Religious Formation Conference

The Religious Formation Conference (RFC) is a national Roman Catholic organization serving religious institutes of women and men with programs and services for those in the ministry of initial and lifelong formation, and general congregational membership.

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Online webinars

If your congregation is a member of RFC, please use the RFC congregational login to access the archived webinars free of charge and to secure the member rate for the video presentations.

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RFC’s content for purchase is provided in the form of video stream off our website (no CD, DVD, etc. is made available). This allows users to access the material immediately. After successful payment, the video is made available to whichever user is currently logged in (or an account is created with the email address they entered if they are not logged in). Users must be logged in with this same user to view the video. All videos that are purchased and now available will display "watch now" in the list (instead of "add to cart").

Friar Gilberto Presenter: Friar Gilberto Cavazos-Gonzalez, OFM

Friar Gilberto is a Latino/a Theologian, Franciscan scholar, Full Professor of Spirituality: Yo soy Gilberto, a native of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and Hijo de Gilberto Cavazos DeLeon and María Emma González de Cavazos. As a scholar of the Theological Study of Christian Spirituality, Friar Gilberto taught for over 15 years at the Catholic Theological Union (Chicago) before moving to Rome to work at the Pontifical University Antonianum. Most recently he was named "Segretario" of the Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis. As a Latino Spiritualogian (espiritualogo en español), he has a particular concern for the relationship of Christian spirituality, Catholic social teaching and pastoral ministry. His academic research interests include methods for the study of Christian Spirituality, Franciscanism, art and spirituality, Marian spirituality, Hispanic/Latin@ spirituality and Spiritual Formation. Friar Gilberto is currently writing a book on the Marian Spirituality of Sor Juana de la Cruz Vasquez Gutierrez, Spanish Franciscan sister who was a mystic, a pastor and a preacher to royalty, prelates, nuns and her parishioners in the early 1500s. 

Webinar: 05/03/2022

The interactive session focused on introducing “spirituality” as both Christian experience and formation. The presenter will then turn our attention to some of the more central issues to understanding U.S. Latin@ spiritualities:

  1. Jesús en la Cruz (Jesus on the Cross),
  2. María en la luz (Mary in the light), and
  3. el Cotidiano as locus theologicus (the Cotidiano as God's location)
Maco Karina Presenter: Maco Cassetta, CND & Karina Conrad, CDP

Maco Cassetta, CND, is a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame, a part-time licensed psychotherapist, and spiritual mentor based in New York. Responding to her community’s request, she took on the role of Novice Director for her community and lives in White Plains, New York. She offers psycho-educational support on a variety of topics, including but not limited to: religious life, formation, resiliency, grief, and transition. 

Karina Conrad (she/ella), CDP, is a member of the Sisters of Divine Providence.  She ministers as a Licensed Professional Counselor at The Circle, a resource center for Latina women in Chicago, IL. Karina offers individual and group therapy at The Circle. Karina is also a fellow at Womencare Counseling Center in Evanston, IL, focused on the relational treatment of trauma.

Webinar: 04/07/2022

We often long for healthy relationships in religious life. This webinar will focus on the care of the many relational dynamics experienced throughout religious life. We will highlight aspects of attachment theory that hinders and supports living healthily and authentically with one another. As formators, leaders, and ministers, there are tools and skills that give us the ability to engage in caring for ourselves and our relationships. We invite you to join us and deepen Jesus’ invitation to “love one another as I have loved you.

Rose Pacatte Presenter: Rose Pacatte, FSP, DMin

Rose Pacatte, FSP, DMin is a Pauline Sister and the founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles. She has co-written two books on media literacy education within faith formation and is an award winning film critic for several Catholic outlets. Rose contributed to the International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy (2019) and most recently served on a media literacy education syllabus committee for the University of Mumbai, India and is an associate producer for the documentary FRANCESCO. Rose is a facilitator for the University of Dayton's Virtual Learning Community of Faith formation (since 2001) and is a co-founder of the National Film Retreat in 2000. She has a MEd in Media Studies from the IOE, University of London and a D.Min, from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She is an award-winning film reviewer for the National Catholic Reporter & St. Anthony Messenger. Her last book was the biography Corita Kent: Gentle Revolutionary of the Heart (2018, Liturgical Press). 

