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 videos

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.

If your congregation is not a member, you can still purchase webinars and presentations. The site will create an account for you during the purchasing process, so that you can access the purchased videos for repeated viewing.

Robin Ryan, CP, PhD Presenter: Robin Ryan, CP, PhD

Robin Ryan, CP, PhD is a Passionist priest and theologian who serves as Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Master of Arts in Theology Program at Catholic Theological Union. He received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America. He is the author of numerous articles and recordings on theological and spiritual topics. He edited and contributed to the book Catholics on Call: Discerning a Life of Service in the Church (Liturgical Press, 2010). He is the author of God and the Mystery of Human Suffering: A Theological Conversation Across the Ages (Paulist Press, 2011). He recorded a series of CDs on the topic of God and the Mystery of Human Suffering for Now You Know Media. He is the author of the forthcoming book Jesus and Salvation (Liturgical Press, April 2015). He is also a contributor to and English-language editor of the forthcoming Diccionario de la Pasión (Madrid, San Pablo).

Webinar: 03/30/2015
$15.00

Every person encounters the mystery of suffering in his or her life and in the lives of loved ones. Those of us who minister in the Church come face to face with this mystery often, as we are called to be present to those who suffer in different ways. Vowed religious are affected by the reality of suffering within religious community. This webinar will address the challenges of talking about God and talking to God in times of suffering. We will draw upon four dimensions from the Judeo-Christian tradition that can serve as resources for us in grappling with the mystery of suffering.

RFC is grateful to Paulist Press, who in part sponsored this webinar.

*Image credit: Praying at Gethsemane by He Qi @ 2014 All rights reserved

Presenter: Megan S. Turngren

Megan S. Turngren is an attorney in the Religious Immigration Services division of Catholic Legal Immigration Network (“CLINIC”). Ms. Turngren first came to the immigration field in 2003, and in 2005 began practicing immigration law with one of the best known immigration firms in the United States. In July 2012, she joined CLINIC and started working exclusively with foreign-born religious workers. By utilizing her expertise, Ms. Turngren is able to assist her clients in navigating this complex area of law by offering consultations, advice, and preparation of legal filings of immigration petitions and applications. Currently, she represents more than 35 religious entities, including Catholic Archdioceses, Dioceses, and Religious Communities, as well as over 150 foreign-born religious workers.

Webinar: 12/03/2014
$15.00

 This webinar will provide an overview of the immigration processes available for “religious workers.” In immigration law, the term “religious worker” encompasses men and women, both religious and lay, who serve in various capacities in religious organizations. For purposes of this webinar, we will focus our attention on members of religious institutes. We will cover immigration basics, including R-1 status, R-1 visas, and the permanent residency process. This will include a breakdown of the different regulations for the temporarily-professed and the perpetually-professed members of religious communities. We will also briefly discuss the regulations regarding students visa and visitor visas for missionaries. Finally, we will discuss USCIS site visits, as well as record keeping and best practices for maintaining immigration files. 

Presenter: Hna. Teresa Maya, CCVI, Superiora General, Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado, San Antonio TX

Hna. Teresa Maya, CCVI, Superiora General, Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado, San Antonio TX. La Hermana Teresa Maya pertenece a la Congregación de las Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado desde 1994. Su experiencia ministerial es en el área de educación. Ha servido como maestra, profesora de historia y administradora. Tiene una pasión por la formación de agentes para la pastoral hispana en EUA. La Hermana Teresa curso el B.A. en la Universidad de Yale, el M.A. en el Graduate Theological Union en Berkeley y el Doctorado en El Colegio de México, en la Ciudad de México.

Webinar: 12/02/2014
$15.00

La integración de la diversidad de la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos es vital para la transición al ministerio de aquellos/as que están migrando de Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Este “webinar” contrastará las características históricas y culturales que dieron forma a la Iglesia de los Estados Unidos con la Iglesia de América Latina, subrayando las contribuciones que cada tradición trae al ministerio hoy. La meta será explorar las competencias interculturales que el ministerio en los Estados Unidos requiere de todos/as. 

Presenter: Eran Talitman, Ph.D., C. Psych.

