Building ongoing formation into organizational culture enables leaders and staff members to continue to ‘tell the story’:
‘Our “originating memory” is important but it is more important that “the story must go on”. In other words, a sense of mission and identity is partly developed through a dialogue with past traditions on the one hand and the imaginations of those who join these faith-based institutions today.’ (John Honner)
Each organisation will shape and model its Catholic identity and express its mission in different ways through understanding and articulating its own particular heritage and telling the story in new ways through the talents, imagination and passion of those who join it today and into the future.
Ongoing formation, exploring in greater depth the riches of Catholic identity and the Mission and culture of the organisation, builds upon the initial formation experience of Orientation/Induction. In many Catholic health, education and community service organisations, these further formation opportunities occur incrementally, with formation experiences becoming longer and deeper with the length of years served or because of the seniority of the position held.
Most of the ongoing formation experiences listed below have been painstakingly designed specifically to lead employees, and especially leaders, to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the charism, heritage, culture and values of particular organisations. Most of these programs are sequential, aiming for an incremental deepening of commitment. Most of them are able, however, to be adapted to the needs of other Catholic organisations and used as templates
- Catholic Health Australia has produced an excellent video series of reflections by senior leaders and experts in response to questions about Catholic identity and mission. Although the focus is on health and aged care services, the material is easily adaptable and provides stimulating material for workshops and discussion groups and features, among others, Brian Lucas, Cath Garner, Therese Carroll, Julie Edwards and David Ranson. www.cha.org.au/mission/webcasts.html
- Mercy Mission and Charism Formation Framework: This resource book is aiming to develop a strong Mercy culture. Leading participants into a deeper appreciation of Mercy mission and charism over their years of employment. This ongoing formation process lends itself to adaptation by other organisations. For more information click here.
- Edmund Rice Education Australia Formation in Identity series is a suite of programs that incrementally lead participants to a deeper understanding of identity and mission in the Edmund Rice tradition. A sophisticated ‘journey’ inviting greater involvement and commitment at each level from initial induction to long term commitment by leaders. Open to adaptation, this series provides a template for ongoing formation with a strong scriptural basis: http://www.erea.edu.au/programs
- Campion Jesuit Retreat Centre, 99 Studley Park Road, Kew. Provides various informal courses in the Ignatian tradition and accredited graduate courses linking leadership and spirituality. Graduate courses are provided through the Sentir Graduate College of Spiritual Formation affiliated with the University of Divinity, Melbourne. For information, go to: www.campion.asn.au
- Heart of Life Spirituality Centre, 96 Albion Road, Box Hill, offers a number of short courses in spirituality of interest to health, education and community service providers. Go to: http://heartoflife.melbourne/ for further information.