11. The Dream of Being Community

“Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” – Jn 17:11b,21.

“As Jesus Christ is one with the Father and the Spirit, we missionaries should be one with Them, so that the world may come to believe in Christ. We should imitate the communion of life that prevailed among Christ and the apostles, and among the faithful of the early Church, who were united, heart and soul.” – Constitutions, 10.


We are Missionaries. Fraternal life in community is our first missionary statement.[1] Hence, we need to underscore the importance of creating an inspiring vision of our missionary community. We need to have an exciting dream for our community! Pope Francis has constantly been encouraging about having dreams:

Capilla Salaman Det 1989“Don’t lose the ability to dream the future. Each of us needs to dream about our family, our children, and our parents: to imagine how I would like their lives to go. Priests, too, need to dream about what we want for the faithful. Dream as the young dream, who are ‘unabashed’ in their dreams and find their path there. Do not lose the ability to dream, because to dream is to open the door to the future. Be fruitful in the future.” [2]

It is dream that sustains our efforts. Dream gives us the direction. When we have a dream of an ideal Claretian community clearly imprinted in our mind and heart, it will have ‘the power of attraction’ which can draw us towards its achievement.

The Scriptures and our Constitutions give us the image of an ideal community. Other sciences can provide us with insights and information to build on such a foundation. In this theme of “The Dream of Being Community,” we draw on the lines of Appreciative Inquiry approach with its 4-D methodology of Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. We will dwell on the positive strengths discovered in the survey made in preparation for the MS 70.5 Project and create provocative propositions of ideal Claretian community living and suggest ways to design a destiny and its fulfilment locally.

1. Interdisciplinary Foundations

We approach the dream of building community from an interdisciplinary perspective—from biblical, spiritual, Claretian, and psychological perspectives on community building and make use of the insights in dreaming up and building up ideal Claretian communities.

1.1 Biblical Models

We first turn to the Scriptures. We can do this as a community act: The members are invited to study some models of communities from the Old and the New Testaments and discover the qualities of each model. It would be particularly useful to look into the scriptural narratives of the experiences of the apostolic community with Jesus as its center and leader. Given below are two sample models that could be used for the exercise. You may look for and identify other biblical models as well.

a) Exodus Model

The features of the Exodus Community can serve us in our pursuit of being a fully functioning community after the heart of God. Some of its features are:

  • A large group of every kind.[3]
  • They share a common heritage, history, and memory.
  • The Commandments given at Sinai unite them as a community.
  • The centrality of God and Liturgy as the unifying factor: The “Tent of the Tabernacle”[4] and the observance of Sabbath.
  • They sought collective forgiveness in the moments of collective failure.

b) Apostolic Community Model

Some of its characteristics are:

  • Inclusiveness & Diversity: Apostles are called from different walks of life (fishermen, tax-collector, zealot, the learned, the poor), of different nature and character. People of all cultures are welcome in the church.[5]
  • Authenticity: Speaking the truth in love[6]; Do not lie to each other.[7]
  • Mutuality, Being for “one another”.[8]
  • Courtesy & Empathy.[9]
  • Mercy.[10]
  • Humility.[11]
  • Confidentiality: Guard against the tendency to “gossip”[12]; Do not grumble against each other.[13]
  • Frequently meeting together: Do not give up meeting with each other.[14]
  • Provoking one another to love and to do good.[15]

1.2. Theological Models

Theology and spirituality provide abundant resources for understanding and building up communities. We summarize here a few insights from The Gospel-Centered Community: Leader’s Guide by Robert H. Thune and Will Walker.

a) Model of Trinity

The Nicene Creed (c. 325 CE) summarizes the Trinity as a community of persons: one God, three persons. Before any human community existed, even before the universe came into being, God existed, dwelling in perfect harmony, in His threefold being.

In the creation account of the Book of Genesis, this Triune God says: “Let us make man in our image.”[16] We are made to image God and to reflect his likeness. Our longing for community is deep and primal, precisely because we are made to be God’s image-bearers. God wired us for community and communion.

What Jesus redeems us for is to a life that images God and reflects his goodness to the world. Jesus restored our capacity for community; a community made up of people from every tribe and tongue and nation on earth.[17] God has created us for community, and Jesus has redeemed us for community.

b) Eschatological Model

We are called to be a community that reflects “the new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”[18] God wants us to be a renewed creation, where we live in harmony with one another and God. God “sanctifies” us into being a redeemed community with the Holy Spirit as the agent and the Gospel as the tool of sanctification. And, this sanctification takes place in the context of community.

