On-Going Formation

The Ongoing Formation Committee supports and promotes shared study. Below is a bibliography of books and dvds we are currently studying or have studied and recommend.

The Committee recommends using a Horizon Analysis approach to study, which involves asking yourself these questions:

What in this material attracts me? Why?
What in this material do I resist? Why?
What questions does this material raise for me?
What questions does this material answer for me?
What questions does this material not answer for me?
What challenged me?

We are currently studying:

Risk Shaped Discipleship
by Terry Biddington
Resource Publications, Inc., San Jose, CA, 2010

“All discipleship needs to be risk-shaped if it is to truly respond to the challenge of communicating hope for today’s world…The law given by God on Sinai gives the Israelites a much needed sense of identity. The law also proposes the possibility of a radically different social ethic based on God’s covenant.”

The author goes on to say that the authority of the Church and the people of God who are the Church “must learn how to respond afresh and inclusively to the pastoral needs of society.”


Keys to the Council/ Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II
by Richard Gaillardetz and Catherine Clifford
Liturgical Press Collegeville, MN, 2012

This book identifies twenty key council passages and considers its larger significance for the life of the Church today. The authors state that, “Consecrated religious life is presented as one of the many ways in which the Holy Spirit provides for the building up of the Church and the furtherance of its mission.”


This bibliography includes DVDs and books that the Ongoing Formation Committee has studied as a group between 2008-2011.


Contemporary Religious Life’s Creative Fidelity to the vision of Vatican II. The presenter is Dr. Richard R. Gaillardetz and the title summarizes the message. Available to Sisters through SHC Library.

Humanity Ascending. A story that spans the history of the evolutionary journey of our species from the Big Bang to current times, where we find ourselves precariously standing at the edge of conscious evolution or self-destruction. The storyteller, Barbara Marx Hubbard, provides the unique perspective of viewing our history through what she terms as “evolutionary eyes” as the unfoldment of a fourteen billion year journey of transformation that is now pressing us forward to give birth to a new experience. Available to Sisters through the SHC Library.

The Narrow Path. John Dear, S.J., is a celebrated peace activist following in the footsteps of the great apostles of nonviolence. He has been arrested and imprisoned over 75 times. He crisscrosses the country and the world tirelessly preaching the message of the nonviolent Jesus. Available to Sisters through the SHC Library.

Mama Earth. This is an entertaining and inspiring road map of successful ways to achieve sustainability through reinventing old methods and finding new paths to healthy communities, protecting natural resources and attaining a more profitable bottom line. Available to Sisters through Earth Literacy Resource Center, Jubilee Farm

9500 Liberty. The account presented in 9500 Liberty “reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens” in Prince William County, Virginia.



Consecrated Religious Life by Diarmuid O’Murchu. O’Murchu prepares “us to move forward, evaluating afresh the time-honored traditions of the vowed life and offering insights to make sense of the challenging new times in which we live.”

Field of Compassion: How the New Cosmology Is Transforming Spiritual Life by Judy Cannato. Judy Cannato, also the author of Radical Amazement, invites all human beings “to take up the challenge that is ours in this particular moment in human history, the invitation to transformation that will change the way our species lives.” The author is ever mindful that we are moved from within by the Holy Spirit to transform, evolve. “. . . Each of us already is, an essential component of one Earth community – a Field of Compassion that embraces all.” The profound message of this book leads naturally to meditation. ISBN -13: 978-1-933495-21-7 ISBN-10: 1-933495-21-9. Available to Sisters hrough SHC Library

The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church by John L. Allen, Jr. Through this book we are given an eye-opening, mind-opening view of the contemporary reality of the Church as “catholic.” The author clearly presents ten trends that he believes will transform the Church by the twenty-second century. “Allen shows that over the next century, the Church will have to respond to changes within the institution itself and in the world as a whole, whether it is contending with biotechnical advances – including cloning and genetic enhancement – facing the reality of an aging Catholic population, or expanding the roles of the laity.”   ISBN 978-0-385-52038-6. Available to Sisters through SHC Library.

A Life of Promise: Poverty, Chastity, Obedience by Francis J. Moloney. Though the copyright is 1984, Moloney’s approach is not dated. Moloney presents an interpretation of the “evangelical counsels” with the eyes and heart of a Scripture scholar who is a vowed religious. His presentation stirs the reader to re-evaluate the traditional interpretation of the vows. ISBN 1-57910-748-6. Available to Sisters through SHC Library.

