October 26-28, 2012, the Good Shepherd Lay Associates of the New York Province of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a Retreat held at Mariandale in Ossining, New York. Organized by the Good Shepherd Associates Lay Co-coordinators, Bonnie Montour and Denise Charboneau, the retreat’s goal was to connect the Associates’ present with their past as a foundation for moving into the future. Good Shepherd Mediation Program Executive Director Cheryl Cutrona was invited to facilitate the retreat, “A History ‘Paved with Miracles’: Our Tradition of Storytelling.” Members of the Westchester, Peekskill, Boston, and Wickatunk, NJ chapters gathered to generate stories and options to preserve and pass on the lay associates’ charism for future generations. The retreat was inspired by a quotation taken from Ste. Mary Euphrasia’s Conferences, “gather up the pieces so nothing is lost.”
Participants channeled their inner storytellers as they recalled memories explaining how they were attracted to the Good Shepherd Lay Associates and why they remain connected today. Some members have been affiliated with the Good Shepherd Sisters for more than 45 years, longer than the lay associates officially organized. Others were relatively new to the group. As you can imagine, the stories that were shared honored the individual Sisters of the Good Shepherd who inspired them, the deep relationships they have developed over the years as they meet regularly, plan service projects, reach out to members in need, pray together, eat together and demonstrate the core values that they all hope to pass along to future generations.
If “remembering binds us together” (Charles and Anne Simpkinson, Sacred Stories), then the connections formed by the Good Shepherd Lay Associates’ first 30 years will bind them together for a long time to come.