Webinar: 03/08/2022

Cinema divina, or "sacred viewing," is a newer spiritual practice that has emerged from contemporary monasticism. Benedictine Matthias Neuman wrote in 1977 that "Beyond the written word, the giant visual image of the modern movie screen may provide the impetus for an authentic lectio.” Following the movements of lecio divina and using Leviticus 19:34 and clips from the film "The Visitor," Sr Rose will show us how Cinema Divina is to experience the ineffability of grace in the world. (Please feel free to see "The Visitor" ahead of time; available on Amazon Prime or Netflix DVD).

Joseph Brown, SJ Presenter: Fr. Joseph Brown, SJ

Fr. Brown is a native of East St. Louis, Illinois, is a Catholic priest with an extensive academic and pastoral career. When he graduated from St. Louis University with the BA in Philosophy, he attended Johns Hopkins University, where he gained a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. After his ordination to the priesthood (1972) he taught Theater and Poetry at Creighton University for several years (eventually becoming artist-in-residence in 1978). Later, after receiving both the Master's degree in Afro-American Studies and the Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University, Fr. Brown taught at the University of Virginia and at Xavier University in New Orleans. Presently he is a Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Webinar: 02/15/2022

The title comes from the 1989 address given by Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPPA, Ph. D, at the meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Sr. Thea’s speech started with her asking the question, “What does it mean to be Black and Catholic?” and her answer was her singing, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” The rhetorical strategy that Sr. Thea employed can be useful as we consider our strategies for renewing and adapting the work of vocation recruitment within congregations, communities and orders of vowed women and men in our church today.

One of the pressing questions that must be addressed is, “What is ‘vocation/formation’ in religious life?” as opposed to, “What is the effort to shape candidates in social assimilation?” In other words, how do we work to discover what is the authentic call already within the candidate and how do we refrain from efforts to shape the candidate into a manner of proceeding that makes the community comfortable? To shape, from the beginning; or to assist in developing and refining the gifts that the person brings to our community?

Presenter: Dr. Rafael Luciani, PhD

Rafael Luciani is a Lay Venezuelan theologian, appointed as Expert of the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops. Also, Expert of CELAM (Latin American Bishops Council) and Member of the Theological Advisory Team of the Presidency of CLAR (Latin American Confederation of Religious man and women). 
He holds degrees of Doctor in Theology and Licenciate in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome; Baccalaureatum in Philosophy and Baccalaureatum in Theology from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome; and Licenciate in Education (with mention in Philosophy) earned from the Jesuit`s Catholic University Andrés Bello in Caracas. He has been engaged in postdoctoral research activities at the Julius-Maximilians Universität in Würzburg, Germany. 

He has been Director of the School of Theology at the Catholic University Andrés Bello in Venezuela. He is Full Professor at that same University and Professor Extraordinarius at the Ecclesiastical Faculty of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, MA. For over 20 Years, he has taught courses on Christology, Mystery of God, Latin American Theology, Second Vatican Council and Ecclesiology.

Webinar: 01/11/2022

A collaboration of the Religious Formation Conference and the Asociación de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en América (AHLMA), this webinar with Dr. Rafael Luciani, PhD, a Venezuelan layman, took place on Tuesday, January 11th from 1:00-2:00pm central time.

Pope Francis has said that "the path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium." The Pope is inviting us to discern a new ecclesial model. We all have a great opportunity to respond to this call by sharing our voice in the process of consultation that started with the inauguration of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality.

This is “both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, to open herself to mission.” (Preparatory Document 1).

Webinar presented entirely in Spanish. Simultaneous interpretation to English provided.

Linda Gibler Presenter: Linda Gibler, OP

Overwhelmed by the first Hubble Deep Field picture, Linda, a Dominican Sister of Houston, became enchanted with the magnificence of the Universe and intrigued by the image’s significance for a Catholic understanding of God. In 1999, she began formal study of cosmology at the California Institute of Integral Studies where she completed a MA then a PhD in Philosophy and Religion with an emphasis in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. Linda also earned a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO Before her cosmic epiphany, Linda was the director of social ministry for a parish in Houston where she coordinated direct services, social outreach, and social justice programs. She has also served on a hospital medical ethics board and worked for a Texas agency to insure health care for indigent women. A published author, Linda is serves as the Associate Academic Dean at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio.

Webinar: 12/14/2021

Advent is a time of preparation for joy that has the possibility of changing our lives. In the midst of the current reality, COVID with its uncertainty illness, and death; Climate change with its catastrophic storms, floods, fires, and displacement; demographic and other changes in religious life, reduced energy, and questionable futures, how do we prepare for joy?

Advent gives us a clue with a rising star that led the wise ones to Emmanuel, God with Us.

This webinar will focus us on the lessons of stars – How they form in uncertain conditions, how they shine while maintaining a precarious balance, how they create even as they give themselves away, and how they give new life that has changed the course of the Universe.