In the context of living in community, we are forced to confront our weaknesses, flaws, and sins… and that is good! That opens us to reach out and embrace one another as weak human beings who need the transforming and sanctifying power of God’s Grace.

c) Spiritual Model

Community is the place where we recognize and honor the image of God in every human being. In community, we blend faith and action to generate commitment for the gospel and to defeat injustice. We rely on scripture reading, prayer, and community worship for inner strength. Some of the spiritual characteristics of the community are:

  • Centrality of Jesus: We belong to Jesus and collaborate in his work of the Kingdom. What was common for the apostolic community was the call from Jesus. Disciples are those who listen to his word and obey it.
  • Fraternal communion: Fraternal communion includes witnessing to the life of the Trinity, being a sign of ecclesial communion, sharing and enjoying the fruits of the gifts of one another, concern for the other, shared responsibility, forgiveness as a means for healing, and directedness towards one mission in a sense of con-vocation.
  • Prayer: Prayer is the basis of the Christian community and, therefore, of the community of consecrated persons.
  • Eucharist: The Eucharist is the heart of the religious community.[19] Through the Eucharist, we learn to break ourselves for the sake of the other in the community.
  • Silence: Prayer requires an atmosphere of quietness and silence. If you refuse to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community and those who are called.
  • Forgiveness: Community is the place of forgiveness where we must practice it in our daily life. Forgiveness is the cement that binds us together.
  • As sharers in one mission: We all share in the one mission, and hence we engage in the mission received from and entrusted to us by the community, with a spirit of serving the Church and the world.

1.3. Congregational Charismatic Models

Our Charism, Constitutions, the example of our Founder, our Tradition, and various Chapter documents provide us a vision of an exemplary community. Here are a few models that can be drawn from the charismatic heritage of the Congregation:

a) Constitutional Model

Here is a summary of the qualities of a Claretian community envisaged in the Constitutions. You are invited to reflect, discuss, and debate in your community about how well these are translated in your community:

  • Our entire missionary life is governed and shaped by love and it fulfills the Lord’s precept of love and loving God and one another as members of one body.[20]
  • We have embraced a “common calling” (co-vocation) and hence, share family life and ministry with our brothers in the community.[21]
  • Eucharist is the sign of unity and bond of love of our fraternal life. Our fraternity is also nourished by prayer, especially liturgical prayer.[22]
  • Each of us exercises collective mission in three different ways: as a member of a shared ministry; as one having received the ministry from the community; as one unable to exercise active ministry with others but engages in passive ministry by offering up one’s suffering and prayers. In all these, we engage in the ministry as members of a community.[23]
  • Each one of us should continually work together to build community. Our speech is to be humble and charitable; avoid whatever might wound friendship, refrain from sowing discord, quarrelling, grumbling; and never judge or be suspicious of one another.[24]
  • We must celebrate the diversity of origins and gifts of our members in the community: preserve the unity of the Spirit, give a warm and fraternal welcome to any member who visits our house.[25]
  • We must care for the sick and the elderly in our communities.[26]
  • Even in death, our brothers remain members of our community, and we connect with them through our remembrance.[27]

b) Missionarii Summus Model

In the XXV General Chapter, Pope Francis exhorted us Claretian missionaries to center our missionary life on the three principal hinges: adore, walk, and accompany. Taking the Holy Father’s call to heart, the Congregation mandated to herself, via the General Chapter document Missionarii Summus, three processes of transformation:

  • First Process: A Congregation ‘on the move.’
  • Second Process: Being a community of Witnesses and Messengers.
  • Third Process: Being men who adore God in the Spirit.

You are invited, individually and together as a community, to read and reflect on how these three processes have been realized in community as tasks are accomplished collectively as a family of brothers in faith. You may ask the following questions (as samples) and may formulate more of your own:

  1. How have we worked together as one community to identify and respond, ‘imaginatively and innovatively’ to the needs of people on the margins?[28]
  2. How evangelically have we identified, as one community in our lifestyle and value system, with the life of the people on the margins?[29]
  3. How edifying has been our life in community to be an inspiration for the youth to commit to a life of consecration and ministry?[30]
  4. Is our community living a lively verb or a defunct noun?[31]
  5. How missionary has our community been?[32]
  6. Has our use of economic resources and material way of life been evangelical?[33]
  7. Have our processes of local governance and community discernment been “after God’s heart”?[34]
  8. Has our communitarian spiritual life been a joyful living of perpetual adoration of the Father, listening to the Word of God, allowing ourselves to be formed in the forge of Mary’s heart, being conscious of the accompaniment of our Father Founder and brother Martyrs?[35]

