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Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province Ministries Foundation 1884 Randolph Ave. Saint Paul, MN 55105

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID St. Paul, MN Permit No.1990

F A L L 2 0 07 L E A D E R S H I P

Leading the Way Lord, inspire us today with the qualities of good leadership. Give us insight to make wise decisions, integrity to face the truth, courage to make difficult choices and compassion

POSSUMUS We Can

for the needs of others. Make us a model of justice and honor to the world, and let us never forget that our job is to serve both You and others.

Please tear off and use this bookmark as a companion in your reading and prayers.

A Publication of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Ministries Foundation


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Lessons from Geese

eading from where you are.

Fact: When the lead goose flying in formation gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet can’t be leaders without the support of friends and neighbors who believe in their mission. Sometimes that support is physical or emotional. Sometimes it’s spiritual. And sometimes it’s financial. If you think the efforts of the Sisters of St. Joseph are important to our community, please consider supporting those efforts in any way you can. Maybe you can’t be on the front lines of the struggle for justice, but you can write a check. Maybe you can’t volunteer your time to train future leaders, but you can open your wallet. Maybe you can’t dedicate your life to help those in need, but you can give a generous donation to the Sisters of St. Joseph. Empower the leadership of the Sisters with your pocketbook. And, in a very real way, you’ll be practicing leadership, too.

Dayna Burtness grew up in Coon Rapids, and had, by her account, a normal childhood there —— one that had nothing to do with farming. But something happened to Dayna between her freshman and sophomore years at St. Olaf College that turned this young woman into a dedicated environmental activist specializing in sustainable agriculture. In the process, Dayna discovered within herself the courage it takes to be a leader.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others’ skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

Transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network, based on the work of Milton Olson. Visit www.csjministriesfoundation.org/links.aspx to read the other four lessons.

Possumus is Latin for we can. It sums up the drive and willpower that identifies the Sisters of St. Joseph as one of the most influential non-profit organizations working in Minnesota in the past 150 years.

As an Environmental Studies major, I wanted some hands-on experience. So I signed up for a 3-month internship at Foxtail Farms, which has a community supported agriculture program in Osceola, Wisconsin. I had never thought about my food before and where it came from. They really opened my eyes to the food cycle and the ridiculous things going on in American agriculture. All of a sudden it hit me: I could use some of St. Olaf’s land to start an organic farm and supply the college cafeteria with fresh produce. I’m the kind of person that, if I get an idea, I just assume it’s possible. So I emailed the Curator of the college land about my idea. He told me all the reasons why I couldn’t do it. I have to admit I gave up on it for, maybe...an hour. But I went ahead and found an acre of land nearby, then approached the company that manages the cafeteria. After I showed the college that I already had everything I needed, they said yes and I was farming. Now you might call that being courageous and persistent, but I call it being stubborn and impatient. Those are two of my best qualities.

Move toward a world of hope, reconciliation, and justice for all people. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Achieve universal primary education. Promote gender equality and empower women. Reduce child mortality. Improve maternal health. Combat HIV/AIDS malaria and other diseases. Ensure environmental sustainability. Develop a global partnership for development. From the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

To make a donation to support the programs of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, please visit www.csjministriesfoundation.org Or send your check to: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province Ministries Foundation 1884 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Remember, you don’t have to be a saint or a hero, or be rich, to do enormous good. You just have to be willing. Thank you.

Dayna Burtness Visit us on the web at www.csjministriesfoundation.org for updates on previous articles you read in Possumus.

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acets of leadership.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Oscar Reed had a legendary nine-year career as a running back with the Minnesota Vikings –– including three Super Bowl appearances. As a result of his post-football work as director of youth programs with the Minnesota Public Housing Authority, Oscar helped found a youth and family service agency, Life’s Missing Link. These days, he directs his own restorative justice nonprofit, The Restorative Way. Oscar has shown an aptitude for leadership throughout his life. But it didn’t happen without a lot of encouragement from others. I’ve yet to figure out whether leaders are born or made. But I’m starting to lean toward the idea that it’s a combination of both. I played on lots of sports teams as a kid. People saw qualities in me that you would find in a leader, so they nurtured that in me. I didn’t ask for it, it just happened. I think those qualities are in everyone, but some can tap into them better than others. I’d say the leadership style I’ve tried to follow is kind of unassuming, laidback, quiet. I’m a big guy, so that surprises people. But great leaders don’t talk all the time. They listen, and they lead by example. A leader doesn’t have to be out in front all the time either. They can be behind pushing. I tell myself to take it one step and one person at a time. I believe, if I can influence one person, they’ll take that with them into their life, and someday they’ll influence others. After all, that’s exactly what happened to me.

