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RPF Committee Helps Community Move Forward

Posted on November 1, 2016, by Barbara Nicholas SL

Responsible Planning for the Future (RPF) is the name of a new committee suggested in 2015 by the Community Forum and affirmed by the Forum in 2016. One of the tasks of the RPF Committee is to design processes through which committees might work cooperatively as we all move forward embracing the future.

Community members who attended Assembly 2016 received a presentation by the members of this committee and were invited to discuss planning concepts that honor the distinctiveness of the congregation and decisions that need to be made by its members and the preservation of the history and richness of the entire Loretto Community.

The concept of the future is a daunting one for us who have schooled ourselves to live in the present moment. Think of the influence of Thich Nhat Hanh’s meditation mantra: “Present moment, wonderful moment.”

Next, the word “planning,” with a capital “P,” presents challenges. While planning implies a future focus, we in Loretto are influenced by this maxim of Father Charles Nerinckx: Deus providebit! Likewise, in I Am the Way (IATW) we read Father Nerinckx’s advice: “Only trust your vocation, expecting all from God’s goodness.”

Fortunately, the word “respon- sible” is one that feels more comfortable: We believe ourselves to act very responsibly, always! We are, in fact, called to “responsible change.” IATW #8.

RPF committee members have recognized that many in Loretto are involved in responsible planning. Think of all the standing committees, networks, teams, boards and others in which Loretto Community members participate.

The work is serious, voluntary and time-consuming. Members meet regularly in person and more often virtually, each in her/ his own world of responsibility, some put in place by the action of an Assembly, some as matters of Community operation and administration.

We have recognized our need for consultation with someone experienced in community planning activities and have been fortunate that Marisa Guerin of Guerin Management Consulting Inc., known and referred by many in LCWR, has added us to her client list. In October the RPF Committee had a second all-day session with Guerin.

At a recent RPF meeting, we decided to see if there was interest in some of these standing committees to come together in conversation. We chose to ask three to notice where responsible planning for the future was implied or addressed in the ongoing work of the committee and to suggest two representatives from each to meet with us.

As a result of the willingness of these committees, we have met twice via Zoom.

For the first virtual gathering, we asked the committees to prepare by discussing among themselves how they addressed future planning specifically within their scope of committee activity. As each spoke, we noted potential places of overlap.

Our second meeting followed the Assembly. We reflected on the perceived readiness of the Community to move forward, to suggest whatever implications that might have for the work of each committee and to note ongoing involvement with the whole Community. Already, plans for work in fall Community Groups are in place.

The RPF is excited by the willingness and enthusiasm of all these individuals to help reveal some of what is on the horizon of Loretto life. Presently, we are thinking of others who might contribute to the conversation, to become with us a circle of integration.

Deus providebit, always!


Barbara Nicholas SL

Barbara has been a Sister of Loretto since 1961. For 37 years, her professional career was as a registered nurse in Oncology at Baptist Health Louisville where she served as "bedside nurse," cancer program coordinator and community educator in cancer prevention and early detection. Currently, she is President of the Sisters of Loretto and Loretto Community. Barbara resides in Louisville.
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