Formation teams and people attentive to their own formation will find this Cosmo-Centric conversation helpful as they negotiate holding on to joy in the midst of struggle.

Presenter: Danielle Harrison, MA, JD

Danielle Harrison is the Co-Director of the Slavery, History, Memory and Reconciliation (SHMR) Project. With over 26 years of experience of working in Christian environments, Danielle is a teacher, facilitator, trainer, consultant, spiritual director, campus minister and retreat director. She was previously the director of Mission Integration at Visitation Academy, and has also taught Theology at a number of Catholic High Schools in the St. Louis area. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Saint Louis University Law School, and Aquinas Institute of Theology, where she received her Masters of Theology with a concentration in Biblical Studies. Danielle is a trained facilitator for Dismantling Racism and promoting Cultural Competency, and is frequently sought after to speak to issues of Equity and Inclusion.

Webinar: 04/28/2021

A significant component of our charisms as members of religious communities involves being intentional about accompanying those who have been marginalized. In order to do this well, we must consider how past, present and future actions inform the ways we approach issues of justice. Utilizing a lens of racial justice, this webinar will wrestle with the history and lessons of Jesuit slaveholding and the continued need to break down silence and complicity. The session will focus on community approaches to restoration, reconciliation, and mutual transformation.

This webinar will be facilitated by Danielle Harrison, Co-Director of the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project with the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. It will include other staff and collaborators in mission.

Chrissy Zaker Presenter: Dr. Chrissy Zaker, DMin

Chrissy is the Director of Field Education and teaches Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry at Catholic Theological Union. As a practical theologian, her research focuses on family spirituality and theological reflection as it intersects with the work of justice. She has spent over 35 years in ministry and her recent book, Surprised by God: Teaching Reflection through the Parables is at the heart of our gathering.

Webinar: 03/03/2021

In the middle of this winter’s darkness and social distance, in a period of Lenten renewal, we might find it hard to recognize God in our midst. Refining our skills of theological reflection is one critical way to attune our hearts to God’s presence. In 2014, Pope Francis said, “Our God is a God of surprises...” With this in mind, Christina Zaker will guide us to reflect on God’s movement in our lives. Drawing from the wisdom of the parables, she will encourage us to recognize God’s surprising nearness, explore what that nearness means and what it demands of us as Christians. Time together will include conversation, reflection and shared wisdom that encourages each of us to ask, as Pope Francis suggests, “Am I open to a God of Surprises?” 

Fr. Ron Presenter: Fr. Ronald Rohlheiser, OMI

Fr. Ron entered the novitiate of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and professed his First Vows in September 1966. Ordained to the priesthood in 1972, Ron continued his education, receiving a B.A. (University of Ottawa, 1969), B.Th. (Newman Theological College, 1973), M.A. (University of San Francisco, 1974), M.R.Sc. (University of Louvain, 1982) and Ph.D/STD (University of Louvain, 1983). During and after his own studies, he taught theology and philosophy at Newman Theological College, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Keeping an active speaking schedule, his retreats and workshops have inspired many.

Webinar: 01/27/2021

As we enter a new year, what is our present moment in terms of the issues we face within religious formation? What are our underlying assumptions about our world and our church? Where does our hope lie? In 2021 and beyond, what should be our agenda moving forward? This webinar is an an exercise in naming and explores our response as believers in Christ’s Good News. 

Presenter: Ted Dunn, PhD

Ted is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Comprehensive Consulting Services in St. Louis, MO. He has over thirty years of experience providing consultation, training and facilitation services to religious communities and other faith-based organizations throughout the United States and internationally. He regularly writes, presents, and works with leadership teams and congregations at all levels. His current focus is on guiding communities who are discerning God’s call to new life through processes that encourage deep change and transformation. His new book, Graced Crossroads, demonstrates his capacity to integrate spirituality, psychology and systems theory. Though his clients and methods vary, his compassionate approach to healing, belief in the resiliency of the human spirit, and personal commitment to life-long learning remain the foundation to all his professional endeavors. 

Webinar: 12/01/2020

The goal of this webinar will be to explore what it means to facilitate the emergence of a new Religious Life.
•    Graced Crossroads: pathways to deep change and transformation
•    Learning to cooperate with grace
•    Inner work of transformation

During the season of Advent, we can wait in hope and wonder what a new Religious Life might look like or we can actively participate in facilitating its emergence. This webinar will explore what it means to facilitate the emergence of a new Religious Life by cooperating with grace and engaging in the inner work of transformation. 