Alberta Huber became a CSJ in 1936. Back then nuns taught school, which is what Sister Alberta did for almost three decades. In 1964, she was appointed President of The College of St. Catherine. The 60s and 70s were turbulent times on college campuses, but Sister Alberta led St. Kate's through it all. Under her direction, the little boarding school for girls grew up into a serious institution of higher learning for women, one with a mission to "educate women to lead and influence." Sister Alberta died recently at age 90. But it's clear she would have had much left to teach us.

I wasn’t exactly ready for a challenge so big when I took over in 1964. It was a busy time; there was a lot of unrest. I realized that, first of all, we had to bring the college into the 20th century. As we dealt with in loco parentis issues, we had to learn how to treat students as adults instead of children. We started the weekend college in the 1970s so women who had to keep working could better themselves. O’Shaughnessy Auditorium and some other important buildings were finished during my term. And we started pushing international and minority education and greatly expanded the numbers of those students. Through it all, I tried to maintain my own leadership style. I think leadership is about enabling other people to develop their potential. I’m proud of the fact that I was President during a very difficult time, yet I managed to keep the college on an even keel. I handed it over as a good, sound, intellectual, educational institution for women.

Oscar Reed

Sister Alberta Huber, CSJ

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eadership.

As you read through this issue of Possumus, we hope you will give us credit for even attempting to put into words what is best expressed by example. Throughout the issue, we circle around the topic of leadership in an effort to illuminate its core. Leadership usually is neither what you think it is nor where you expect to find it. It’s not tied to characteristics such as popularity or talent. It’s closer to courage and selflessness and the ability to listen. Though our Sisters are known as leaders, you’ll discover on these pages that familiar contradiction in which others express deep gratitude for the Sisters’ leadership but the Sisters themselves dismiss the reference. You may find yourself wondering if someone can be a leader and not know it. You will find this kind of strong, unassuming leadership especially in the St. Joseph Workers (pages 2-5); the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Justice Commission’s work on behalf of Liberian immigrants (page 15); and in the words of Sister Alberta Huber (page 16), who died shortly after we interviewed her for this issue. Ultimately, I would venture to say that leadership is a common tool used to repair or build a just society. The tool damages easily if used incorrectly and becomes dull if not used at all. Since everyone practices leadership in a different way, I’d be interested in knowing how you would define it and hearing your own story of leadership as well. Thanks for reading. Possumus! Sister Irene O’Neill, CSJ Executive Director Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Ministries Foundation

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PASSING THE TORCH. The two women sit across from each other at the conference table, eyeing the tape recorder somewhat uneasily. One is a small, quiet, 85-year-old nun named Mary Martin Nelson. She has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 60 years. The other is Angie Van Den Hemel, an outgoing 23-year-old who is currently participating in the St. Joseph Worker program. They are here to talk about leadership skills among the CSJs.

Sister Mary Martin and Angie work together at The Vineyard English Language School in Frogtown. They tutor two classes of adult Hmong and Vietnamese. It’s clear that they share mutual respect and admiration. But while it may be obvious to an outsider that Sister Mary Martin is helping to develop leadership skills in Angie, neither woman seems to want to make it the cornerstone of her experience. “I didn’t join the Sisters to be a leader,” Sister Mary Martin says modestly. “It was a religious calling that brought me in. I’ve had leadership positions in the past, but I don’t really think of myself that way most of the time.” Angie adds, “Leadership skills are important, of course. But that’s not why I became a St. Joseph Worker. I didn’t think of it as a course in leadership. I thought of it as a great opportunity to effect social change.” Leadership is one of the core values of the Worker program (along with Social Justice, Spirituality, Intentional Community and Living Simply). In fact, this is one of the few volunteer opportunities in the country that focuses on training women to become leaders for social change. Yet Angie and Sister Mary Martin have difficulty talking about it. Could it be that the culture of equality and humility these two women

share prevents them from discussing a subject as self-aggrandizing as leadership? Or is leadership simply a difficult topic for anyone to articulate? It’s a little of both, says Doug Menikheim, expert in the principles of leadership (see article on page 10). “The Sisters’ culture does leave them with an unusual reluctance to label themselves as leaders. But even in other walks of life, the most successful leaders aren’t exactly sure what made them that way.” If there’s one person who is comfortable talking about leadership among the St. Joseph Workers, it’s Sister Suzanne Herder, who heads the program. It’s her job to select the future leaders from among the crop of young women who present themselves yearly before the SJW interviewing board. If she does her job well, the Sisters will find the right kind of raw material to work with. “The St. Joseph Worker program,” Sister Suzanne says, “is for young women who would like to be mentored into leadership. We can help them accomplish that goal by assigning them to work in various community organizations. But if they want to make a difference in the world, they must find their own authentic style of leadership. While they’re with us, we help them find their own voice, speak their own truth, recognize their own values, and then share them with other

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people. We hope to foster in them the courage they need to work as dynamic leaders who can

mentorship the Sisters offer them in exchange for their year of volunteerism.