1.4. A Psycho-social Model

Social sciences point out many qualities of a successful organization in modern times, where intercultural compositions of the members necessitated much assimilation and accommodation. Their findings and suggestions should be considered seriously when we plan to build up our communities, especially as we live in a multi-cultural context. They highlight the following things among many others:

  • Acceptance and Appreciation: One of the deepest needs of the human heart is the need to be appreciated and accepted. Everyone wants to be valued, loved and accepted for who one is.
  • Mutual trust and understanding: Mutual trust and understanding are at the heart of the community.
  • Sharing, bearing, and caring: Caring for each other is an act of awareness of others and their realities beyond them.
  • Communication: Openness and dialogue among the members, transparency and constructive fraternal confrontation, and compassionate and non-violent communication build the community.[36]
  • Cooperation: In the community, the members should work with the team spirit to fulfil the common goal.
  • Sense of Belonging: Each member of the community must feel that he belongs to it. There should be space for fun, humor, laughter, and recreation among the members.
  • Appreciation of cultural diversity: With our call to universality, we need to be open to all cultures and appreciate diversity as richness despite the challenges it brings.
  • Emotional Intelligence: The members need to learn to manage their emotions constructively, and the leaders should create positive emotions in the community. When positive emotions flourish, better decisions, greater enthusiasm, and greater effectiveness of the mission result.

2. The Process of Appreciative Inquiry (AI)

Having seen the theoretical foundations of building up our dream communities, we now turn to the practical way of building up a vision of our community – how it looks like in actual living. For this, we depend on an approach found highly effective in organizations and institutions, namely, Appreciative Inquiry (AI). To help you understand and apply AI, we will begin with a brief description of the dynamics of AI and then provide a schema for applying it to building our communities.

AI is found to be a very effective strength-based approach in the corporate world for building up vibrant organizations and institutions. It is used for generating a better future for the organization by engaging people in positive thought.

AI seeks to build a constructive union amongst people about their past and present capacities:

Achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, high point moments, lived values, stories, expressions of wisdom, possible futures… and so positively on…


More than a philosophy, AI is an approach/method of building up a group and bringing about transformational change through conversations involving all stakeholders. It means, in our case, all the members of the community are actively participating in it if the aim is to plan how to live as a missionary community. If it is to build a group for a missionary action, the participants are those who are directly involved in it, and at least the representatives of the recipients and collaborators. In the model presented below, we assume that we are in the effort to create the vision of living an ideal Claretian missionary community.

The actual process starts by identifying or defining together the topic, the theme of the change process. In our case, if it is done at the beginning of a year in view of teamwork, it could be defined as ‘building up an ideal community for the present year.’ It could be similarly used for creating a vision for our institute, e.g., school or for the Chapters of our Major Organisms. Then follow the stages of Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny.


2.1. Discovery

The discovery phase is about discovering the community’s key strengths and appreciating the ‘best of what is.’ This phase is about understanding what gives life to your community and what has brought it this far or to this point in its history. In the Discovery you focus on:

  • Collecting: Here, the members engage in storytelling – your own best experiences or the best stories others speak of your community. Collect key qualities (‘life-forces’ of the community) discovered from the stories of your community when it was at its best. If the group is large, this could be done in different groups and pool together the themes in the plenary, for example, in the context of a Chapter or when it is done in larger institutions like a school.
  • Mapping: It is the large group process to map the findings around themes that emerge from the stories told in the phase of collecting. It may include resources, capabilities, relationships, partnerships, and positive hopes.
  • Identifying enduring factors: It is the process, done in the large group, to identify factors that have sustained the community over time, gathered from the previous mapping

2.2. Dream

If the phase of Discovery was a look at the past and the present, the Dream phase is about bringing out the dreams the members have for their future as a community/institute.

After having discovered the assets and strengths of your community from the lived experience of the members and the qualities you have benchmarked from other communities or the ideals of the Congregation, the members now can create a vision of the community for the coming year. The ideal you want to live is put into a few concrete statements called Provocative Proposition (PP). Provocative they are, because they contain the challenging proposals stated, not as future possibilities, but as if you are already living them in the present.