Proceedings of the 1stAmerican Catholic Council, June10-12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  Transcripts can be found at www.americancatholiccouncil.org: “A Path to Freedom” by Anthony Padovano,“Interview with Hans Kung,” James Carroll’s Keynote Address:  “Reclaiming the Commitment of the People of God.”

Theology Brewed in an African Pot by Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator.  Orobator, a Jesuit priest from Nigeria, makes this written presentation as an African Christian. His book provides an opportunity to view theology and do theology through a cultural lens different from a North American / European lens. Each chapter concludes with three discussion questions and one or more African prayers. ISBN -13: 978-1-57075-795-2 (pbk.)

Quest for the Living God by Elizabeth A. Johnson. “Christian faith does not believe in a new God but, finding itself in new situations, seeks the presence of God there. . . . After the first chapter describes Johnson’s point of departure . . . each succeeding chapter distills a discrete idea of God. Featured are transcendental, political, liberation, feminist, black, Hispanic, interreligious, and ecological theologies, ending with the particular Christian ideal of the one God as Trinity.

Radical Amazement by Judy Cannato. Cannato tells us that “radical amazement . . . is the stance in which we are invited to live, a cultivated way of life filled with attentiveness and vision. . . Radical amazement is the starting point for contemplation . . . ‘taking a long loving look at the real.'” Paula D’Arcy says that “Judy Cannato urges us not to be indifferent to this universe. Her plea for humanity to integrate the new universe story and live into our connection to the Holy Mystery is simply and powerfully made, richly inspiring.”



The following annotated bibliography entries were first shared in 2005:

Arbuckle, Gerald A., S.M. Violence, Society and the Church: A Cultural Approach. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 2004. Violence and its effects are constantly in the news, but the roots of that violence often go unexplained. Violence, Society, and the Church examines the cultural roots of violence and the processes in cultures that foster violence or allow it to occur. Arbuckle analyzes society’s role in violence, the emergence of the New Right in Western societies, and cultural attitudes and issues concerning the Church. The power within mythologies and the process of using mythologies to legitimize violence against others and environment are explained. ISBN # 0-8146-2926-1

Becoming a Religious: A Process of Lifelong Transformation. U.S. Religious Life, Reflection & Dialogue. The Center for the Study of Religious Life, 5401 South Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL 60615-5698. 2002.

Black, Jan and Enns, Greg. Better Boundaries: Owning and Treasuring Your Life. New Harbinger Publications. 1998. Better Boundaries: Owning and Treasuring Your Life provides insight into building healthy boundaries within intimate and social relationships. Self-love and building on personal strengths are also explored as fundamental to sharing oneself with others. ISBN # 1572241071

Borysenko, Joan, Ph.D. Inner Peace for Busy People. Hay House, Inc. 2001. This book contains 52 simple strategies for transforming your life. In a warm, humorous style, Joan presents practical wisdom and easy-to-do exercises that will help reduce stress and create a more peaceful mind. ISBN # 1561708704.

Brewi and Brennan. Mid-Life Psychological and Spiritual Perspectives. Nicolas-Hays, Inc. 2004. In order to help you find sustenance in the hiatus between the first and second halves of life, Brewi and Brennan encourage you to recognize and journal the ongoing stories that form the structure of your life. They also offer ways to experience prayer and meditation as creative paths through the faith crisis of the mid-life years. ISBN # 0892540893

Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything. Broadway Books. 2003. This book is a well-written humorous book of science. The book covers everything from the Big Bang to Civilization. ISBN # 0-7679-0818

Chittister, Joan D. Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. 2003. This book explores the landscape of suffering and hope. People struggle against change, isolation, darkness, fear, powerlessness, vulnerability, exhaustion, and scarring, yet can emerge from them with gifts of conversion, detachment, faith, courage, surrender, endurance, transformation, and hope. ISBN # 0-8028-1216-3.

de Waal, Esther. Lost in Wonder: Rediscovering the Spiritual Art of Attentiveness. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN. 2003. Prayer is the glue that holds all of life in place, sheds light on our choices, and brings perspective to our living. This text invites us to a realization that spiritual fruitfulness does not depend on our anxious performance but is a gift we may freely receive. ISBN # 0-8146-2992-X

Dymsti, Daniel, J. Aging Gracefully. ACTA Publications. 2002. The Keys to Holier, Happier Golden Years unlocks the potential for growth that can remain a hidden treasure within each older person. For each of twelve keys there is a collection of positive, life-affirming sayings and aphorisms intended to spark reflection. Each key concludes with five questions for reflection or discussion and two suggestions for action. ISBN # 0879462329

Finley, James. Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God. Harper:San Francisco. 2004.