bring about positive social change.” There’s a compelling reason why the Sisters of St. Joseph feel the need to mentor a group of young women in the ways of social justice. Today, the average age of the 300 or so CSJs in St. Paul is about 75 years. Fewer women want to take vows these days, even if they do have a desire to live a life of service to others. And although the number of nuns in the U.S. has more than halved in the last 40 years, it’s evident to the Sisters here that the need to work for positive social change has not halved. Instead it has increased exponentially. As a result, the Sisters began the St. Joseph Worker program in 2002. They conceived it as a parallel universe to the CSJs, offering the chance for young women to live in community and make positive social change ——just as Catholic Sisters do —— but without the obligation of permanent religious vows. (Or even the requirement to be Catholic.) The program began five years ago with just two volunteers. This year there are 13 Workers. They are in their early twenties, just past college and looking for something positive to do with their lives. In many cases, they were raised in homes where social causes were discussed nightly over pot roast. Workers are recruited annually from all around the country. They often encounter the CSJs for the first time at a volunteer service fair. In spite of their deep appreciation for the spirituality that enfolds and supports them, the St. Joseph Workers don’t feel the need to profess vows. They are content to pursue their commitment to social change as laypeople —— bolstered by the room and board, the $100 monthly stipend, the health insurance, and the two free classes at the College of St. Catherine. Not to mention the lifelong spiritual

During their time as Workers, under the guidance of the Sisters, the young women learn to serve the unmet needs of the community with dignity and respect. They also learn how to run effective organizations for change, in a program that includes leadership training, retreats, workshops, community nights and mentoring relationships. The Workers live together in two totally nondescript houses: one in Minneapolis, one in St. Paul. There is nothing about the houses, inside or out, that gives away the residents’ common purpose. In the modest dining room of the St. Paul house, two more Workers, Megan Kuhl and Jennifer Haut, sit down to talk. They’re asked about the paths that led them to the program. The story Jennifer tells is probably the most common one. “I knew that I wanted to do a year of service after college,” she says. “I just wasn’t sure what form it would take. When I stumbled onto this program, I knew right away it was the one.” But Megan’s tale is slightly different: “I had no intention of volunteering. I wanted to get a job at a nonprofit after I graduated. But I stayed with friends at the Minneapolis SJW house and decided this kind of social conscience community was what I really wanted. ‘Megan,’ I said, ‘it’s calling you.’” After some encouragement, both women warm to the topic of leadership. Megan speaks up first. “I’ve had a lot of training in leadership,” she says, “but this is a whole different kind. It’s not managerial at all. It’s living by pure example, knowing yourself, making yourself appealing to others so they’ll follow you. That’s the kind of leader I want to be, and this program encourages that.” Jennifer says, “Some of us think we have

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the background for leadership; some aren’t so confident.” Then she adds, “I think all 13 of us would define it differently.” Megan refers to the tagline of the St. Joseph Worker Program, which is women committed to social change. “Even saying that we want to be committed to social change is radical,” she says. “In a way it’s taking a leadership role just to say it.” She also points out that the CSJs are known for pushing the envelope as far as women’s leadership role within the church is concerned. “We’ve become accustomed to the way the Sisters do things. We think that’s how it should be.” Monday evenings are special for the Workers. That’s when they gather together for “Sharing of the Heart,” a centuries-old CSJ tradition. A question is asked and the Workers strive to answer in as heartfelt a way as possible. “How were you a leader this week?” is one most often asked. This sharing of stories, witnessing each other’s successes and failures, fosters their courage to lead. In a year (or two, if they “reenlist”), they will move on to other places, other lives. But they will move on with greater confidence and a finer sense of purpose. The Sisters like to say that these young women have received a “passport to the world.” Everything they’ve accomplished in their time with the Sisters will sustain them in their lives as teachers, lawyers, nonprofit workers, neighbors, family members and leaders in the social justice community —— wherever they end up. They swear the Sisters will always be part of them. “When I began the program,” says Jennifer, “I had no idea how present the Sisters would be in our daily lives. I want to keep that presence with me forever.” The Sisters will never forget them either. “Our St. Joseph Workers never really leave us,”

says Sister Suzanne. Indeed, every Worker who has gone through the program is still in touch with the Sisters somehow, somewhere. As director of the program, Sister Suzanne has the final word on the leadership they’ve shown. “Whether they can articulate it or not,” she says, “these 13 women have definitely shown their authentic leadership skills this past year. I know they will take those skills out into the world and do great things.” ✝ The 2006-2007 SJWs: living examples of leadership Alena Chaps Coordinated ELL program at HOPE community; started Reading Circles for English learners. Christy Fast Advocated for Latino patients at St. Mary’s Health Clinics. Lila Gilbert Advocated for victims of human trafficking; facilitated meditation at Peace House. Jennifer Haut Was a coordinator for the America Reads program. Maggie Hartzheim Began a Christmas gift collection program at Cornerstone, a domestic abuse shelter. Katie Heil Set up Christmas gift giving program at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Megan Kuhl Conceived and executed the Alternative Advent Fair at Cretin-Derham Hall. Caroline Martin Coordinated the Global Health Project at Health East. Christie Mueller Advocated for women in transition at Sarah’s...An Oasis for Women. Lylee Rauch-Kacenski Planned and coordinated 11th Day Prayer For Peace with the Justice Commission. Melissa Schmidt Planned and executed various promotional efforts for Wisdom Ways and Heart of The Beast theater. Angie van den Hemel Tutored adult English learners at the Vineyard School. Anika Walz Headed the Darfur projects for the Minnesota Council of Churches; helped with Day On The Hill.