Here is a model of PP of a corporate organization. See how it expresses a challenging vision stated as if it is happening now. Instead of stating XYZ organization “will be” a model, it says, “It is.” It brings out the quality of relationships within the organization and with other organizations and, in the process, coins a new concept ‘coopetition’ to express both cooperation and competition at the same time!

“Our XYZ organization is a model of coopetition. It balances cooperation and competition among teams within the organization and externally with alliance partners who are also our competitors. Everyone at XYZ has the information needed to do their job. Our knowledge creation and management system allow each of us to create a personalized portfolio of information needed to do our job in a professional and caring manner.”

So, in the Dream Phase, you ask yourselves how your ideal community looks like and describe it in three or four sentences.

2.3. Design

The Design phase is to invite the members to talk about the dreams paying attention to specific details. These details might be around how the bold statements of PP can be realized concretely. It may describe the values to be followed, attitudes towards one another, with people above and under, collaborators, the way the mission is carried out, and how your community is perceived by outsiders, etc. To make it more concrete and specific, make use of the SMART planning.[37] The best way to do it is to use a grid with “5 Ws” (What, Who, When, Where, Which) + “1 H” (How), as shown below. First, state the specific goals from the PP and then give the details of how it could be realized by identifying what actions to follow, who the people involved are, when it is going to happen, where it is done, how it is done and which action to follow what, etc. [In every goal, all these may not be applicable.]

Goals What Who When Where Which How

It is good to identify all the values contained implicitly or explicitly in the PP and make an acronym using an easily memorable word or phrase.

The next thing to do is to express the ideal vision of the PP in a symbolic way. Capture it in a drawing or in any art form using whatever materials available. What is important in Appreciative Inquiry is to do it together rather than leaving it to one or two gifted persons! It is in dreaming and designing together the bonding is created in the community.

2.4. Destiny

The next stage in the 4-D virtuous cycle of AI is Destiny. Destiny is the strategy of sustaining the process of action-plans outlined in the Design. It is to guarantee that the members start implementing the new images of the shared future. It also includes the periodic evaluation plan. Some of the strategies outlined could be:

  • Prioritizing the designed goals according to importance.
  • Categorizing them into long-term plans and short-term plans.
  • Prioritizing the potential change projects from the easiest to achieve to the hardest to implement.
  • Spelling out commitments by the members.
  • Drawing out an evaluation plan: decide the frequency (how often evaluation is done about the progress).
  • Generating specific first steps for implementation.
  • Identifying the measures of realization: what will indicate the realization of the goals.
  • Identifying some “Quick Wins”: some markers of success.

There should be an evaluation plan to keep track of the progress of the implementation. The frequency of such evaluation meetings must be set. These meetings help to discover the emerging stories and to modify or add new visions and designs. Thus the 4-D cycle continues to create enthusiasm and fulfilment.

Having seen the steps in some details now let us turn to its application in building up a vibrant Claretian community.

3. Building an Ideal Community Vision through AI

Now let us apply the AI 4-D Method in building a model for our community. All the members are to be actively participating in it. What we participate in creating, will have natural accountability – pressure from outside is not required for the realization of what is created by the group.

3.1. Doing the DISCOVERY Phase

It is through ‘storytelling’ that we discover the fine qualities already existing in our community, which become the basis for creating our ideal community. We discover the qualities of the ideal community from our own experiences of community living. Our experiences contain the beautiful examples of our own or of others’ ways of making community life joyful and fruitful. To facilitate storytelling, use the following AI questions (or formulate appropriate questions by a small group).

Think of the peak moment of your community life when you were most joyful, encouraged, and contented. What was that moment? What made it the most vivid and memorable of your community experiences? Share your experience in the group.


After each sharing, the group identifies the salient characteristics of the ideals of community life contained in the narrative. When everyone finishes the sharing, you have a list of the qualities that would make an ideal community. They are the ‘life-forces’ of your community. The life-forces are those qualities most repeated in the stories. They are the strengths and assets already in place for building your ideal community for the specified time—for example, for the current year.

As we want our community to be more than what it presently is, we can add to the list those qualities proposed by the Congregation so that we integrate the charismatic traits into the fabric of our community. For this, the group could continue discovering the qualities of an ideal Christian community from the Scriptures, and the Congregational documents, as well as the ideals, lived in Claretian communities elsewhere. The materials that we discussed in the theoretical foundations could be utilized for embellishing the ideals we desire to follow.