Eran Talitman, Ph.D., C. Psych. is a registered psychologist in the province of Ontario, Canada. He has provided assessment and treatment services to individuals, couples, and families in both a hospital setting and private practice. He has also been a consultant to individuals diagnosed with HIV, cancer, and traumatic brain injury. For the past 16 years, he has been at the Southdown Institute and has provided individual and group therapy as well as assessment services to religious and clergy. He has provided workshops and presentations on Intimacy, Healthy Sexuality, Developing Healthy Ministerial Boundaries, Keeping Our Soul Alive, Effective Leadership, and Working with Personality Disorders. 

Webinar: 11/14/2014
$15.00

Being resilient in the face of adversity requires us to look inward rather than outward and examine our approach, our expectations, and our reactions to situations. This webinar will focus on the following topics: the definition of resilience, the factors that enhance our ability to be resilient, the distorted scripts that lead to burnout, the difference between healthy vs. unhealthy self-sacrifice, and the importance of establishing a self-care plan. 

Presenter: Lynn M. McKenzie, OSB

Lynn M. McKenzie, OSB, is a member of the Benedictine Sisters, Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, AL. A civil and a canon lawyer, she is currently an ombudsman/mediator for the Department of Labor of the State of Alabama, a judge and defender of the bond for the Tribunal of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, AL, and a canonical consultant and advocate for leaders and members of religious communities. Her civil law degree is from the University of Alabama and her licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America.

Webinar: 05/30/2014
$15.00

This webinar will focus on new legal questions religious congregations encounter today. These include such delicate topics as end of life decisions and issues which newer members who have raised families and/or had long careers before entering religious life may present: concerns about property disposal, inheritance, debts, contracts, and insurance. There will be an opportunity for webinar participants to raise questions and issues of concern to them.

Presenter: Sr. Ann Billard, OLM, Ph.D.

Sr. Ann Billard, OLM, Ph.D. is a Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy with many years of pastoral ministry experience. She is a certified grief recovery specialist and has graduate degrees in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Maryland. Currently coordinating Transformative Aging programs, she provides spiritual direction, lectures, workshops, and retreats on grief recovery and the spirituality of aging. She has presented at national conferences and to groups of older adults both nationally and internationally

Webinar: 04/08/2014
$15.00

Often older religious comment “No one taught me how to do this time of life.” Called in Baptism to share in the mission of Christ, the spiral of call moves through all the different phases of discipleship. This webinar is designed to offer older religious a spiritual model of aging and support them in their desire to

  • Re-vision/ re-vitalize their call into the second half of life
  • Find meaning and purpose on their journey into radical discipleship
  • Become a spiritually transcendent elder
Presenter: Frank Desiderio, C.S.P.

Frank Desiderio, C.S.P. has been a parish priest and campus minister (UCLA), a radio and TV producer and, currently, is director of the Paulist Center in Boston. He is the executive producer of the documentary “The Big Question: A Film About Forgiveness” which launched him into a new ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation. Since 2009 he has offered retreats, parish missions and days of recollection on the spirituality of forgiveness. From Victoria, B.C. to Washington D.C. retreatants have said, "this is the best retreat I've ever been on." Participants come away saying; "I have been waiting for this for a long time", "this is exactly the kind of thing the Church should do", "I feel so much lighter", "this is what I needed to heal."

Webinar: 03/08/2014
$15.00

Based on the recently released book, Can You Let Go of a Grudge? Learn to Forgive and Get on with Your Life (Paulist Press, January 2014) Fr. Desiderio will give a brief overview of the spirituality of forgiveness based on five steps:

  • L - Look deeply at what went wrong
  • E - Empathy for the other is key
  • T - Tell the story differently
  • G - Give the gift of forgiveness
  • O - One day at a time, keep forgiveness strong.

This webinar will offer practical tools for women and men religious who want to bring peace to persons caught in a web of unreconciled relationships whom they encounter in their various pastoral, administrative, peace and social justice ministries. It will also offer inspiration about living more peaceably with oneself and in community and healing rifts through reconciliation. 

Presenter: Linda Gibler

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 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 and served on a hospital medical ethics board. Linda is the associate academic dean of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and an adjunct professor for the Loyola Institute for Ministry. Her book, From the Beginning to Baptism: Scientific and Sacred Stories of Water, Oil, and Fire was published in March 2010 by Liturgical Press.

