Current Topics in Religious Community Sponsorship of Schools Alice Hession

Current Topics in Religious
Community Sponsorship of Schools
Alice Hession
[email protected]
Sponsorship Relationships
Canon Law
– Recognize entity as
ministry of the Church
– Faithful administration
of the ministry
– Preservation of
ecclesiastical goods
Civil Law
– The way in which the
canonical reality is
expressed in civil law.
Typically, through
reserve powers that
control mission,
appointment of
alienation of property
Defining Sponsorship
“Sponsorship is a reservation of canonical control by the
juridic person that founded and/or sustains an
incorporated apostolate that remains canonically part of
the church entity. This retention of control need not be
such as to create civil law liability on the part of the
sponsor for corporate acts or omissions but should be
enough for the canonical stewards of the sponsoring
organization to meet their canonical obligations of faith
and administration regarding the activities of the
incorporated apostolate.”
Jordan Hite, TOR
Defining Sponsorship
Sponsorship of an apostolate or ministry is a formal
relationship between a recognized Catholic
organization and a legally formed entity entered into
for the sake of promoting and sustaining the Church’s
mission in the world.
Francis G. Morrisey, OMI
Sponsorship usually entails three important elements
1. Use of one’s name
2. Exercise of certain governance responsibilities
3. Accountability to Church authorities
Sponsorship Myths
• Sponsorship, as we know it, has worked
• It is important that all parties are “on
• Sponsorship is just a mode of governance
• Sponsorship will get us through this “rough
period” with few vocations
• The laity are just not ready for this.
Some definitions …
• A spectrum of relationships between the province
leadership and various institutions (very different from
place to place). Basically a North American issue.
(Holy Cross brothers and priests)
provided at
meeting of
Directors of
Dec. 2002
• Mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship
between the congregation and an organization in
which the SSND charism and educational vision are
defining characteristics of the organization. (School
Sisters of Notre Dame)
• Relationship between congregation and our schools
that insures identity and charism; not tied to
ownership, governance. (CFC Christian Brothers)
Complex, mutually binding set of expectations and
responsibilities freely embraced for the achievement
of a common mission. (Marianists)
Some definitions …
• Relationship between the congregation and its
institution/works. Congregation publicly identifies
with, exerts influence on and provides various levels
of support. (Sisters of St. Joseph, Chestnut Hill)
provided at
meeting of
Directors of
Dec. 2002
Sponsorship is a relationship between the Grey Nuns
of the Sacred Heart and a particular ministry. The
Congregation articulates a vision and establishes
structures, policies, and modes of accountability
which enable the relationship and the ministry to flourish.
The Grey Nuns hold the values of charity and justice as
essential dimensions of the mission. We recognize all
who work with us as partners. We affirm the dignity of
each person and the principles of collaboration, and coresponsibility as the bases for our action.
(Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart)
Some definitions …
provided at
meeting of
Directors of
Dec. 2002
• Relationship between the congregation and its
institution/works. Congregation publicly identifies
with, exerts influence on and provides various levels
of support. (Sisters of St. Joseph, Chestnut Hill)
• Xaverian Sponsorship is a complex of guiding
principles, governance structures, formational
programs and networking opportunities through which
the Xaverian Brothers and their lay collaborators have
come to ensure that the schools that carry the name
Xaverian live up to their mission “to serve the Church in
its work of evangelization, particularly through the
ministry of education.” (Xaverian Brothers)
“Frequently the remark is heard that if we
have encountered one model of sponsorship
we are knowledgeable of just that: one model.
In light of its evolutionary nature no single
snapshot of sponsorship actually exists;
rather the concept can be imaged as a collage
or scrapbook containing various
representations and continually in the
process of being fashioned. ”
- Patricia Smith, OSF
Questions for Discussion
• If you were called on to voice it, what
would you say is your community's
definition of sponsorship?
• What does it mean to “sponsor” today?
• What do you see as the issues tied to
sponsorship today?
Why Sponsorship?
