Strengthening our Collective Mission
One of the great privileges of working in adult faith formation is participating in the faith journeys of others. The questions asked, the reflections offered, and the connections made during formation sessions are thoughtful and personal. The insights shared nourish the reflections of all present, including the facilitator. Working with board members and staff from various backgrounds – different parts of the country; varied connections to the Loreto network; professional experience in education, law, finance and private enterprise; lay women and men and Sisters; people of deep, personal faith and people willing to learn and be challenged – to nurture their embrace of the Loreto tradition is an enriching endeavour. A faith journey is informed by our experiences, and all these experiences bring great richness to the service we offer the Loreto network.
Formation in a faith tradition involves much more than reading books and various articles – it isn’t about becoming an `expert’ on a story for others: it requires seeking and embracing new learning experiences and people while opening one’s heart to listen to the Spirit. Formation in the Loreto tradition calls us to connect with, question and embrace the lessons of the Loreto story and the experiences of others – past and present. All this with an eye for how we can allow the determination, faith and vision of Mary Ward to inspire a contemporary approach to our work and the needs of our times.
The importance of forming leaders and staff in the faith tradition underpinning a community cannot be underestimated: “Formation strengthens our collective mission and is critical to supporting stewardship of our mission into the future.” (Loreto Formation Framework, p.3) It is what keeps us faithful to the vision and mission that we have committed to enlivening and ensures responsible custodianship of the Province’s ministries and mission. Formation programs and experiences enable people to develop their openness to, understanding of and ability to share with others the vision and mission of the tradition they are serving. This in turn enables board members, leaders and staff to authentically offer themselves to the service of the Loreto ministry they are involved with. Formation “invites people to use their gifts to further God’s mission for a particular time, place, and purpose. Recognising that everyone is on a faith journey, formation engages people in discerning their place in the call to bring Gospel values to the service of others.” (Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, 2017) The acceptance of the invitation to open one’s mind and heart to formation experiences in collaboration with our colleagues “is an integral part of our shared leadership” (Sr Wendy Hildebrand ibvm, 2020), and deepens our capacity to contribute to the Loreto mission and the creation of societies characterised by peace and justice.
It has been a privilege to begin working with boards, staff and school leaders across the Loreto network. I look forward to working with many more communities as we continue to strive to transform the Church and the world, particularly by empowering women to seek truth and do justice. For support with developing the Loreto Formation Framework or the delivery of various other formation experiences, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Carolyn Young, Director of Identity & Mission, Loreto Ministries