Sister of Saint Joseph of Chambery

History Stories

Sr. Barbara Mullen, provincial; Srs. Donna Hoffman and Linda Pepe, councilors

“Leadership: A Collaborative Model”

When one thinks about ‘leadership’ in an organization today, one’s thoughts may gravitate toward the hierarchical structure of a top-down model of decision-making—the essential conversations and decisions move down through the organization, one management level at a time.

Leadership in a religious congregation of women, such as the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry, engages in what we refer to as the collaborative or circular governance model. All members have a voice in decisions that affect the whole community. The best wisdom can rise up from anywhere and generally does. The challenge is to invite every voice to the decision-making table, respecting the challenging voices that may speak to a different outcome than what is expected.

Our three-sister team (Provincial and two Councilors) takes up community leadership for a five-year mandate at a time. We facilitate community conversations that support our life in common and encourage discovering new forms of ministry. Most often, we are led to the best decisions possible for our future together. And we find ourselves inviting other good laypersons to join us in mission—all for the life of the world around us.

At its best, leadership isn’t about authority or power of any kind. From our perspective, it is all about consensus, and collaboration, and action that supports every person, with particular focus on the least among us, without distinction.

If you’d like to know more about us, or if your heart is burning with a passion for serving others in Christ’s name, give us a call at our Provincial Offices, 650 Willard Ave., Newington, CT, at (959) 200-4086.

In photo, from left, Sr. Donna Hoffman. Sr. Linda Pepe, Sr. Barbara Mullen