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Photo of Barbara Valuckas SSND.

Our Facilitator, Barbara Valuckas SSND, PhD

Barbara Valuckas SSND, PhD began Pilgrim Ministries, lnc., a facilitation ministry of her congregation, in 1993. She works with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (USA) and the Life and Faith Institute in Lithuania.

Barbara is a School Sister of Notre Dame. Today, October 24th 2013, the School Sisters of Notre Dame celebrate their 180th anniversary. Their community was founded by Blessed Theresa
Gerhardinger in 1833.

Congratulations to all SSND Sisters!

Watch a video where Beta Suryawati fcJ interviews Barbara.

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In 2004 an article of Barbara's "Discernment Chapters of Complex Affairs" was published in Human Development (volume 25 number 4 Winter 2004). Some thoughts from that article are shared here.

We may view a religious congregation as a system in change, which it certainly is during a Chapter.  The article highlights three conditions for change to occur. These are (1) an effective ‘container’ (2) difference within and (3) ‘transforming exchange’ (dialogue).

  1. For a religious congregation, the container of all its activity is its shared story – shared understandings and commitments, which in turn rest within the larger containers of the Christian faith tradition, the world and the cosmos.
  2. The diversity of the congregation’s membership within this broad container is essential for change (growth) in the congregation.
  3. Communal discernment and consensus building are processes that enable ‘openness to God’s imagination for a congregation and transforming exchange among its members for the greater good of the whole’.

Communal discernment 

In order to engage in communal discernment, group members need to know (have a sense of) how God is moving in each other’s hearts. Faith-sharing is therefore essential.  Through faith-sharing trust is deepened and dialogue becomes possible. The group becomes ‘spiritually acquainted’ and so attuned to the guidance of the Spirit.

Consensus building, to which communal discernment leads, takes time.  It depends on very good listening and speaking (sharing) skills.   Consensus building thrives on growing mutual trust and trust in the action of the Spirit. 

If you are interested you can access the whole article in the Human Development archives and download it for a small fee here. (FCJ communities already have a copy.)