Thus at the end of the first phase, you have a list of ‘live-forces,’ which are your resources as a community on which you can build your Dream.

3.2. Doing the DREAM Phase

After having discovered the assets and strengths of the community from the lived experience of the members and the qualities you want to see happening more, you can now create a vision of the community for the specified year. To help your imagination of the future community you want to live in, use the following visualization:

Visualizing the ideal community

Imagine that you were transported into the future when your community is considered the model for community life to be emulated by all others in your Major Organism. You see your community in an ideal situation – every member is happy, living fully his Claretian vocation and mission in the symphony of collaboration and communion of the members. What are the things you see there? – the way members interact, work, and live together? What do the outsiders see and admire of this community? What do the members say about it to the new members coming to the community?


What you find happening in the visualization, now you put into a few statements. They are written as if happening now and so in the present tense. This ideal picture of the community to be realistic should be related to the list of assets you created in the Discovery stage. What you now put in a few statements is your Provocative Proposition (PP) about your community. A Provocative Proposition is a statement describing your ideal community – it “lives” the qualities you most desire. Give a title or banner for the PP.

Let us look into the following PP as a model:

Adorers & Servers

Rooted in adoration and seeking the will of God, we are a community filled by the fire of love ‘going-forth’ in communion to realize our mission. Our community as ‘a statement of our mission’ expresses joy of consecrated life, love for one another, care for the earth, appreciation of diversities; and we empower, accompany, and support each other in realizing the mission. Our collaborators (Sisters & lay associates in the mission) and recipients of our service are delighted about us and joyfully participate in the shared mission as we actively join forces with the local Church. Our community is a model in the Province for listening to guidance from authorities and following the Congregational vision.


Here we have a PP which has looked into how the members as a community live in relation to God, to one another, and to others; and the quality of the commitment to mission. It tells how the community appears to the collaborators, recipients of the mission, the province, and the diocese where the community exists. It is provocative in the sense that it claims to be a model admired in the province and can be emulated by others. The title “Adorers & Servers” captures the essential qualities of the community of missionaries anchored in prayer going forth in service.

Now the PP being a brief, general statement, we need to design the details for actual implementation. That we do in the next stage.

3.3. Doing the DESIGN Phase

In the Provocative Proposition, you have the desired reality of the community stated in bold and provocative terms. Now you have to create together (co-create) the desired reality by identifying further the values to be pursued, specifying the small and big steps, the structures to be in place, etc., to realize the Dream.

Concretely, it would mean:

  1. Identifying different goals contained in the Provocative Proposition
  2. Specifying the values to be pursued in order to achieve the goals.
  3. Spelling out the action steps to realize the above.

In short, we design the Goals, the Values, and the Action Plan.[38] Following the model PP above, we may do the designing as follows (as an example):

a) The Goals

We identify the goals enshrined in the PP.

  1. Rooted in Adoration and seeking the will of God
  2. Accompaniment of the members: building communion
  3. Collaboration and support in mission
  4. Model for Claretian community

Values: Now, identify the values contained explicitly or implicitly in the Provocative Proposition, which should be practiced and made visible so that PP is really lived. The values explicitly present in the above PP are joy, love, appreciation, empowerment, collaboration, and all Claretian values are implicit as the community claims to be a model of Claretian community.[39]

Create an Acronym: If possible, make an acronym with those values. You may have to look for synonyms of the terms or elaborate into phrases to suit the letters of the acronym. Better to keep it small so that it may be easily remembered.

‘ADORERS’ can capture many salient features of the above PP:

A – Adoration (prayer) as the source of energy

D – Dedication to the mission

O – Obedience to God and authorities

R – Respect and reverence for all

E – Empowering & Eco-friendly

R – Renewal through learning & receiving feedback

S – Servants of the Word

b) SMART Plan

Make a chart with the details of the Action Plan. Different formats could be used as described earlier using a ‘5 Ws + 1 H’ form or some other grid more appropriate to the types of activities you have in the community. What is to be brought out are the details to be attended to in order to realize the Dream. Hence, it should contain the actions to follow, how they are carried out, who would be there to do, etc. Fill in also the other columns if they are relevant. For example, when is the goal to be attained, what are the milestones to achieve for a specific project and when (e.g., when is the halfway to be marked?), who are the people in charge, the roles each one has to play, where is the event going to happen, what is the resource and preparations for a particular event, etc. As an example, see Annex 1.