Webinar: 02/28/2014
$15.00

Most of the theological and spiritual tradition that forms us as religious is based on a classical view of a static universe. As science reveals more about the world God created, we have the opportunity to deepen our understanding of God, ourselves, and the reality around us. The focus of this webinar is cosmology and how this new knowledge and consciousness informs the vowed life, lived in communion and for mission.

We will discuss insights from cosmology and its significance for Catholic faith, spirituality, and religious life. Topics will include an exploration of ecological themes in Christian scripture and tradition, the challenge and gift of evolution, the unique role of the human and reading creation as the first book of revelation. 

Presenter: Mary Lou Mitchell, SSJ, PhD.

Mary Lou Mitchell, SSJ serves as Congregational President for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester. She holds a Ph.D. in nursing and completed two years of post-doctoral work in researching the mind-body connection in health and well-being. Prior to serving in leadership she was on faculty at Nazareth College and had a private practice in holistic health. Sr. Mary Lou has spent years personally and professionally growing in the contemplative practice of living in the present moment.

Webinar: 12/04/2013
$15.00

Contemplating the gifts received when called into the vowed life will be the focus of this webinar. Our vows are a gateway into discipleship and communion. The challenge is to see the depth of meaning offered by each vow. According to Ilia Delio (2011) “heaven is not a place of disembodied spirits but an embrace of love that transforms this present earthly life with its frailties and weaknesses into the divine presence of enduring love….Heaven is not another world but this world clearly seen.” Come spend an hour clearly seeing the transformative nature of our vows. 

Presenter: Ray Dlugos, OSA

Ray Dlugos, OSA is an Augustinian friar from the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova in the eastern United States. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Ray was ordained a priest in 1983 and served in secondary education, parish, and vocation ministry before pursuing graduate studies in Counseling Psychology at the University of Albany, State University, New York. After earning his PhD in 1999, Ray joined the clinical staff at Southdown Institute in Aurora, Canada and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2003. In August of 2008, Ray became Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, a sponsored work of the Augustinians. He currently holds the position of Vice President for Mission and Student Affairs at Merrimack while also serving on the provincial Council of his community. Fr. Ray presented at the 2012 Transformation of Religious Life: An Action-Oriented Initiative together with Luisa Saffiotti, PhD. on the topic of “Engaging Resistance in the Service of Communal Discernment”.

Webinar: 10/04/2013
$15.00

On the way to the deep and full joy that Jesus desires for us, we feel profound anxiety, deep rage, powerful shame, and intense grief in response to the ordinary experience of life that can challenge our faith, shake our hope, and limit our love. This webinar will help participants to deepen awareness of our emotional lives as invitations to transformation, growth, wisdom and peace all opening us to deeper faith and genuine hope. In addition to naming and removing the obstacles that block life giving emotions, this webinar will also discuss ways of expressing emotion that will deepen our intimacy with God and with others.

Artwork credit: “Integrity” © Doris Klein, CSA. Used with permission. See additional work by Doris Klein, CSA at www.doriskleincsa.com

 

Presenter: Sister Judith Schaefer, O.P., Ph.D.

Sister Judith Schaefer, O.P., Ph.D., is currently serving as president of Cotter Schools (grades 7-12) in Winona, Minnesota. Sister Judith is on leave from Saint Mary's University of MN where she previously served as Professor and Chair of Theology for 10 years, and as University Dean for University Affairs for three years. Sister Judith is a professed member of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation, which has its Motherhouse in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. Sister Judith completed her doctoral work at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, in Theology and Society, with an allied discipline in psychology. She has a Masters of Divinity degree from Aquinas Institute in Saint Louis, MO, and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago. Sister completed her undergraduate work in elementary education and received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL.

Webinar: 09/07/2013
$15.00

Religious women and men take a vow of obedience that binds them to those with whom they share life. In the contemporary experience, discernment - both individual and communal - is extremely difficult and has few, if any, parameters. The webinar will explore a model of communal discernment that is centered in communion ecclesiology and that offers religious a model for engaging in communal discernment.

 

*Image credit: The Coming of the Holy Spirit by Soichi Watanabe. Used with permission.