Fisher, Donald C. and Allender, Tom, S.J. God Loves an Unmade Bed – Spirituality for the Imperfect. Life’s Journey Marketing, PO Box 482266; Kansas City, MO 64148. In this book, the authors share how God is always present, especially in the messes and struggles of life. The authors present ways to reconnect and stay connected with ourselves, with God and with others. All of our relationships are a mirror of our relationship with ourselves and our God. Thus, spirituality becomes the source of loving one another as God loves us. ISBN # 0-9675948-0-4

Gittins, Anthony J. A Presence That Disturbs: A Call to Radical Discipleship. Ligouri Publications. 2002. The author engages the reader in a fresh perspective on what it means to follow Christ. “Authentic Christianity,” says Gittins, “is outreaching and encountering; it communicates and ministers. These pages are an invitation to renewed discipleship and an appeal to radical Christianity in the footsteps and in the Spirit of Jesus…” ISBN # 0-7648-0848-6.

Hauser, Richard J., S.J. In His Spirit: A Guide to Today’s Spirituality. Paulist Press, 545 Island Road, Ramsey, N.J. 07446. This book is a meditation on and exploration of the person and the Spirit, a guide to knowing better ourselves and the Spirit and the relation between us. ISBN # 0-8091-2421-1.

Humphreys, Carolyn. From Ash to Fire: A Contemporary Journey through the Interior Castle of Teresa of Avila. New City Press. 1992. This book examines each of Teresa’s seven mansions in easy to follow language. It is easy to recognize yourself in the myriad of examples contained in this book. ISBN # 1-56548-040-6.

Law, Eric H. F. Inclusion: Making Room for Grace. Chalice Press. 2000. This book is easy to read, and is motivating for individuals and groups who desire to be inclusive. The author focuses on the process of inclusion from a community perspective.

Law, Eric H. F. The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb. Chalice Press. 1993. Law states in his introduction: “What I have attempted to do in this book is to begin the dialogue and theological reflection on what it means, spiritually and practically, to be a leader in a multicultural community. I have approached this topic through biblical reflection, an analysis of the differences in the perception of power in different cultures, theological reflection, and case studies.” Law also shares some practical processes that he has personally tested in his ministry.

Lue, Lucy. Nonviolent Communication Companion Workbook: A Practical Guide for Individual, Group or Classroom Study. New Webmaster’s Guides, Puddledancer Press. 2003. The companion workbook to Nonviolent Communication provides reviews, activities, and brief assignments that complement the liberating principles of utilizing Nonviolent Communication in everyday life. ISBN # 1892005042.

Nepo, Mark. The Book of Awakening. Conari Press. 2000. This book is a treasure of poetry, reflections and practices that has the possibility of leading one to a deeper relationship with God. ISBN # 1-57324-117-2.

Nouwen, Henri J.M. Life of the Beloved. Crossroad Publishing Co. 1992. A friend asked Henri Nouwen to write a book explaining the spiritual life in terms that he and his friends could understand, avoiding theology and technical language. Nouwen’s answer is, “All I want to say to you is, ‘You are the beloved.'” ISBN # 0-8245-1986-8.

O’Murchu, Diarmuid. Quantum Theology. Crossroads Publishing Co. 2004. This book explores the spiritual dimensions of holograms, quarks, black holes and other facets of quantum physics. ISBN # 0-8245-2263-X.

Wessels, Cletus, O.P. Jesus in the New Universe Story. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y. 2003. Cletus Wessels leads the reader toward an understanding of the meaning of Jesus Christ in the context of what modern theology tells us about the nature of the universe. While maintaining the underlying reality of the biblical story of Jesus, he reinterprets that story through the lens of an emerging universe. ISBN # 1-57075-465-9.

Rolheiser, Ronald. The Holy Longing: Guidelines for a Christian Spirituality. Published by Doubleday, a division of Random House. 1999. Father Rolheiser gets quickly to the heart of the common difficulties in developing and deepening our spirituality. He shows through compelling anecdotes and personal examples how to channel our restlessness, our deep desire into a healthy spirituality. ISBN # 0-385-49418–1

Rolheiser, Ronald. The Restless Heart. Doubleday. 2004. In this book different types of loneliness are identified and the dangers and opportunities they represent in our lives are discussed. Using contemporary parables from literature, film, and his own life, Ronald Rolheiser shows that loneliness can be a tremendously creative and even valuable force when it is recognized, accepted, and used as a dynamic catalyst. ISBN # 0385511140.