Symbol: Fourthly, the members can present the characteristics of the community with an appropriate symbol capturing different aspects. Appreciative Inquiry is a co-creative approach. Working together itself builds up communion and bonding. Placing the symbol so created in a prominent place of visibility for the community members will remind them constantly of the ideal they are striving for. Here is a sample symbol:

11 A

(a symbolic exhibit of the Design Phase of a community)

c) Doing the DESTINY Phase

Destiny is the delivery part. What is designed is now to be implemented. To facilitate the actions, we have to have some strategies. Following things are suggested:

  • The members spell out what each one is going to do for the realization of the Dream. Spelling out a few immediate actions would put them into action right away.
  • Put up a chart on the bulletin board marking the milestones to be achieved of the planned projects and their realization. Display also in a prominent place in the community the Provocative Proposition, SMART plan, and the symbolic design as constant reminders for the members of what they are and what they should be doing.
  • Formulate a measurement plan to evaluate whether plans are being realized.
Goals Criteria for evaluation Frequency of evaluation
Being rooted in spiritual life

What is the percentage of participation by the members in morning and evening prayers?



Every monthly recollection.
Collaboration How many participated in the meeting, how many shared, etc. Every three months, conduct an evaluation meeting.
  • The members evaluate their commitment to the projects in their sharing with their mentor, and/or the Spiritual Director.

As we put into action our designs, we have new stories and discoveries. It leads to bigger dreams and more effective designs. Thus, AI is a virtuous cycle of activities continuously in evolution and growth. AI is a method of co-creation, and you will experience warm relationships in community, and enthusiasm in collaborative mission. Thus, you build up the Dream Community as an ongoing activity.


It is one thing to dream of an ideal community; and it is another to wake up from the dream and work hard to translate that dream into reality. At every General Chapter, Provincial Chapter, and general assembly, we discuss and dream of living our community life in a manner more attuned to the Gospel mandate and style of the early Christian community. Let us not give up dreaming. What we need to do is to really work hard at realizing it. Community is the first act of mission for us.[40] Building community is our con-vocation and mission. We do not need to despair: because it is the dream of God as well. And if God can be with us, who can be against us?[41] Let us dream with God and then get up, design, and destinize the dream into reality!

Helpful Resources

  1. Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Fraternal Life in Community (Rome, 1994). Available at: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccscrlife/documents/rc_con_ccscrlife_doc_02021994_fraternal-life-in-community_en.html – Access: 30/12/29.
  2. David L. Cooperrider & Diana Whitney, Appreciative Inquiry. A Positive Revolution in Change. (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. – San Francisco, 2005).
  3. David L. Cooperrider, Diana Whitney, & Jacqueline M. Stavros, Appreciative Inquiry Handbook. For Leaders of Change. (Crown Custom Publishing, Inc. & Berret-Koehler Publishers, Inc. – Brunswick/San Francisco, 20082).
  4. Jacqueline Bascobert Kelm, Appreciative Living. The Principles of Appreciative Inquiry in Personal Life. (Venet Publishers – Charleston, SC, 20153).
  5. James Kannanthanam CMF, “Appreciative Inquiry: Shifting Paradigms for Community Living,” in Sanyasa Journal of Consecrated Life, Vol V, No.1, January-June 2010, pp.53-66
  6. James Kannanthanam CMF, Shifting Leadership Paradigms: A Case Study Using Appreciative Inquiry (Claretian Publications – Bangalore 2009).
  7. Sarah Lewis, Jonathan Passmore, Stefan Cantore, Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management. Using AI to facilitate organizational development. (Kogan Page Limited – London, 2008).
  8. Online community and resources for Appreciative Inquiry, available at: www.centerforappreciativeinquiry.net/mor-on-ai/what-is-appreciative-inquiry-ai – Access: 30/12/2019.

Annex 1

Goals What[42] How[43] When[44] Who/
1. Rooted in spiritual life and seeking the will of God. Being adorers (people of prayer; interest in spiritual renewal; Centered on the Word of God; Community discernment.

Importance to community prayers;

Monthly recollections;

Daily communitarian reading of a paragraph of Autobiography, Constitutions or Claretian documents.

Everyday morning and evening prayers

Reading CC before dinner.

