The RFC is pleased to share our 2017 Annual Report. We had many graced encounters in 2017 and are grateful for all the ways God blessed us with gifts of talent, treasure, and time!
If we were to plot out all the nouns that Pope Francis has used over the five years of his papacy, we could hypothesize with a reasonable degree of certitude that “encounter” would be in the top ten. Not only does he talk the talk; he also walks the walk.
Francis invites us “…to work for the culture of encounter, in a simple way, as Jesus did: not just seeing, but looking; not just hearing, but listening; not just passing people by, but stopping with them; not just saying ‘what a shame, poor people!’, but allowing yourself to be moved with compassion; and then to draw near, to touch and to say: ‘Do not weep’ and to give at least a drop of life.” (“For a Culture of Encounter: Morning Meditation in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae,” September 13, 2016.)
Encounter, too, has been both a frequently-used word and experience for the Religious Formation Conference over the past year. Not only was it the theme of our biennial Congress, it also describes the welcome that we have experienced in our new home at Catholic Theological Union.
For four grace-filled days in mid-November members and friends of the Conference gathered for Congress in Milwaukee for challenging input, celebratory prayer, and blessed encounters. Formators and leaders from across the country and around the world were able to share hopes and dreams for religious life and also exchange good ideas and best practices. For the RFC national office, Congress was not only the culmination of months of focused work, it also helped to point the way for the many days that have followed.
2017 also marked the first full year for the National Office in Chicago. While the early days were those of welcomes and introductions, the later ones evolved into full integration and deeper collaboration. We now have a seat at the table with the many formators based at CTU and we have found much resonance with our neighboring organizations that also serve religious life. Not only has this led to more committee work, but to creative joint endeavors as well.
In our technologically connected world, encounters extend beyond the geographically proximate to form neighbors around the globe. We often see this reflected in the registrations for RFC webinars and we witnessed it as well in the attendees at Congress. We are called to look as well as see, to listen as well as hear. Our encounters this past year have been grace-filled: mutually giving and receiving the gifts of the other. They have revealed to us the face of divine love in new ways. We are forever grateful.
Ellen Dauwer, SC
For a PDF download of the Annual Report, click attachment below.
For a flipbook view of the Annual Report, click here.