Rosenberg, Marshall, B., Ph.D. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values. Puddledancer Press. 2003. An enlightening look at how peaceful communication can create compassionate connections with family, friends, and other acquaintances, this book uses stories, examples, and sample dialogues to provide solutions to communication problems both at home and in the workplace. ISBN # 1892005034.

Shannon, William. Silence on Fire. Crossroad General Interest. 2000. The author suggests that intimacy with God is based upon three levels of mindfulness: of the present moment, of others, and of oneself. Shannon describes obstacles to awareness and offers advice for gaining fuller consciousness. ISBN # 0824518489.

Spirituality & Health, the Soul/Body Connection. P.O. Box 54152, Boulder Co. This magazine provides articles on a wide variety of topics related to Spirituality and Health. The subscription is about $25.00 per year for six issues.

Spirituality and the Two Halves of Life (a video). Rolheiser, Ronald. www.videoswithvalues.org. 2004. ISBN # 1-932142-08-8.

Staudacher, Carol. A Time To Grieve – Meditations for Healing After the Death of A Loved One. Harper Collins Publishers, 10 East 53rd ST., New York,NY 10022. This book is for all survivors who are grieving the loss of a loved one, and for those whose loved ones died some time ago but who have not given themselves a time to grieve. ISBN # 0-06-250845-8.

Svoboda, Melanie, SND. Traits of a Healthy Spirituality. Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic, CT. 1996. In an engaging style, the author defines and describes 20 specific indicators of a healthy spirituality. Drawing on personal experience and key spiritual writers, the author notes how these “signs” can help assess the present state of our Christian spirituality and assist as we advance on the journey of faith. ISBN # 0-89622-698-0.

Swedish, Margaret and Dennis, Marie. Like Grains of Wheat: A Spirituality of Solidarity. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY. 2004. This book shares the stories of North Americans and their direct encounters with the poor of Central America in the 1970s through the 1990s. Through their experiences we see the transforming effects of living “solidarity community”; we see “what Christianity could be for us all, if only we would live it.” (Sister Dianna Ortiz) ISBN # 1-57075-567-1.

Thibault, Jane Marie. A Deepening Love Affair: The Gift of God in Later Life. Upper Room Books. 1993.This book is written to enrich the spirituality of older adults who are still searching for something more, Thibault writes that it is never too late to become aware of God’s gifts or to respond to them. She is convinced that God has saved the best for last . . . the gift of an intimate relationship with Him.

Thurman, Howard. Jesus and the Disinherited. Beacon Press. 1996. Jesus and the Disinherited is a brilliant and compassionate look at the work of God in our lives. It challenges our submersion into individual and social isolation. Although scorned and forced to live outside society, Jesus advocated for a love of self and others that defeats fear and hatred that decays our souls and the world around us. ISBN # 0-8070-1029-4.

Vita Consecrata. John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation published in Origins. April 4, 1996.

Weaver, Joanna. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Waterbrook Press. 2002. With a fresh approach to a familiar Scripture story, Joanna Weaver shows how all of us — Marys and Marthas alike — can draw closer to the Lord: deepening our devotion, strengthening our service, and doing both with less stress and greater joy. The text is an invitation for every woman who has ever felt she isn’t godly enough, isn’t loving enough, isn’t doing enough. ISBN # 1-57856-258-9.

Weavings. 1-800-925-6847, or www.weavings.org. Weavings is a wonderful booklet that is printed 6 times a year with well-written articles on living the Christian life. A subscription costs about $28.00 per year.

Weems, Renita J. Just a Sister Away. Innisfree Press, Inc. 1988. Renita J. Weems sheds light on the relationships of biblical women in new and meaningful ways that connect women today across class, culture, race, and time. ISBN # 0-931055-52-0.

Wicks, Robert. Riding the Dragon: 10 Lessons for Inner Strength. Sorin Books: Notre Dame. 2003.

Wicks, Robert. Sharing Wisdom: the Practical Art of Giving and Receiving Wisdom. Crossroad Pub. Co., New York. 2000. Wicks offers many practical ideas for recognizing the mentors who are a part of one’s ordinary life and identifies the benefits of reaching out to help someone. ISBN # 0-8245-1838-1. Robert Wicks writes both as a psychologist and spiritual teacher. Some of his best books are: Living a Gentle, Passionate life; Touching the Holy; Living Simply in an Anxious World.