Some possible reasons …
- Deliberate desire to maintain a relationship
> Influence, Governance, Management
- Deliberate desire to collaborate with laity
- Deliberate action to pass on a legacy,
tradition, and culture
Role of the Community in
Corporate Structure
What do
say about
the role the
How does the
exercise that
Civil Structure
- Stated in Articles of
- Reflected in By-laws
The way a Religious Community
drafts the corporate documents for
its sponsored institutions reveals
something about the role the
Community wants to play in the life
of that institution and the role they
are asking their members to fulfill
when they serve on those governing
Traditional Governance Models
• Two-tiered boards
– Members of the Corporation (most often role played
by provincial council or leadership team) reserve
powers; control of documents; appointment of
Trustees/Directors; alienation of property,
appointment of chief administrator; approval of loans
• Boards with two classes of Directors
– One class of Directors (usually members of the
province leadership or appointed by province
leadership) has veto, approval, reserve powers over
certain defined areas.
New/Developing Models
• Sponsorship Boards or
– Group (including both lay
and religious) appointed
by congregational
leadership holds reserve
powers on behalf of
• Contractual Agreement
– Congregation enters into
contract with selfperpetuating board and
has influence and
responsibility for mission
• Public Juridic Person
– Consideration of following
example of Catholic health
care creating a public
juridic person to act as
sponsoring agent
• Association of the Faithful
– Seeking recognition from a
diocese to form an
“association of the faithful”
that would have canonical
status and come under the
proper ecclesiastical
Xaverian Governance Structure
Congregation of the Brothers of Saint Francis Xavier
Elected Leadership
-Appoint Members
-Must approve changes
in corporate documents
-Must approve
alienation of property
-Appoint Chief Administrator
-Establish Policy
-Set and approve budget
-Monitor Mission effectiveness
-Appoint Trustees
-Control Corporate
-Associated Legal
-Mission Effectiveness
Endorse – every member’s work, places
with historic ties.
Operate – own, manage
Sponsor – institutions carry name and
mission, yet may be separate from
congregational corporation.
The Next Generation
• Control vs. Influence vs. Co-creation
• Developing/articulating a theology of
• Critical competencies for Future Sponsors
Formation for the Next Generation
A sponsoring community’s deep story will have to be embedded in
lay communities. There will have to be lay appropriations of the
congregation’s deep story. It takes a long time for a deep story to
be lodged in the heart of a community, lodged so deeply that
members have no choice but to enact it. The Rite of Christian
Initiation for Adults offers a possible model for adult community
formation. Religious congregations may have to give up control of
the deep story so that it can be developed in a thoroughgoing
and coequal lay setting.
Bernard J. Lee, SM “The Beating of Great Wings”
Theology of Sponsorship
• Built on theology of stewardship
• Built on theology of Baptism
For Xaverian Brothers
• Rooted in Fundamental Principles of Xaverian
Brothers and the documents of Vatican II on the
role of the laity in the church
• Vision and values expressed in the Foundational
Documents of Xaverian Sponsorship
• Connected with mission of Xaverian Brothers as
that is lived out internationally
What is the theology that informs sponsorship for you today?
Sacred Trust
 Co-responsibility
 Active, dynamic, living collaboration
• Move by dioceses to limit exposure by creating
new juridic entities (public/private juridic
• Move by Religious Communities to retain fewer
reserve powers in corporations
• Creation of Sponsorship boards or councils who
share some of the reserve powers of Religious
Community leadership over sponsored
• Reconfiguration of Religious Communities
(through merging of provinces, creation of new
national/regional structures) and attempt to
develop national models
Future Issues
• Increased collaboration among diocese and
religious communities in meeting the demands
of the Church’s mission of evangelization
• Continued and further development of lay
sponsorship, forming lay women and men to
claim their own role in the Church and to share
in the stewardship responsibilities.
• Increased networking among institutions –
moving away from competition toward
Civil and Canonical Realities
• Civil Realities
– Changing climate for non-profits
– Liability issues
• Canonical Realities
– Attempt by Vatican congregations to understand
Sponsorship in US context - 1983 Code does not
envision issues in US today
– Effort to define and reign in sponsorship
 Interdependence and mutuality
- We are the Church.
 Co-responsibility and Reciprocal Accountability
- Trustworthy and Faithful
 Vulnerability and Fragility
- We boldly go where none have gone before
Sponsorship is an
invitation to the
Church to co-create
a future even
greater than the
past; an active,
dynamic, creative,
living form of
What do you see as the role of Sponsorship
structures in the future?
What are the issues tied to the next generation
of sponsorship?
What do you see are the most pressing
challenges of co-creation in the future?
Xaverian Brothers
Sponsored Schools
Alice Hession
[email protected]
“Inspiring Lives of
Learning, Faith & Service”