Sister Terry Rickard, O.P., has announced that she will resign as president and executive director of RENEW International, after 18 years of service, effective December 2021.
RENEW is a leader in development of Catholic small-group programs designed to renew personal faith and parish life. Millions of people speaking more than 40 languages and dialects have participated in RENEW small groups using programs that include Why Catholic?, ARISE Together in Christ, and Healing Our Church. RENEW seeks to evangelize young adults through Theology on Tap and a new online sacramental parent-preparation program entitled Baptism Matters.
Under Sr. Terry’s leadership, RENEW established a satellite office in South Africa that continues to flourish. In the past year, RENEW acquired the Parish Catalyst program, which offers learning communities and monthly webinars for pastors and parish leaders to help their parishes thrive. RENEW is currently working with Bishop W. Shawn McKnight and the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, to develop Grateful Living: The Joy of Stewardship. A program that includes webinars, a learning community for pastors and staff, and a faith-sharing process and book for small groups. Grateful Living will eventually be available to all dioceses and parishes.
Sr. Terry, a Dominican of Blauvelt, New York, joined RENEW in 2002. She became executive director in 2006 and president in 2009, following the late Monsignor Thomas A. Kleissler, who founded RENEW more than 40 years ago. She will take a sabbatical to discern her next ministry.
Board President Eric Dill, speaking on behalf of all of the trustees, said, “I would like to thank Sr. Terry for her many years of devoted and faithful service to RENEW International, and for the inspirational leadership, vision, and commitment to excellence that she exemplified in her role as president and executive director. Her contributions to RENEW’s success were immeasurable and outstanding in every way.’’
Dill said the trustees “are committed to sustaining and carrying forth RENEW’s work and mission. Sr. Terry will be greatly missed, and we wish her Godspeed, and we are tremendously blessed that her handprint has been indelibly imprinted on RENEW’s legacy, alongside Fr. Tom Kleissler’s—as it should be.”
Sr. Terry will leave after leading RENEW through the height of the COVID pandemic which has prevented small groups from gathering in person. RENEW pivoted from print to virtual services, offering webinars to assist parish leaders in keeping their parishes engaged and helping to create hundreds of online small faith-sharing groups. Sr. Terry recently wrote to supporters of RENEW expressing her mixed emotions about leaving: “Since I joined RENEW, I have happily poured myself into advancing its mission of renewing personal faith and parish life through the power of small groups. I am forever grateful to Fr. Tom for entrusting the leadership of RENEW to me and for the support of my colleagues, our Board Members and donors. I love the RENEW community, and I will carry each of you wherever God leads me.”
Sr. Terry is also a conference speaker, retreat leader, and author. She has addressed priests and Catholic leaders on the topics of parish revitalization, evangelization, and small-group ministry. . She led the development of RENEW’s Healing Our Church parish process, which helps the lay faithful face the clergy sexual-abuse crisis head-on, begin the healing process, and move forward. Sr. Terry has facilitated parish listening sessions concerning the crisis. RENEW has just published Dignity and the Death Penalty which will add to RENEW’s justice small-group offerings, Creation at the Crossroads and La justicia brota de la fe (Justice Springs from Faith).
Sr. Terry holds the degrees of Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri; Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City; and Master of Arts in Religion and Religious Education from Fordham University, New York and a certificate in not-for-profit management from Columbia University.
Before joining RENEW, Sr. Terry ministered in two multi-cultural parishes in the South Bronx, New York, was the Director of Vocation and Formation Ministry for her congregation, and was a member of the Archdiocese of New York Parish Mission Team.