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ur leadership mission.

“Without a vision, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18)

Leadership Team is also encouraged to seek out those with helpful knowledge, skill or expertise when needed. The third principle, mutuality, acknowledges that we are colleagues in our lives and work together, and that each of us has the capacity for performing leadership functions in our own contexts. Sometimes we are called upon to exercise “courageous followership,” as we discussed in a community sponsored leadership seminar last year. That may mean bringing disagreement to the fore so alternative views can offer enlightenment about an issue. Or stepping up to do the “heavy lifting” that moves a vision to real outcomes, or taking the risk to ask just the right question at just the right time. Or it may mean offering support for those who are serving in ways that challenge their reserves. The fourth principle is accountability. We hold for ourselves an expectation of collective and personal responsibility in our acting and in our being. And that means caring about each other and our work, providing equal access to information and power, equitable use of resources, and active participation in the life of the community. It also means pitching in and helping out whenever and however possible. We strive to act out of these principles in whatever capacities we serve. We also strive to be the loving presence of Jesus in our world today. And for that, each of us must hold the vision, and participate in the dance that moves us from leadership in its many manifestations, to courageous followership, to supportive presence. ✝

The Sisters of St. Joseph are impelled by a mission that guides our interactions with one another and with our neighbors: Animated by the Spirit of Jesus, we reach out in compassion and justice to meet the needs of our time. From this mission flows our vision: • To share our spiritual and temporal resources. • To act as agents of systemic change to effect a just society and sustainable life on Earth. • To build on historical relationships and develop new alliances and networks. • To foster and promote leadership for the future. • To revitalize community and increase vowed membership and other opportunities for deeper participation in the mission. To accomplish this vision, we commission our Sisters who serve on our Leadership Team to facilitate our interactions in keeping with four principles. The principle of subsidiarity means that those immediately involved in an issue take responsibility for making decisions that affect them. If all of the Sisters will be affected, then all the members are given the opportunity to contribute to the final decision. Though on occasion our proceedings may seem inelegant and cumbersome, in the end we stand together in our purpose. Through the principle of collaboration we hold that the best decisions are the ones that bring together all the stakeholders in a decision, both within the community and in our interactions with partners in our mission and ministry. Our

Karen Hilgers, CSJ

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he Power Summit. Citizenship track, which focused on sharing water and other resources. There was also a track called Sustainability, which dealt with organic farming and all the concerns surrounding that. Over the four days of the Summit, we had educational sessions and then time to think about and apply what we were learning. And the keynote speakers were amazing. As a result of this exposure to these people and these issues, I know I’ve become a different person. I’m more focused and more interested in social justice now than in theater. I always knew there were things to be done in the world, and now I have some resources to do them. I’m spending time with different kinds of people, people who have the same focus I do. I’m working at Trotter’s Café, where all the food served comes from sustainable sources. I’m in my senior year at Cretin-Derham Hall now, and thinking about applying to Jesuit schools out West, where I believe people are more dedicated to issues like this. I think I’d fit in well out there. In fact, everything I learned at the Power Summit gives me the idea that I really can change other people’s lives for the better ——or maybe just my own. ✝

I was in my sophomore year at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul when I first heard about the Power Summit put on by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Up till then, I was involved in theater, and thinking I might eventually go to the East Coast to college. But one of my older sisters had gone to a Retreat Day the year before and met Jennifer Tacheny, who coordinates the Power Summit with Sister Jill Underdahl. My own sister knew I had some interest in social justice, so together they recruited me to attend the first Power Summit in the summer of 2006. That year they had different tracks that you could go on. I chose the Non-Violence track. Those few days at the Summit put it in my mind that, somehow and some way, I wanted to keep on working with the people I met there. They put me in such a good mood. It made me feel like there were things that I could actually accomplish. When I went back to school in the fall, I got more active in social justice issues. My sisters and brother and I went on the School of the Americas protest at Fort Benning, Georgia, where the U.S. is training Latin American soldiers to terrorize their own people. It was both scary and fulfilling and made me want to do even more. Then the Sisters asked me to help lead the next Power Summit, held this past summer. I helped come up with the activities for the Global

Annie Hill

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ontagious leadership.

