the past few months, I have been involved in studying the findings of the Georgetown University Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) report titled "A Profile of the Associate-Religious Relationship in the United States and Canada." This comprehensive study with over 10,000 responses from Sisters and Associates in 378 religious institutes with Associates describes the rewards, challenges and responsibilities of the Associate-religious relationship. As I prepared for a meeting last weekend of Dominican Associate Directors to discuss the findings, I discovered the charge by Dominican Ed Schillebeeckx, and I sat up straight! The challenge to Associates and Sisters is to write a new chapter - that's it - that’s exactly what we are doing. At the Directors meeting with representatives from Adrian, Blauvelt, Grand Rapids, Hope, Peace, Racine, Sinsinawa, Sparkill, Springfield and Tacoma, we determined that a central piece of our action plan for the coming year is to write a new chapter using dialog and discussion on the CARA findings. It is an exciting endeavor because here are the basic findings in a nutshell. The research suggests that:
  1. The Associate leadership, Associates and vowed religious continue to find strong value in the relationship for their institutes and for individual Associates and religious.
  2. Associates and vowed religious grow deeply because of this relationship.
  3. The keys to strong Associate communities are to continue a strong focus on the institute's mission and spirituality, be intentional in inviting younger members to the relationship, empower Associate leadership, and plan for a sustainable future of the associate communities.
There is a newly formed DSOP/NACAR leadership team of Associates Ceil Amendolia, Conni Dubick, Peggy Frank, Martha Maloney, Mary T O'Connor and Vicki Perfect, who will study the documents and offer recommendations to our Associates and Sisters for further discussion.

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