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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RFC Webinars

Webinars are open to all those who wish to attend. One does not need to be a member of the RFC to participate. RFC members enjoy the added benefit of having access to an archive of recorded webinar sessions and other materials. 

"I Come to My Church Fully Functioning” - Dreaming Dreams and Seeing Visions: How Vocation/Formation Development Can Be Renewed in a Truly Multi-Cultural Church

Webinar: February 1st, 2022 at 1:00pm central time

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?

Joseph A. Brown, S. J., Ph.D., 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.



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