Sometimes it seems as if leadership is catching. It starts with one person. That person has an idea, an urge, an obsession. Or maybe just a simple question: “Why are so few kids in my neighborhood playing hockey these days?” And the next thing you know-¡qué milagro¡ It’s a miracle. Dozens of Latino kids are taking to the ice in Richfield, Minnesota, in part because of their families’ connections with St. Mary’s Health Clinics, a program of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Health Clinics. MIRA is a focal point for the Latino community in the suburb. Families take their children there for medical care. “We went to MIRA and met with Ruth and Telma,” Steve says. “To our surprise, they ran with the idea.” “The Latino community thinks this sport is only for Anglos,” says Ruth. “But I said, okay, I’ll try to get them to participate. I said to the moms, ‘Maybe you don’t like this activity, but maybe your kids will.” She and Telma were persuasive enough to get a large group of moms and their kids, ages four through nine, to show up at a Free Skate night. There, the kids laced up ice skates for the first time in their lives. Steve says, “We picked them up and dropped them on the ice. Surprisingly, they got into it pretty quickly.” Some of their moms were brave enough to put on skates, too —— and that’s when the Latino hockey program truly was born. In hesitant English, hockey mom Ivon Meza says, “I see Victor play hockey and I’m happy for him.” “She yelled loud,” claims Victor, age 10. Another mom, Ofelia Navarro, describes her son’s reaction: “Diego told me, ‘Mom, I want to play hockey. Come with me, come with me.’” “We thought we might get one team together,” Steve says, “but we got almost three. And the

In this case, person zero was Jeremy Hanson. He’d grown up playing city hockey in Richfield. Lately, he had been watching sadly as the hockey program he had loved so much as a kid began to die out. It seemed as if Richfield kids just weren’t interested in the sport anymore, and it didn’t take Jeremy too long to figure out why. He did some demographic research. Though there were approximately 2000 kids in the school system the right age for Mites hockey, a significant number of them had no hockey playing tradition at all, no interest in putting on skates. They were Latino. Jeremy was not deterred. He talked it over with his brother, Steve, who also grew up playing for city teams in the Richfield Hockey Association. Together they decided to rescue their beloved hockey program by challenging the idea that Latinos don’t play hockey. As Steve says, “It’s what we do in Minnesota. We play hockey.” The Association was backing them. Now all the two Anglos had to do was convince los niños Latinos —— who had never thought of lacing on a pair of ice skates ——to give it a try. This is where Ruth Evangelista and Telma Feight come in. They worked for MIRA, a Latin resource center located at the Church of the Assumption, which collaborated with St. Mary’s

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Ruth explains, “The Anglo community and the Latino community are working together on this. So here we have something in common.” It seems that, when leadership catches on, miraculous things really can happen. ✝

attrition we were expecting never happened. The first time we played our games, every kid was there, and the stands were full of parents.” Though there were team sponsors, and donations helped out, all the families paid the full amount required to participate in the Mites program. Organizational leadership was required of the families. And there were sacrifices-as any hockey mom will tell you. However, these hockey moms tell of traveling to games not in a minivan, but on a city bus —— with sometimes three or four smaller children and that awkward hockey equipment in tow. Without that kind of commitment from 20 moms, Ruth believes the program would not exist. At season’s end, the Latino teams were invited to take the ice between periods at a Richfield high school game. Each player’s name was called out over the loudspeaker as the crowd cheered. It was a big moment for some small hockey players. Steve coached one of the three teams. “It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” he says, with a great deal of pride. But whatever he and Jeremy got out of their adventure in leadership, it pales in comparison to what the Latino families got. When they speak of confidence, of self-esteem, of acceptance, they don’t just mean on the ice.

Porque soy unico, Porque soy Latino, Puedo alcanzar mis metas. Because I am unique, Because I am Latino, I can reach my goals. Sign on the wall at MIRA clinic

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olding the mirror.

Doug Menikheim, Captain, USN (ret.) is the co-director of the Centre for Applied Leadership and an adjunct professor in the MBA program at the University of St. Thomas. Doug has a BS in Naval Science, a MS in Personnel Administration, and has completed coursework for a PhD in Organizational Psychology. The clientele at the Centre consists of standard small to medium sized businesses. But lately, he’s been talking precepts of leadership with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Doug says he’s come to feel a deep connection with the Sisters.

leadership in their organization, and they’ve been at it for nearly 400 years. They are as tight a group as you’ll ever find.

Q If they’re already doing everything right, why is it important for them to define it?

A Two reasons. First, because they don’t know

Q You’re a graduate of the Naval

A Surprising, isn’t it? I feel more at home with

they’re doing it right. They don’t see that leadership is part of their culture. The CSJs have the hardest time acknowledging that they’re leaders. After all, their culture values humility. We’re helping them hold a mirror up so they can see who they are, and giving them the language to articulate their own brand of leadership.

them than with most groups I associate with. I think it’s because we have mutual respect for each other’s purposeful devotion to peace. We just take different paths to get there.