Kathy Galleher, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist Presenter: Kathy Galleher, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Kathy Galleher, Ph.D is a licensed psychologist with over 25 years of experience who specializes in working with those in ministry and religious life. She received a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Colorado State University in 1993 and has been a therapist, university professor, consultant, and workshop presenter. In 2006 she started “KMG Consultation," which specializes in supporting healthy ministry and community life. Dr. Galleher presents workshops on topics including healthy community, conflict management, healthy sexual integration, healthy boundaries, self -care, and ministry from abundance, and mindfulness in daily life. She is director of the Washington Area Formation Network program for Healthy Sexual Integration in religious life.

Presentation: 10/27/2018
$80.00

In this workshop Dr. Galleher focuses on ways to develop deeper intimacy and connection in community life. She presents practical approaches to deepening our understanding of one another within community and across generational and cultural differences and ways to resolve conflict that cultivate compassion. Video topics include: (1) rich community life and how to cultivate it, (2) group development, (3) going deeper, vulnerability and compassion, (4) healthy confrontation and conflict, (5) reflection and sharing on day. 

Presenter: Lynn M. Levo, CSJ, Ph.D.

is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and a licensed psychologist, lecturer and consultant. She received her Ph.D. from the University of New York at Albany, completing her clinical training at The University of Kansas School of Medicine. Lynn consults with religious congregations of women and men, dioceses and health systems on mutuality, transitions and stress, anger, managing conflict, aging and healthy personal, sexual and spiritual development across the life span. Lynn has presented nationally and internationally to women and men religious, intercommunity novitiates and seminaries, on fostering healthy integrated sexuality, celibacy, relationships, intimacy, mutuality in community, emotional intelligence, collaborative leadership, hope, living at the edge of chaos and the call to be evolutionaries. In addition, Lynn also facilitates team development for several leadership teams of women religious, utilizing her experience as a former congregational leader and consultant.

After completing 12 years of ministering as Director of Education at Saint Luke Institute, a residential treatment facility for women and men religious, Lynn currently is a Consulting Psychologist in private practice, offering consultations and presentations/workshops both in the U.S. and abroad.

Presentation: 03/31/2015
$40.00

Hope is a powerful emotion that arises from the most basic human longings – it is a life- sustaining force, rooted in relationship and our relationship with the future. In our challenging and chaotic present time, hope is more essential than ever.

In our time together, we will explore the connection between reality, grief and hope, how our thoughts and feelings create the unique energy of hope, some core competencies to help us move beyond our personal and present limits to create a better tomorrow, understanding hopelessness and how hope can be learned and is a ministry shared with others.

In this Year for Consecrated Life we have been urged by Pope Francis to make a grateful remembrance of the recent past and to embrace the future with hope. If not now, when? If not us, then who?

Artwork credit: “Journey of the Soul” © Doris Klein, CSA. Used with permission. See additional work by Doris Klein, CSA at www.doriskleincsa.com

Presenter: Michael Downey, PhD

With a Master of Arts in special education as well as in theology, Dr. Michael Downey is the first layperson to receive the Ph.D. in theology from The Catholic University of America. His abiding theological concern for those who are wounded and marginalized has brought him to serve the church most in need through lectures, conferences and retreats in different parts of the world. Editor of the award-winning New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, he is founding North American editor of Spirituality, an international journal of the Christian spiritual life.  Author or editor of more than twenty books, as well as journal articles, essays, and book chapters numbering in the dozens, he is the recipient of three honorary doctorates. Two of his better known books are Altogether Gift:  A Trinitarian Spirituality (2000) and The Heart of Hope (2009). A member of the editorial board of Cistercian Studies Quarterly, he works extensively with enclosed contemplative communities, and is active in retreat work. Dr. Downey has a particular interest in Trinitarian theology and a theology of hope, both of which are expressed in his Living the Justice of the Triune God [with the late David N. Power] (2012). On March 31, 2005 Pope John Paul II awarded him the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Presentation: 04/18/2015
$40.00

Even though hope is essential to human and Christian life, very little has been written about it in comparison to faith and love. Faith sees what already is, while hope sees what is yet to come. Charity loves what already is, but hope puts its trust in what is not yet here.