Sharon Zayoc Presenter: Sharon Zayoc, OP

Sharon is a Dominican Sister of Springfield, Illinois. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s in hospital administration. In 2001 she received a Masters in Earth Literacy from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, IN, becoming that program’s first graduate. 

Sharon is co-founder of Jubilee Farm, her congregation’s 164-acre center for ecology and spirituality, which lies just west of Springfield, IL.  Her book Earth Spirituality: In the Catholic and Dominican Traditions, published in 2003 by Sor Juana Press, was the first in the series Dominican Women on Earth. In October of 2008 she joined 139 others for training by Al Gore to present his award winning An Inconvenient Truth from a faith-based perspective. In October of 2015 she was one of the panelists to speak to the encyclical Laudato Si’ at a program with Cardinal Peter Turkson, hosted by the Catholic Conference of Ohio Bishops and the Catholic Climate Covenant held in Columbus, OH. She is included in the book Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology by Sarah McFarland Taylor.

She writes, speaks, and leads retreats in and outside the U.S. Her passion is sharing the Cosmic Creation Story and its implications for life and faith. Her latest work focuses on cosmological consciousness as an emerging worldview. She explains it thus:  We are in the midst of a cosmic shift in understanding who we are as persons, as people of faith, as a human species. What is this newly emerging consciousness? What does it teach us about who we are, how we are related to the whole, and how we image Holy Mystery?

Webinar: 09/23/2020

Who of us can doubt that we are all glaringly living the paschal mystery? Though the interconnecting consequences of Climate Change, COVID, systemic racism and pervasive violence seem to thrust DYING into the forefront, our faith demands from us the understanding that BIRTH and RESURRECTION are integral elements of the cycle. This session explores how that faith flows from the greater context of the Cosmic Paschal Mystery. 

Maria Benavides Presenter: Maria Benavides

Maria was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. At the age of fourteen she moved to San Antonio, Texas with her family to pursue an education in the United States. Motivated to act after the family separation crisis during the summer of 2018, Maria started volunteering at the bus station in downtown San Antonio, where she provides brief legal aid to incoming refugee families from Africa and Latin America.

While interacting with the families at the bus station, she discovered a passion for activism and social justice which has led her to utilize creative outlets such as writing and public speaking to speak about the current migration crisis among other social justice issues. Maria is the author of A Summer with the Butterflies, a book highlighting the voices and dreams of refugee and migrant children.

Webinar: 05/13/2020

Maria Benavides, a senior at Ann Hall High School San Antonio, shares her encounter with refugees and migrant children at the bus station in downtown San Antonio, TX. As she listened to the voices and dreams of the children she discovered an inner passion for the work of social justice. Through the stories and eyes of the children, she awakened to a beauty and hope rooted in resurrection love.  

Dianne Bergant Presenter: Dianne Bergant, CSA, PhD

Dianne Bergant, CSA, PhD is a member of the Congregation of Sisters of Saint Agnes, Fond du Lac, WI. Currently, Dr Bergant is Carroll Stuhlmueller, CP Distinguished Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  She was President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (2000-1) and was an active member of the Chicago Catholic/Jewish Scholars Dialogue for thirty years. For more than twenty-five years she has been the Old Testament book reviewer of The Bible Today, having been a member of the editorial board for thirty years. She wrote the weekly column The Word for America magazine (2002-5), reflections that have now been published by Paulist Press.  She is currently working in the areas of biblical interpretation and biblical theology, particularly issues of peace, ecology and feminism.

Webinar: 03/17/2020

In the document Misericordia Vultus (The Face of the Mercy of God), Pope Francis calls us to pattern our lives after the image of Jesus, who is the face of divine mercy. Dianne Bergant, CSA, PhD examines some of the biblical background of Pope Francis’ thinking on our call to embody divine mercy.

Please note: this webinar does not have a visual presentation (powerpoint) or handouts as the presenter chose not to use these items. The video below includes only audio of Sister Dianne's presentation. 

Marcelline Koch, OP Presenter: Marcelline Koch, OP

Sister Marcelline is a Dominican Sister and directs the Office of Justice for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL. In this capacity, she serves as the Justice Promoter, Co-coordinator of the Springfield Dominican Anti-Racism Team, and liaison for the congregation’s Socially Responsible Investing effort. In March of 2014, she was also named the North American Co-Promoter for Justice for the Dominican Family. It was in this capacity that she was part of a delegation to Iraq in January 2015. 