Q And the other reason? A If they don’t understand what they’re doing

Academy. You had a 28-year career in the military commanding both ships and a shore station. And yet you feel a kinship with the peace-loving CSJs?

right, how can they pass it on to those who come after them? The Sisters used to work in hierarchical organizations, like schools and hospitals, which were a natural leadership training ground. When they left those settings, they lost their traditional structure. They’re having to reinvent themselves.

Q

Why did you and the CSJs begin this leadership exploration in the first place?

A They invited me to join them in a kind of ad hoc way, as they attempted to define and refine what leadership means within their community.

Q What is their leadership structure now? A It’s unusual. Every five years, they appoint

Q Do you admire the CSJ style of leadership? A Very much so. They’re doing pretty much

three Sisters of equal rank to guide the decisionmaking process for their community. They listen

everything they should be doing to foster

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A I believe so. We’ve been evaluating their

to all points of view, and then decide on a course of action. It can take forever to make a decision. But once it’s made, the other Sisters, even those with other ideas, responsibly support it. They agree to disagree. There’s not a corporation on earth that could function that way, but the Sisters do.

culture using the five precepts of leadership (see below). No one exemplifies those precepts better than the Sisters. They know what it means to integrate the intellect and the soul. They have what it takes to be both a courageous follower and effective leader. It requires sacrifice. The Sisters get that. They live it every day.

Q

Is that why it’s important to foster leadership in women who join their order?

A Yes, but they recognize that they have a

Q If leadership can’t be taught, how

more pressing problem now. As their numbers wane, the Sisters have felt the need to develop laypeople to take up their mission —— St. Joseph Workers, Consociates, volunteers —— women and men who can carry on their work without benefit of the structures of Sisterhood.

A Once the Sisters themselves come to some

will you know when this effort has been successful?

consensus about their own brand of leadership, then they can not only hold it up and look at it, but they can give it as a gift to the next generation. ✝

Q So that explains why they came to you? Five Leadership Precepts Leadership is internally derived and externally manifested.

leaders and knowledgeable guides to provide critical feedback, you learn to make effective choices. You learn how to hold yourself accountable for mistakes.

By understanding who you are, you can understand what kind of leader you can become. Authentic leadership comes from the inside and projects outward. You cannot lead by simply applying someone else’s style to yourself.

Leadership must be intended. At the heart of intention is the realization that your actions are key to the success of the effort or enterprise. Effective action springs from the intention to lead. Intention fuels the courage, heart and discipline leadership requires.

The apprenticeship of leading is following. Being a courageous follower is the first challenge on the path to authentic leadership. To courageously follow, you must be a loyal challenger, take a stand for what is right, raise alternative ideas, bring hidden assumptions to light, and whole-heartedly participate with the leader in moving forward.

Leadership occurs when emotions, intellect and spirit work together. Activating just one of those personal qualities is not enough. All three must work together synergistically to make you an effective leader. Together they foster competency, trust and a meaningful expression of purpose. Above all, leadership is a holistic process.

Leadership cannot be taught, but it can be learned. You cannot book-learn leadership. It must be learned through trial-and-error. With experienced

Doug Menikheim

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nd justice for all.

The Justice Commission. The name conjures up a phalanx of superheroes out to right wrongs wherever they find them. But in this case, it refers to something very real: the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph. They are not superheroes. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to stand strong in the name of truth, justice, and a better way of life for everyone.

well as perform the right actions —— ones that will eventually diminish suffering and lead to justice for all. It also encourages the Sisters to ask themselves this: what more can be done —— now —— to make justice happen? Because the job is so big and their numbers are so limited, the Sisters of St. Joseph must first “collect power” according to Linda Crosby, current co-Chair of the Commission. The Commission (8 Sisters and 13 Consociates, who are lay members of the CSJs) draws people together from both inside and outside the CSJ community, recruiting interested others to join the struggle with them. Once the power of many people working together toward a common goal is amassed, she says, “Then we can move out into the community to do our mission.” “That collective power for mission has been our bond,” adds Ginger Hedstrom, the Commission’s other co-Chair. “It draws us and it drives us.” Unfortunately, the Commission members can’t follow up on every injustice in the world. Says Joänne Tromziak-Neid, Justice Coordinator for the St. Paul Province, “We ask the members where their passion is, and then where their energy is. We might have a passion to see a particular change happen, but not the energy. You need the energy to pursue it.”

Since their founding in France in 1650, the Sisters of St. Joseph have cared for poor and oppressed people wherever they find them, all across the globe. But for these Sisters, charity is not enough. Their mission also calls on them to determine the root causes of poverty and oppression existing within governments and societies and to work to eliminate those causes on a systemic level. At times throughout history, this struggle for justice has cost the Sisters their freedom, sometimes even their lives. And yet the work goes on —— globally, regionally, locally, and personally. Here in the St. Paul Province, this never-ending quest for justice through systemic change is the work of the 21 people known as the Justice Commission. They are guided in this advocacy work by the Sisters’ own Acts of Chapter, which includes a challenge “to be in right relationship with people who are exploited and impoverished and to be in right relationship with the earth.” This guiding principle compels them to ask the right questions as

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Legislative Advocacy Partners Preparing for the 2008 Conversation with our Legislators.

