Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other….  I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people:  That each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.”     — Rainer Maria Rilke



A Mentor is a person who serves as a trusted counselor or teacher.  Formal mentoring refers to a relationship between a less experienced individual, called a mentee, and a more experienced individual known as a mentor.  Mentoring is a longer-term relationship that fosters the mentee’s professional, academic and personal development.  While mentoring can be understood also to include groups as well as individuals, for the CLDP’s purposes it is understood to mean a relationship between two people.  When face-to-face meetings are not possible, the use of technology, to include Skype, i-chats, and phone calls is encouraged.


The CLDP mentor is a vowed sister (or in the case of an associate mentee, a sister or a covenanted associate) who “walks with” the participant to support the mentee’s academic learning, practical application, spiritual development, and integration of leadership into the calling as a religious or associate, for the duration of the program. The mentor supports the mentee’s holistic development – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and professionally.


  • Firmly rooted in calling as a religious or associate, and as a member of the congregation.
  • Genuinely cares about the growth and development of the mentee.
  • Has demonstrated successful leadership and accumulated wisdom in a variety of settings.
  • Willing and able to invest time and energy in the mentee’s successful learning and expanded perspective on leadership.
  • Provides the mentee with opportunity to reflect on experience and make changes as needed to attain goals, whether goals are focused on external achievement, personal or spiritual growth.
  • Encourages the mentee to take charge of the mentee’s own growth and development.
  • Promotes integration between academic theory and the practical application of leadership skills in particular settings and cultures.
  • Builds on the mentee’s success, talents and personality to help the mentee move forward with confidence towards what the mentee wants to achieve.
  • Keeps confidentiality.
  • Is not currently responsible for directly managing the performance of the mentee.
  • Able to meet with the mentee on a regular basis, at least once a month, in person or by phone.


Each participating Congregational Leadership Team will recommend vowed sisters and/or associate leaders from their respective congregations to serve as mentors to the CLDP participants. There are no age limits for mentors.  If these individuals agree to accept the role of mentor, their names will be offered to the participants in the program.  The mentors could be but need not be members of the mentee’s congregation. Each participant will be asked to select three mentors (first, second and third choices).  The CLDP Director will assign mentors based on the participant’s preference, the mentor’s acceptance of the mentee in light of the mentee’s learning goals, and their ability to maintain regular communication.


Mentoring, as it is understood for the purposes of the CLDP, is NOT:

  • THERAPY.  The Mentor does not offer to act as a psychologist or provide psychological therapy to deal with an individual’s personal or professional issues.  While the time spent mentoring an individual may be therapeutic in nature, it is not intended to take the place of therapy in any form.
  • COACHING.  A professional coach contracts with an individual, usually on a short-term basis, with a particular focus and goal in mind; once this goal has been realized, the coach is no longer needed.  Coaches are paid for their services.  In most cases, mentors are volunteers.


The Leadership Collaborative (LC) is a coalition of religious congregations of women working to develop leadership capacity-building among religious congregations, and to foster dialogue and personal transformation that will translate into cultural and systemic change. The LC includes United States-based congregations with or without ministries outside the US. The Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR) and the Religious Formation Conference (RFC) are founding members of the Leadership Collaborative.  The CLDP is a program offering within the Leadership Collaborative.


The CLDP is an 18-month multi-congregational, multinational leadership-training program for religious congregational vowed members, associates and co-members.  Click on the PROGRAM tab for dates and details.


The program is open to members of United States-based congregations who may or may not also have ministries outside the US. Vowed members include women who have made temporary vows. Associates and co-members, who have been affiliated through covenant or similar agreement with a religious congregation for five years or longer, may include both males and females.

In addition to the age requirement, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A written letter of recommendation from the leadership team of the participant’s congregation affirming the applicant’s leadership potential
  • The applicant must be in a leadership role or open to serving in a leadership role in ministry, community, congregation or society
  • The applicant must be willing and able to fully engage in the program and have time to participate in all gatherings, monthly webinars, mentoring and small-group activities
  • The applicant must have access to the internet and be able to engage in web-based learning.

Diversity will be assured by reserving 75% of the openings for vowed members and 25% for associates and co-members.  In addition, the program director will promote diversity by making every attempt to balance out participants in light of congregational membership, age and culture.


For more information, contact CLDP Program Director, Kathleen Wade,