More than 70 sisters gathered in Myrtle Beach in December of 2013 to participate in the 10th anniversary celebration of the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative (CMI). The celebration was part of the ninth annual statewide conference co-sponsored by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.
Focused on the theme, “Stronger Together with Faith and Gratitude,” the celebration and conference highlighted the impact of the CMI initiatives over the past 10 years. The CMI grant program supports congregations of women religious working together to serve the poor and underserved of South Carolina and northeast Ohio.
The sisters heard perspectives from three key individuals who had been a part of the two initiatives since their inception.
Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, opened the panel saying, “It is very easy for me to reflect on the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative with pride and gratitude for all who have been a part of this wonderful ministry.”
Kathy Csank, a CMI consultant who led the initial research with the sisters 10 years ago shared, “This was one of the most incredible experiences of my lifetime to do this research and to listen to sisters across the state.
“Each of the Sisters who has been a part of this initiative is so gracious,” said Csank, whose work later became the foundation for the formation of CMI. “They inspire us and give us faith.”
The Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone, bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, also joined the sisters for the weekend. The bishop shared his gratitude for the work of women religious throughout the state, and also spoke to some of the pressing issues of the time, including Catholic education, immigration reform and the need for increased multicultural understanding when serving diverse populations. Bishop Guglielmone also led the sisters in Mass.
Additionally, the celebration included the unveiling of a book of sister stories, “Stronger Together: Looking Back with Gratitude and Forward with Faith.” The book shared the thoughts and reflections of sisters who have served in ministry in South Carolina throughout the 10 years.
Bishop Guglielmone presented the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina with a plaque of celebration and recognition stating, “I do hereby express my sincere gratitude to the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and to all the women religious who have participated in the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative over these past 10 years and pledge my support and prayers for its continued success.”
During a time of closing reflection, Sister Nancy Hendershot, CSA, facilitated faith conversations among the sisters. “Faith is the lens that nudges, urges and compels us to the journey,” she said. “As women of faith, we are called to believe in our own ‘enoughness’ as we live faithfully in response to God’s call. We light each other’s lives when we come together.”