Availing books for spiritual life. Recollection reflections by members taking turn


Recollections together with neighboring Claretian communities/ associates at different places.
2. Accompaniment of the members and building communion

Promote the beauty of the community and to reactivate our fraternal covenant;

Make our fraternal life a transparent and joyful proclamation of the Kingdom;

Reinforce the sense of belonging and a community co-responsibility;

pardon and reconciliation to heal our wounds.

Attention to the needs of the members;

Celebration of the important days of the members;

Frequent community activities;

Cultivate the art of listening (within and outside of the community), concern for the other, spiritual sharing, fraternal relationships, and transparency in the sharing of goods;

Care for one another, warm relationships;

Storytelling: Sharing experiences at meals;

Bearing one-another’s burdens; attention to speech; a spirit of welcome; respect for each member; care of the sick members.

3. Collaboration and support in mission

Spirit of dialogue; acceptance and mutual appreciation; discerning together our ministries and services;

Appreciation and encouragement of good activities of the members;

Fostering team-work; shared mission;

Active collaboration with the local Church.

Celebrating the victories;

Having time to share stories of the day/week and listening, giving and receiving feedback, learning, etc.

Using gifts and talents at the service of mission;

Sharing in governance;

Collaboration in the ministry;

In discernment include others who share our mission and charism.

4. Model for Claretian community

Being servants of the Word;

Cordi-Marian character;

Prominence to our Founder and Claretian elements;


Availability for mission; readiness to suffer for mission;

Spread the fire of love;

Listening to guidance from authorities,

Reading the Word of God personally and as community;

Fostering Marian celebrations and piety especially Rosary;

Daily celebration of the Eucharist;

Exhibiting the pen-portrait of the Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary;

Actively participate in the plans and programs of the Province;

Study of the Congregational documents.



[1] Claretian Missionaries, XXIV General Chapter Declaration “Men on Fire with Love” (Rome 2009), n. 16.

[2] Pope Francis, Pope in Santa Marta: Do not be afraid to dream. Available in: Rome Reports https://www.romereports.com/en/2018/12/18/pope-in-santa-marta-do-not-be-afraid-to-dream/ – Access: 30/12/19.

[3] Cf. Ex 12:38.

[4] Cf. Ex 25.

[5] Cf. Acts 1:8, Jn 3:16, Col 3:11.

[6] Cf. Eph 4:15.

[7] Cf. Col 3:9.

[8] Cf. Rom 12:10; 1 Cor 12:25; Gal 5:13; 1 Thess 4:18; 5:11; Phil 4:2.

[9] Cf. Gal 6:2; 1 Thess 5:14; Eph 4:32; 1 Thess 5:15; Col 3:13.

[10] Cf. Col 3:13; Rom 15:7.

[11] Cf. James 5:16; Eph 5:21.

[12] Cf. James 4:11.

[13] Cf. James 5:9.

[14] Cf. Heb 10:25.

[15] Cf. Heb 10:24.

[16] Gen 1:26.

[17] Cf. Rev 7:9.

[18] 2 Pet 3:13.

[19] Cf. John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, n. 95.

[20] Cf. CC 10; 15.

[21] Cf. CC 11.

[22] Cf. CC 12.

[23] Cf. CC 13.

[24] Cf. CC 16.

[25] Cf. CC 17.

[26] Cf. CC 18.

[27] Cf. CC 18.

[28] Cf. Claretian Missionaries, XXV General Chapter Declaration “Missionarii Sumus,” n. 67, 1-2. 4.

[29] Cf. MS 67, 3. 5-7.

[30] Cf. MS 68.

[31] Cf. MS 69.

[32] Cf. MS 70, 1-5.

[33] Cf. MS 71, 1-4.

[34] Cf. MS 72, 1-4.

[35] Cf. MS 73-75.

[36] For one of the best resources for compassionate, nonviolent communication, see Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg.

[37] SMART is an acronym for ensuring that the proposals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound

[38] In doing this, you make use of the resources from theoretical discussion about the different models given there. Pay special attention to the best practices in other Claretian communities, which can be benchmarks for building your community. The ideal would be to have a day of input, reflections, and study of the different models before having the AI workshop.

[39] The list of life-forces in the Discovery presents the assets and strengths for the realization of the Dream, but the list of values here specifies the outcomes.

[40] Cf. Claretian Missionaries, XXII General Chapter Declaration “In Prophetic Mission,” Rome 1997, n. 28.

[41] Cf. Rom 8:31.

[42] Actions, behaviors.

[43] Strategies.

[44] Time-frames and milestones.

[45] Resources.