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SOCF Promotes Intergenerational Collaboration With Generative Spirit Grants

Intergenerational collaboration sits at the cornerstone of the second phase of the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative (CMI). Phase II, aptly termed Generative Spirit, extends a proven set of strategies to build collaborative capacity among Catholic Sisters, lay people and particularly young adults through convenings, grant making, communications and data research and evaluation.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland (the Foundation) has long since recognized a need to sustain and support the legacy and ministries of Catholic Sisters. Since 2002 when the Foundation launched CMI Phase I, it was discovered that through collaborative efforts these legacies and ministries not only survive, but also thrive. Thus Generative Spirit focuses on building relationships and inspiring the next generation.

The Foundation awarded grant funding to three organizations, Catholic Community Connection (CCC), the Conference of Religious Leadership (CORL) and the Coalition With Young Adults (C-YA). All three ministries that support this mission and that, as a collective body, can create a widespread impact across generations.

CCC, whose mission is to foster collaboration among Catholic ministries in the Diocese of Cleveland, is developing a Summer Fellows Program offering students from the Catholic colleges in Northeast Ohio internships at Catholic ministries. The fellowship also offers supplemental programming providing students with additional workshops to explore professional and leadership development, spiritual formation, vocational discernment and community activism. Each student will also be paired with a Catholic sister companion. The overarching goal is to encourage student awareness of the depth and breadth of Catholic ministries and to contribute to their sustainability as co-ministers.

“Our partner organizations are energized and eager to take on a Fellow because they see the value of what sisters who have founded and still work at their organizations have done and they want to see that spirit and mission carried into the future,” commented Marian Rubin, president of CCC.

“The students will be exposed to mission driven, value propositioned organizations, that within a business or health services realm, represent what we value as a Church. Our organizations emphasize social justice, dignity of the person and leadership and I think it’s important that our students can relate to that,” she added.

CORL, representing over 15 women religious congregations, brings the perspective of congregational leadership to the inter-generational focus. CORL is working collaboratively with CCC to assist in the spiritual formation of the Fellows and to match each Fellow with a sister companion.

“Our hope is that by bringing together the Catholic sister and the student, there’s an opportunity to share each other’s stories and understand common ground. It’s about discovering the deeper journey that motivates us to engage in ministry, and to reveal what it is that fuels the fire,” added Sr. Kate Hine SND, project coordinator for CORL.

CORL is also partnering with the C-YA to host a National Catholic Sisters Week event with a focus on dialogue about race. The event will take place in March and will explore historical implications of racism in our country, church, and communities and examine how sisters and young adults can be a catalyst in understanding racism and moving towards positive change.

In collaboration with CORL, C-YA is working to provide various events and opportunities for exposure and engagement between young adults, Catholic sisters and Catholic ministries. The Coalition With Young Adults is a network of young adults, sisters and lay people who work to further young adult ministry in Northeast Ohio.

“It’s been phenomenal to have the Foundation as a strategic grant making body behind this work. Not only would funding this project be impossible with their support, but they are also committed to providing resources beyond that,” commented Christina Hannon, Young Adult Engagement Officer for C-YA.

“With this funding we are able to now operate as a clearing house for all young adult events happening in the Diocese, we’re building resources for young adult ministry leaders, young adult retreats, and directories of speakers and spiritual directors,” said Christina.

“With Generative Spirit, we all have an emphasis on collaboration and filling in the gaps. It’s been incredible to see the connections that have been made in just the first year, it’s really been a spirit-driven journey,” she added.

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