What Is Formation?

The Ministry Leadership Formation Program is a three-year process that provides the working knowledge and skills to lead the mission and ministry of Catholic Health Care. The program is designed to nurture a community of leaders who genuinely identify with the Church’s healing ministry, who appreciate its distinctive richness, and who are willing to commit to its long-term viability.

Formation is a process of socialization into the community and tradition of Catholic Health Care for the purpose of building up the community and carrying on the tradition. It begins by recognizing the established expertise of the participants in the diverse fields that comprise contemporary health care. These health care professionals are then invited into a formation experience that centers on the twelve foundational concerns that inform the distinctive identity and mission of Catholic Health Care.

The Foundational Concerns Of Catholic Health Care

Details about Foundational Concerns

The Foundational Concerns Of Catholic Health Care
Vocation
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we understand ourselves as called. Catholic Health Care as a whole understands itself as a collective response to God’s call to care for one another.
Heritage
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we understand ourselves as called to a ministerial tradition that ultimately takes its inspiration and direction from the healing mission of Jesus.
Spirituality
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we are committed personally and professionally to spiritually grounded values. We take seriously the fact that we are spiritual beings as well as physical, psychological, and social beings.
Responding to Suffering
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we follow spiritually grounded values that guide our work in responding to human suffering. We recognize the inevitable and universal character of human suffering and the major role that responding to suffering has played in the Christian tradition.
Values Integration
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to integrate core values into organizational structures, policies, and behaviors. The Catholic tradition emphasizes that these core values, especially dignity and compassion, are spiritually grounded in the transcendent reality of God. This provides the rationale for commitment to the values and motivation to grow in them.
Catholic Social Teaching
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to incorporate Catholic Social Teaching into the life and mission of the organization. This teaching is grounded in Gospel perspectives, complemented by natural law theory, and formulated in Papal Encyclicals that reflect grassroots Catholic social movements.
Clinical Ethics
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to develop and ensure account- ability for ethical policies, practices, and behaviors in our clinical settings. We connect ethical responsibility (love of neighbor) with its spiritual foundation (love of God).
Discernment
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to link discernment to strategic decision-making, innovation, and team composition. Discernment is a hallmark activity of the Catholic Health Care heritage.
Organizational Ethics
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to develop and ensure account- ability for ethical policies, practices, and behaviors in our organizational relationships. We are aware that the ultimate organizational rationale and motivation for ethical responsibility is a theological understanding of the human person in community.
Care for the Poor
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to bring the benefits of Health Care to the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. Both the Biblical roots and theological vision of Catholic Health Care emphasize the importance of attending to the most marginalized people.
Whole Person Care
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to respect and include the whole person of patients, physicians, associates, and volunteers. This work is grounded in the Christian doctrine of the goodness of creation, embracing a comprehensive view of the human person as physical, mental, social, and spiritual.
Collaboration with the Church
As Catholic Health Care leaders, we work to cooperate with Church authorities and Church agencies. Catholic Health Care is one of the many ministries of the Catholic Church.
Interactive Mandala - Mouseover to learn more…

The culture of Catholic Health Care is explored through the twelve foundational concerns of Vocation, Heritage, Spirituality, Responding to Suffering, Values Integration, Catholic Social Teaching, Clinical Ethics, Discernment, Organizational Ethics, Care for the Poor, Whole Person Care, and Collaboration with Church Authorities and Agencies.

Through our program participants learn to articulate and integrate these concerns into the life and mission of their organizations.

The formation experience is a creative, communal, and cumulative process. It uses the Triangle of Catholic Tradition, Cultural Information, and Individual and Communal Experience to develop the ability to articulate and integrate the twelve foundational concerns.

Creative

This leadership formation process emphasizes creativity. Participants are asked to make connections between their own sense of mission and values and the mission and values of the ministries entrusted to them. They are also challenged to articulate Catholic identity and integrate its foundational concerns into the life and the mission of the organization.

Communal

This leadership formation process takes place in community. Although each participant must responsibly engage the program, the context is a community of leaders who support and challenge one another. It is within community that participants gain a personal sense of belonging to and leading a Catholic Health Care ministry.

Cumulative

This leadership formation process presupposes gradual development. Although there may be moments of dramatic change, formation is seen as a cumulative growth of interest, insight, and abilities. The ethos of the Catholic Health Care tradition is assimilated a piece at a time until eventually there is a sure grasp of what it means to reside in this tradition and steward it into the future with integrity and confidence.