Previous to this ministry she was on her congregation’s Leadership Team for eight years. She also directed Project IRENE, an LCWR education and advocacy initiative focused on women and children. Sr. Marcelline was an elementary school educator and administrator for over 30 years, serving both in urban and rural areas. 

She currently also volunteers with the Springfield Coalition on Dismantling Racism and the Springfield Immigration Advocacy Network. 

Webinar: 12/18/2019

In this webinar Marcelline Koch, OP explores the season of Advent through the lenses of incarnation and solidarity. 

Marianne Farina Presenter: Marianne Farina, CSC, PhD

Sister Marianne, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, IN, is Professor of Theology and Philosophy and member of the Core Doctoral Faculty at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.  Through teaching and professional affiliation, Marianne, is engaged in efforts to address some of the most critical issues facing today’s global communities – ecumenical and interreligious affairs, interfaith dialogue, cross cultural communications, Catholic social teaching, and care of Earth.

Webinar: 10/15/2019

In this webinar, Marianne shares her experience and teaching of a practice called Compassionate Listening. The practice grew out of work facilitated by Leah Green (rooted in the work of Quaker Gene Knudsen Hoffman) with reconciliation leaders on the ground in Israel – Palestine beginning in 1991. The reconciliation work in Israel-Palestine was adapted for peace-building in everyday life and the Compassionate Listening Project began in the U.S. in 1999. Marianne has presented the practice to formation personnel participating in the RFC ForMission Program.

Fr. John Presenter: John Tourangeau, O. Praem

Fr. John is a member of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI. Fr. John completed his Ph.D. in Organization Development at Benedictine University (Lisle, IL) in June 2017, and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at New Mexico Highlands University (Las Vegas, NM). He also supports local communities in the expansion of mental health and pastoral counseling services as a master-level (MSW) Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC). Fr. John holds a Master of Divinity in Missiology from Catholic Theological Union (Chicago, IL) and an MBA from the University of Phoenix (Albuquerque, NM). He travels to continue his national clergy research, present his findings, and speak on the ever-popular topic of heaven about which he has written a book and a companion spiritual journal.

Webinar: 06/26/2019

In this webinar presentation, Father John Tourangeau engaged several topics related to clergy sexual abuse and the role and dynamics of power. He gave a brief sketch of the historical considerations and then explore the critical need for greater awareness of the dynamics of communal power through honest dialogue and ongoing education. How do we oppose the culture of power and clericalism in the formation process, for example? Fr. John will also covered how power is informed by Gospel values and Christian mission.

Praxes to discussed include: welcoming, respectful, and loving community; humility and understanding; integrity, honesty, and truth; responsibility, perseverance, and self-denial; servant leadership; and healthy living and wellness.

Dan Horan Presenter: Daniel Horan, OFM

He is a Franciscan Friar, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and the author of numerous articles and twelve books, including The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Influence on his Life, Thought, and Writing (2014) and, most recently, Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis’s Rejoice and Be Glad (2019).

Webinar: 04/16/2019

Fr. Dan Horan discusses his recent book on this encyclical by Pope Francis titled Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis’s Rejoice and Be Glad: A Faith Formation Guide.

Massimo Faggioli Presenter: Massimo Faggioli, PhD

Massimo is a church historian and is a current Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University and contributing writer to Commonweal magazine. He has served on the faculty at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota) from 2009 to 2016, where he was the founding director of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship (2014-2015).

Webinar: 03/20/2019

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019 the RFC hosted a Lenten webinar presentation and discussion with Massimo Faggioli, PhD. He gave an overview of his current work on the Catholic Church and sex abuse.

Barbara Jean Franklin, ASC Presenter: Barbara Jean Franklin, ASC

She has been a member of her religious community, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, for over 50 years. During that time she has ministered as a teacher and administrator in Catholic Schools in Illinois and Missouri and has served her religious community in a variety of administrative areas. She currently serves as administrator of a retirement facility for her community members in Ruma, IL. She writes and offers retreats to religious communities and parishes.

Webinar: 12/05/2018

On Wednesday, December 5, 2018 the RFC hosted an Advent webinar presentation and discussion with Sister Barbara Jean Franklin, ASC.

Young women religious Presenter: Sarah Kohles, OSF, Juliet Mousseau, RSCJ, & Tracy Kemme, SC

Editors of and an author in the book, In Our Own Words: Religious Life in a Changing World joined the RFC for this webinar conversation. 

Webinar: 09/13/2018

On Thursday, September 13 the RFC hosted a webinar discussion with the editors of and an author in the book, In Our Own Words: Religious Life in a Changing World.



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