Meet Shannon-Lee Maguire
Associate Leadership Training Program
Im an Associate in the Galilee Community of the Sisters
of St. Joseph of Toronto, and have been graced with many wonderful
experiences for the last five years.
In September 2003, I became involved in the newly developed
Leadership Training Program for CSJ Associates in Toronto.
The Sisters leading our different Associate Communities were
asked to submit one or two names of Associates who met certain
criteria, including: having the ability to take initiative,
to speak about our spirit and charism, organizational skills,
and having sufficient health and time to devote to the program.
When I heard about it from our community co-ordinator, Sr.
Grace Sauvé, I was very excited and let her know that
I was definitely interested.
This is a two-year program, where four participants meet
once every two months. One of the wonderful aspects of the
program is that participants are limited to four per year,
to enable sufficient opportunity to practice the skills we
are learning. We have just finished our first year.
I feel very blessed to be able to take part in this program.
We began by hearing the story of the roots of Sisters of St.
Joseph told by the three Sisters who are leading the program.
This led to a powerful moment where we, as Associates, realized
and embraced the fact that this is not just the story of the
Sisters, but of the Associates as well. This is truly "our"
I have learned so much during the first year of the program.
Among other things, we have been introduced to journaling,
been taught a process for reflection and for leading a focussed
conversation. We have been given opportunities to practice
these skills, both in our leadership training meetings as
well as within our own communities and larger Associate gatherings.
Some of these practicum pieces have been nerve-wracking,
but praying for strength and guidance, I have forged on! Its
always an odd feeling for me to stand up in front of a room
full of people and lead a discussion or reflection. There
is always that little space at the end when I feel a bit breathless
and think "did I do okay?" But the Sisters and my
fellow participants are very encouraging and supportive.
We have been given increased opportunities with every session
to practice what we have learned. The skills we have developed
in this program are broad and transferrable, and I have been
able to incorporate them into aspects of my personal life
and work as well.
I recently led a discussion on goal-setting with another
CSJ Toronto Associate Community. While I was nervous at presenting
to a group that wasnt my own immediate, familiar, cozy
Associate family, I was made to feel at home right away. It
also helped to have another program participant and a program
leader in the group for moral support! I received immediate
constructive feedback from the group, my co-participant and
program leader, which was helpful as well.
Overall, I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to
take such an active role in the Associate Community. Its
also exciting to be involved in the grassroots level of this
program, as the Sisters have been soliciting our feedback
as participants to guide them in the formation of the "curriculum",
both for possible revamping of year one, and for building
This program has reinforced my respect for the Sisters of
St. Joseph and my fellow Associates. As with all my CSJ experiences,
my faith has been constantly affirmed and my spirituality
deepened. I am so thankful for this experience, and look forward
to the opportunities it will provide for me to give back to
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