Our Formation Model: The Triangle

Each of the twelve foundational concerns is situated within the Triangle and explored in terms of three critical angles of vision. The Catholic Tradition sets the agenda; Contemporary Culture informs the agenda; Individual and Communal experience evaluates the agenda.

Only from these intersecting sources of insight can a fully balanced perspective be generated that honors tradition, both respects and challenges culture, and resonates
with individual and communal experience.

Our Identity:

We understand that we are called to be part of a ministerial tradition that ultimately takes its inspiration and direction from the healing mission of Jesus. As part of this tradition, we are committed personally and professionally to the spiritually grounded values that guide our work in responding to human suffering.

Our Work:

We Strive:

  • To integrate core values into organizational structures, policies, and behaviors
  • To link discernment to strategic decision making, innovation, and team composition
  • To incorporate Catholic social teaching into organizational life
  • To develop and insure accountability for ethical policies, practices, and behaviors in our clinical settings & organizational relationships
  • To bring the benefits of health care to the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society
  • To respect and attend to the whole person of patients, physicians, associates, and volunteers
  • To work collaboratively with Church authorities and agencies

Connecting personal growth with their development as leaders: 

“I have been changed by my experience of the MLC. It is helpful for me not only in my calling [as a leader of Catholic health care], but also in my relationships, my physical life and my intellectual life.”

“As I reflect over the past three years, it is amazing how this changed my life – both personally and professionally. I am now more grounded in the theology and more able to share learnings with others. Yet, I am also very aware that to take care of others, I must also take time to care for myself and nurture my inner circle [of support].”

“…the greatest take away was making progress on my own spiritual journey…”

“MLC has given me a stronger foundation to understand what it means to grow personally and professionally.

Acquiring theological underpinnings critical to ministerial leadership:

“Dignity, compassion, inclusion and focusing on the greater good are values and perspectives which will provide valuable assistance when faced with difficult future challenges. I have always thought that the patient comes first, and now I know many more reasons why.”

“The foundational piece for me was the dignity of the human person. Where does it come from?  When you strip away knowledge, money, position, appearance, friendships, family … do you still have human dignity?  And the answer is yes, that our dignity comes to us as children of God…this is a bigger picture and contexts my work in even more meaningful ways…”

“I found the concept of “contrast experiences” to be very useful in getting to the deeper theological underpinnings of today’s issues around suffering/wealth and insured/uninsured.”

“Preferential Option for the Poor:  the words have always been important, but I was never quite able to make the link among our works and this statement. I got the idea but my mind could sometimes not follow the logic. Through the use/ more study of the social teachings, I believe I better understand the link. Ultimately, that leads to decision making that achieves justice and respect for each individual.”

Embracing a community of Catholic health care leaders:

Participants' Experience“My work in Catholic health care allows me to connect my searching with the searching of other people…connecting with like-minded people who hold similar values…able to live those values along with [these] like-minded people.”

“I believe I have a strong inner circle of support. Throughout the past several years of leadership changes, our executive team has been modified. Since the last session, I have made a concerted effort to enhance the circles of support with my peers. This will allow for mutual support within our ministry.  All of us will benefit from this effort.  As our work environment is quite busy and geographically diverse, it is easy to operate within your own area. These walls and barriers need to be removed. This has been received well.”

“The shared and lived experience has indeed morphed the program into a community experience. These five systems have many aspects that are similar in their cultures, but live these values true, each to itself. It brought collective learning to a common experience which will have longer term opportunities to share. We have met others who now share a common language and common insights who can be mentors within their own organizations as well as across organizations.”

Enhancing ability to incorporate values into decisions and situations:

“As I reflect upon the three years of Ministry Leadership Formation, the most significant take-away for me is the depth of appreciation I now have regarding the countless ways the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and integration of our values into our organizations can influence the quality and effectiveness of our work lives.”

“The sessions on values, and the many other sessions that wove the role of values into the content, heightened my sense of the importance of calling out the connection to values in much of what we do to make it more visibly alive in the process; particularly in those things which are difficult.”

“Sometimes it is hard to understand the unions and the positions that they take and their expectations. What I found was that their values and position has much to do with Catholic social teachings. The unions look for fair wages, participation in the work, input and a fair wage to raise their families, all about Justice. This made my working relationship with the unions easier, since I understood their historical context and their perspectives.”

“The Values Session was particularly gratifying. I found myself grounded in the values, taking more time and effort to learn the values and think about how they impact or should impact the organization. I discovered that the organization did not really understand the values nor had we integrated the values into our management of the hospital.”