Earth Partners Ensuring environmental sustainability, with an emphasis on water and climate change.

Immigration Working on UN Millennium Goal #8: partnering globally for development.

Homophobia Hetersosexism Promoting the understanding of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual persons.

Dismantling Racism

Justice Commission Working for systemic change by promoting awareness, education and action.

Heightening awareness of racism in the areas where privilege blinds us.

Human Trafficking Focusing on sexual trafficking of women and children

Ending Poverty in MN

Criminal Justice

Encouraging the work of the Minnesota Legislative Commission to end poverty by 2020.

Influencing Federal legislation; distributing duffle bags to those released from prison.

unearth all options, and talk with the people most affected by the injustice —— until the group members know their subject thoroughly. By this point, says Linda, “You’re part of something so much larger than yourself. You’re moving forward in a collaborative and consensus leadership model.” The group’s findings are then reported back to the full Commission. Most often the Commission supports their recommendations and involves the whole CSJ community in the conversation. Decisions to take action for systemic change are most often made this way, within the community at large. Linda says, “We disagree sometimes. But we make decisions everyone can live with. There’s no sabotage or undermining.

When a need is identified, a working group or a less-permanent task group is formed to address it. The working groups in turn invite any Sisters, Consociates or interested others with passion for the subject to join them in the work of the group. Currently, there are groups organized around eight topics: Criminal Justice, Dismantling Racism, Earth Partners, Homophobia and Heterosexism, Human Trafficking, Immigration, Legislative Advocacy Partners and Ending Poverty in MN. The first order of business for any newly formed group is learning everything there is to learn about their subject. “Doing our homework,” as Ginger calls it. They explore all possibilities,

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It’s very different from most corporate environments.” In fact, leadership on the Commission is about raising others up, putting them into an energetic, dynamic, fluid environment, and then putting aside your own ego to do what’s best for the group’s success. Once a course of action is decided upon, the Justice Commission swings into action. Distribution links disseminate what they’ve learned. That’s how the struggle for justice reaches the broader audience beyond the Commission. Everyone in the community makes it her business to learn the Commission’s point of view. Sisters and Consociates interested in the topic ask to be kept informed. That way, when the advocacy phase begins, the community speaks clearly, loudly and with one voice. The Sisters have found, over the years, that a communal voice, calling for truth, justice and freedom for the poor and oppressed can be a powerful thing. Needless to say, the main work of the Commission and its many groups is advocating for justice. Bringing about change in the system peacefully through legislation. It is indeed about educating legislators on specific issues, but what the Commission is doing is not lobbying. Lobbyists are paid to represent one topic or special interest or industry. These advocates volunteer their time on the Commission, and they represent many different topics of interest. Locally, the thrust of this work is aimed at the Minnesota legislature in St. Paul, though the work also goes on within the national federation of the CSJs ––in Washington and up to the United Nations level.

Who better to explain how it’s done than Joan Wittman, head of the Legislative Advocacy Partners Working Group? The first subject: Action Alerts. “We have a ready network of 80 to 90 people called LAP (Legislative Action Partners),” she explains. “When they receive an Action Alert, they contact their own legislators by phone, or email or in person, to advocate on behalf of the dear neighbor.” The Action Alerts, coming out of the various working groups, describe in great detail the issues at stake in a matter before the legislature. During the last legislative session, the LAPs handled 14 Action Alerts. There is another way for the working groups to educate others. It’s called Justice Night. Each month, a different working group, with their unique focus, takes on the responsibility of hosting a gathering and presenting their own program. The evening is part education, part social event, part spiritual experience. Anyone who is interested is invited to hear what the group has to say. That includes the whole neighborhood. But perhaps the most popular means of advocacy the Commission uses is referred to as Conversations With Legislators, which take place at the CSJ Provincial House. Picture a dining room filled with constituents, sitting around small tables, primed and ready to talk something over with their senators or representatives. They have spent the morning going over extensive briefs on various topics. They are ready for in-depth discussions on matters of their choosing. In the afternoon, the invited legislators arrive, and for one and a

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half hours straight, they talk completely off-script with the people they work for. “They look forward to these days,” Joan says. “They enjoy finding out what their constituents are thinking. Especially constituents as well-informed as we are.” What’s next for the Justice Commission? Recently, the state legislature has formed a

Committee to End Poverty in Minnesota. The Justice Commission has just formed a working group. It is another group of dedicated people getting together to speak up for the rights and interests of the dear neighbor. And united in their certainty that the Gospel demands nothing less. ✝

The Justice Commission: Triumph for Liberians

of Tee Tee, a Liberian and former resident at Sarah’s...An Oasis For Women (one of the CSJ ministries). The CSJs quickly took action. In March 2007, the Province Leadership Team invited Senators Klobuchar and Coleman to sign on as co-sponsors of Senate file 656, providing PRS for Liberians. They soon signed on. Action Alerts and postcards were sent out in support of PRS. Together with several other advocacy groups, CSJs on a national level urged passage of the bill. Finally, on September 12 of this year, President Bush, recognizing that Liberia was not ready to receive these repatriates, signed an Executive Order allowing them to remain in this country through March of 2009. While this is a victory, the work of the Immigration Working Group goes on until Liberians receive full Permanent Resident Status.

