You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it. (“Sand Dabs, Five” by Mary Oliver)
It is probably neither wise nor possible to measure what is most important in life. Still, what follows recounts a bit of what took place in the Affiliate World over 2015. I recognize that most Affiliate activity (quietly and sometimes with a bang) takes place on the local level in Chapters. Hopefully this will provide a glimpse of some key happenings.
· Regional Conferences – two very successful conferences took place in August:
o Seattle, WA - Love in Action – Mission on the Margins
o Green Lake, WI - Renewing the Joy of Mission—Shifting Into the Future
· Affiliate Survey – over 80 Affiliates completed the survey. It will be of great help in bettering present efforts and in setting future directions. Board member Richard Lessard led this effort.
· Deaths – Marie Parmly (Northeast, FL) and Ronni Gilligan (Long Island, NY) passed on to new life. Many Maryknoll Brothers, priests, Sisters and perhaps other Affiliates of whom we are not aware also passed on in 2015.
o Ann Carr – Ann made very significant contributions in her six years of committed service and completed her term in the fall
o Dave Schaffner – who has served on the board for several years overseeing finance, has stepped in as Board Chair.
o Fr. Russ Feldmeier of the Society and Sisters Norie Mojado and Teruko Ito of the Congregation joined the Affiliate Board as they assumed leadership roles in their respective communities. Margo Cambier of the MKLM remains on the Board.
o Bill Murphy (Greater Boston Chapter) joined the Board in the spring
o Gerry Mullaney (Northeast, OH) & Ginny McEvoy (Long Island, NY) were invited to the Board in the fall and will attend their first meeting in April 2016.
o Jerrie Drinkwine, Regional Coordinator (RC) for the Northwest Region stepped down in the fall. Thank you Jerrie for many years for your creative insights and dedicated service.
o Janet Quillan and Ralph Maughan – will be the new RCs for the Northwest. Both have already given years of mission service.
· JML (Joint Meeting of Leadership) – Affiliates were invited to participate on this leadership body along with the MKLM, Congregation and Society.
· Database Update - a database review of all 57 national/international Chapters revealed that there are a little over 700 active Affiliates.
· Just Faith Ministries – Beth Begley continues as our representative/liaison to this successful parish-based social justice ministry. Thanks Beth!
· Third Wave – this developing initiative started by Fr. Gerry Kelly MM to the (10’s of thousands) of students and parishioners who go on short-term immersion trips every year is, like Just Faith, an area where Affiliates could have significant involvement. Bob Short is on the Third Wave Board.
· Formation – thanks to John Moritz and his team of Agnes Walsh, Ann Carr and Bob Short, the initial formation program and process has been significantly renewed to meet the needs of future and present Chapters. See the program on the website at: http://maryknollaffiliates.org/our-story/1208-initial-formation.html
· New Chapters – two new Chapters in Bolivia – Misión Vida (Cochabamba) and Renacer Misionero (Santa Cruz) were recognized in 2015. Four additional Chapters could come on board in 2016: in the Philippines, Peru, Bolivia and Toledo, OH.
o Newsletters – “Not So Far Afield” (NSFA) and “No Tan Lejos del Horizonte” (NTLH) have been especially important in relaying the stories of who we are, what we do, how we prayer and what we aspire to. Thank you to Paula Schaffner and Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss of NSFA and Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios, Ceci Garcés, Ann Lucia Ramazzini and Lizbeth Gramajo of NTLH for their great work!
o Website - <maryknollaffiliates.org> is one of our primary ways of communication. Please consider registering to Login for access to all areas.
o Orbis Books – a new list of Orbis books is posted each month. See Orbis e-news in the Quick Links under the NEWS tab on the website: http://maryknollaffiliates.org/developing-global-consciousness/orbis-books.html
o Living Into a New Consciousness – the Maryknoll Sisters’ Contemplative Community regularly publishes reflective essays under the “Developing Global Consciousness” in the Quick Links side-bar under the HOME tab.
o Spotlight – this section on the website features a new Chapter every few months. To date, Albany, Houston and Los Angeles Chapters have been featured. Chicago Central will be ‘spotlighted’ next. If you’d like your Chapter to be featured sometime, you only need to submit a few photos and a bit of text to Bob Short.
· U-Lab/Presencing Institute – several Affiliates (and other Maryknollers) have participated in this open access seminar from MIT in Cambridge, MA. It focuses on how to transform business, society and self. Spirituality is a significant component. Maryknoller Gene Toland MM has been with U-Lab for many years.
· Strategic Planning – at the October Board meeting, (1) Communication (2) Connection/Collaboration and (3) Growth & Sustainability were identified as key areas of focus. Further integration of international Chapters were also identified as key.
· Coming in 2016 – (1) a South Central Regional Conference in New Orleans (9/30 – 10/2) Walking Each Other Home—Mission as Accompaniment (2) MAC 2017 in Guatemala – probably in November of 2017. We are very excited about both… as well as much more.·
That’s some of the goings-on in Affiliate land. While we are getting older (about 65 y/o average in the US & 45 y/o average in the international Chapters) our commitment to “the mission goals of Maryknoll” and our passion for mission to the poor and marginalized throughout the world is an urgent need in our world today. That passion cannot be understated.
I’ll end with another quote from Mary Oliver (“The Summer Day”) that is familiar to many of us. It can be understood individually or collectively as an Affiliate movement:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with
Your one wild and precious Life?