Living in very dark times, hope is a most 
                                                                     important, necessary and rare virtue.

For Christians, for vowed Religious, “hope” is linked to the person of Jesus Christ. Consequently we would do well to give greater attention to the precise nature of Christian hope. What exactly is it? This day will offer a clear understanding of the nature of hope to deepen our capacity to give an account of the hope that is within us (1Peter 3: 15), especially in the face of resistance and indifference.

Rooted in an understanding of the kenosis of God in Christ as the reason for our hope, the presentation will be interspersed with poetic reflections that help express the nature of hope.

Eduardo Fernández, SJ, PhD Presenter: Eduardo Fernández, SJ, PhD

Eduardo Fernández, SJ, PhD: Other than teaching classes in missiology and Latino theology and ministry at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union, Professor Fernández publishes, gives workshops and retreats, and assists at local parishes.  He has also worked in university campus ministry.  A native of El Paso, Texas, he earned a Masters in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His two latest books are Mexican American Catholics (Paulist Press, 2007), awarded a 2008 Catholic Press Association Book Award in the category of pastoral ministry, and Culture- Sensitive Ministry: Helpful Strategies for Pastoral Ministers (Paulist Press, 2010) with Kenneth McGuire, CSP and Anne Hansen.

Presentation: 05/02/2015
$40.00

Fifty years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, its key concepts, most notably, aggiornamento, the Italian term for “bringing up to date”, as well as ressourcement, a critical engagement with the current situation in light of the lessons of the past, continue to capture the imagination of the contemporary disciple in Christ's mission.  Our day will be spent in prayerfully exploring Christian world mission in light of the current signs of the times, in an attempt to discern where the Spirit is leading our religious communities.  Particular attention will be paid to the gift of the arts as manifested in the diversity of cultures.  Activities include some presentations, quiet prayer time, and small group discussions (which may take place in various languages).  Each participant is invited to bring a symbol of her or his religious community's charism.

Presenter: Mary Schneiders, OP, PhD

Mary Schneiders, OP, PhD is a Dominican Sister of Hope (Ossining, NY.) For the past 21 years, she has been a fulltime staff member of Berakah Spirituality and Retreat Center in Pittsfield, NH (formerly Berakah Renewal Center) where she teaches courses in Scripture, Theology and Spirituality, and journeys with people in spiritual direction. Prior to that Sr. Mary taught theology and Scripture at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY for 11 years. She offers retreats and workshops at many retreat centers, parishes, and women’s groups throughout the US. Sr. Mary has an MA in Religious Studies from Providence College in Providence, RI, and a PhD in Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Presentation: 05/16/2015
$40.00

As Christians, we believe the Scriptures are God's living word given to us to sustain our faith in every age of our human history. So once again, in this 21st century, we turn to the Scriptures to find the inspiration, strength and especially the HOPE we need to sustain us in our daily lives, particularly in times of doubt, struggle, and suffering. And in this year dedicated to consecrated life, we look to the scriptures for the hope we need to face the challenges and questions that confront religious life today. Let us together open our minds and hearts to God's voice and presence speaking to us through the lives of the women and men we encounter in the scriptures in order to re- vitalize, nurture and strengthen our hope.

Presenters:
Richard Gaillardetz, PhD, Joseph Professor of Theology at Boston College;
Presentation title: From Center to Periphery: Relocating the Prophetic Witness of Religious Life

Caroljean Willie, SC, PhD, NGO representative at the United Nations for the Sisters of Charity Federation;
Presentation title: Called to Live on the Margins of Possibility

Presentation: 10/18/2014
$40.00

Join the Religious Formation Conference for its 60th Anniversary Celebration: From Center to Periphery: Relocating the Prophetic Witness of Religious Life at one of the locations throughout the United States listed below. In these gatherings, we will celebrate our heritage, reflect with expert and engaging presenters and with each other on the implications of our call to mission in the 21st century, and continue our lifelong formation as women and men challenged, in Pope Francis’ words, to fly from the nest to the frontiers, to wake the world.

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RFC

5401 S. Cornell Ave. Suite 304
Chicago, IL 60615
Phone: 773.675.8362
Email: rfc@relforcon.org
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