|Sr. Rose Marie pins a Tau cross on Cathy at her first commitment.
Associate relationship consists of a mutual relationship between vowed religious and lay people who share a common spirituality and seek to support and challenge each other. Various forms of associate relationship can be found from the early middle ages to the present. Since Vatican II the number of religious communities sponsoring associate relationships has grown exponentially
Christian women and men 18 years or older. Usually individuals who have worked closely with or known the sisters well. In several cases couples have become associates.
The persistence of women who worked with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and sought a deeper spiritual connection that lead to an organized associate relationship program.
The emergence of associate relationships reflects Vatican II’s recognition that all baptized people are called to holiness. Lay people have often felt a spiritual hunger that parish life alone does not satisfy. Religious have often desired to share their spirituality with others who are not called to vowed life. Both vowed religious and lay people have experienced associate relationship as deepening their relationship with God and their commitment to compassion.
Individuals who are attracted to the spirituality and mission of the Sisters of St Francis of Assisi apply to become associates. The applicant and three people who know them well complete forms explaining why they believe that associate relationship would be mutually beneficial to the individual and the community. More information can be found in Becoming an Associate.