Most Liberians who live in the United States came here as a result of the civil war in their home country that ended in 2003. Though immigrants from other countries obtain Permanent Residence Status (PRS) after 4 to 10 years, the Liberians are still waiting. On October 1, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security terminated the Temporary Protected Status for all Liberian immigrants, effective October 1, 2007, claiming Liberia now has a democratic government. The order meant that hundreds of thousands of people, legal immigrants, were about to be deported. Lives would be torn apart. Families separated. And people who had once fled their homeland under threat of death would be returned to an uncertain fate. The Immigration Working Group was made aware of the termination order through newspaper reports and the efforts

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WE CAN:

L

Lessons from Geese

eading from where you are.

Fact: When the lead goose flying in formation gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet can’t be leaders without the support of friends and neighbors who believe in their mission. Sometimes that support is physical or emotional. Sometimes it’s spiritual. And sometimes it’s financial. If you think the efforts of the Sisters of St. Joseph are important to our community, please consider supporting those efforts in any way you can. Maybe you can’t be on the front lines of the struggle for justice, but you can write a check. Maybe you can’t volunteer your time to train future leaders, but you can open your wallet. Maybe you can’t dedicate your life to help those in need, but you can give a generous donation to the Sisters of St. Joseph. Empower the leadership of the Sisters with your pocketbook. And, in a very real way, you’ll be practicing leadership, too.

Dayna Burtness grew up in Coon Rapids, and had, by her account, a normal childhood there —— one that had nothing to do with farming. But something happened to Dayna between her freshman and sophomore years at St. Olaf College that turned this young woman into a dedicated environmental activist specializing in sustainable agriculture. In the process, Dayna discovered within herself the courage it takes to be a leader.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others’ skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

Transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network, based on the work of Milton Olson. Visit www.csjministriesfoundation.org/links.aspx to read the other four lessons.

Possumus is Latin for we can. It sums up the drive and willpower that identifies the Sisters of St. Joseph as one of the most influential non-profit organizations working in Minnesota in the past 150 years.

As an Environmental Studies major, I wanted some hands-on experience. So I signed up for a 3-month internship at Foxtail Farms, which has a community supported agriculture program in Osceola, Wisconsin. I had never thought about my food before and where it came from. They really opened my eyes to the food cycle and the ridiculous things going on in American agriculture. All of a sudden it hit me: I could use some of St. Olaf’s land to start an organic farm and supply the college cafeteria with fresh produce. I’m the kind of person that, if I get an idea, I just assume it’s possible. So I emailed the Curator of the college land about my idea. He told me all the reasons why I couldn’t do it. I have to admit I gave up on it for, maybe...an hour. But I went ahead and found an acre of land nearby, then approached the company that manages the cafeteria. After I showed the college that I already had everything I needed, they said yes and I was farming. Now you might call that being courageous and persistent, but I call it being stubborn and impatient. Those are two of my best qualities.

Move toward a world of hope, reconciliation, and justice for all people. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Achieve universal primary education. Promote gender equality and empower women. Reduce child mortality. Improve maternal health. Combat HIV/AIDS malaria and other diseases. Ensure environmental sustainability. Develop a global partnership for development. From the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

To make a donation to support the programs of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, please visit www.csjministriesfoundation.org Or send your check to: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province Ministries Foundation 1884 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Remember, you don’t have to be a saint or a hero, or be rich, to do enormous good. You just have to be willing. Thank you.

Dayna Burtness Visit us on the web at www.csjministriesfoundation.org for updates on previous articles you read in Possumus.

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Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Ministries Foundation www.csjministriesfoundation.org


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Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province Ministries Foundation 1884 Randolph Ave. Saint Paul, MN 55105

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID St. Paul, MN Permit No.1990

F A L L 2 0 07 L E A D E R S H I P

Leading the Way Lord, inspire us today with the qualities of good leadership. Give us insight to make wise decisions, integrity to face the truth, courage to make difficult choices and compassion

POSSUMUS We Can

for the needs of others. Make us a model of justice and honor to the world, and let us never forget that our job is to serve both You and others.

Please tear off and use this bookmark as a companion in your reading and prayers.

A Publication of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Ministries Foundation

Possumus - Fall 2007  

Fall 2007 Leadership

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