At our Congregational Gathering we agreed to commit to exploring, experimenting and evaluating new expressions of Religious Life. (C1, 2, 14).
In some countries, Presentation communities offer the co-membership possibilities. This is an example from Wagga Wagga in Australia.
Co-members of the Presentation Sisters are women and men who find they share in the spirit of Nano Nagle. They are people who:
- desire to strengthen their commitment to the values of hospitality; compassion; justice.
- seek to deepen their personal spiritual life
- wish to share more intensely in ministry life of the Presentation community
- welcome opportunities for friendship, prayer, service, hospitality and celebration.
Co-members of the Presentation Sisters aim to live and keep alive the charism and spirituality of Nano Nagle and openly share her vision with others.
Co-members of the Presentation Sisters are people who express their commitment by endeavouring to bring about justice and peace locally and globally.
Co-members of the Presentation Sisters are people whose spirituality is open to the power and urging of the Spirit, enabling each to respond with compassion to the challenges of the times.
Co-members of Presentation Sisters live the spirit and mission of Nano Nagle through individual mutual commitment.
Lifestyles, occupations, marital status, geographical distribution and religious traditions vary. Co-members may share in many aspects of the life of Presentation Sisters, and actively participating in Community Groups and gatherings.
The name co-membership carefully was chosen and represents more than an association – the “co” in co-membership means cooperation, community, communication, contribution and contract. Co-members commit themselves to participation in the life and work of the Community and share their time, talent and treasure in support of Community and its mission.
Why would someone be interested in becoming a co-member?
Women and men find in a formal relationship through co-membership an opportunity to nourish their spirituality and to contribute their support and skills to the ongoing Gospel mission of the Community in its commitment to peace and justice.
What obligations do co-members have?
Co-members make a personal, individualised commitment with the Presentation Sisters. (If life circumstances change, the commitment can be revised to better reflect the co-member’s ability to honour their commitment to the Community.) Co-members do not have canonical vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Co-members are asked to contribute their time, talent and treasure to working for justice and acting for peace. They participate gatherings, and work cooperatively with other members. They support the values of the Way of Life of the Presentation Sisters.
What is the financial relationship with the Community?
Co-members do not have a financial obligation to the Community, and the Community has no financial obligation to the co-member. Co-members may be invited, however, to make a financial contribution on a yearly basis. Many co-members do make a pledge every year, but it is not a requirement for initial or continuing membership.
How is co-membership involved in Presentation Sisters mission?
In their private lives co-members participate in many of the same areas of mission as the vowed members do. In many cases co-members work with vowed members in such areas as social agencies and committees.
Are there restrictions on religious affiliation?
No. There are co-members from several faith traditions. The important characteristic is a desire to believe in Nano Nagle’s spirit and values in following the Gospel message that impels the Community.
What is the length of the process?
The usual amount of time to become a co-member is about two years. There is not a defined length of time, however.
What are the steps of the process?
The process for admission to co-membership includes four phases: Information Phase, Preparation Phase, Commitment Phase and the Admission/ Celebration Phase.
– The Information Phase provides opportunities for the individual to develop relationships within the Presentation Community and to learn more about Nano Nagle. An initial interview helps determine that co-membership may be a good fit for the individual and that the person is ready to enter the co-membership process.
– The Preparation Phase begins with a personal discernment plan for the co-member-in-process. Focus on developing opportunities for mission, community and spirituality is developed based on the individual’s needs and desires through study; volunteer options; attendance at peace and justice presentations, social events and spiritual gatherings and at least one visit to the Nano Nagle Birthpalce.
– The Commitment Phase includes the preparation of the Personal Spiritual Autobiography) by the co-member-in-process, obtaining references from relevant Presentation or faith community members and participating in a final interview.
– Admission and Celebration includes a review by the Province Leadership Team of the candidate’s request for admission as a co-member. Once the candidate is accepted into co-membership by the Province Leader, a celebration provides the opportunity for the new co-member to share publicly her/his journey and her/his personal commitment to the Community.
What support is there during the process?
The candidate for co-membership has a contact person who accompanies the candidate throughout the process. It is the job of the contact person to make sure the candidate is invited to events and to help to answer any questions that arise. The contact person sends in to the Provincial Leader a mutually agreed update report twice a year.