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Associate relationship is a special vocation for women and men who deepen their baptismal call in relating with vowed religious with whom they share a common spirituality and charism. They support one another on their faith journeys and participate together in particular educational, social, and spiritual opportunities. Our Associates commit themselves to joyful hospitality rooted in Gospel living in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare.
Associates are Christian women and men, 21 years or older, who have often worked closely with the Sisters over the years. Many have been friends with other Associates who have witnessed the joys and the blessings of being an Associate. Sometimes couples commit in becoming Associates. Associates Ric and Cathy Schmidt are pictured at right at their recommitment celebration with Associates Jill Ardis (far left) and Associate Sylvia Gear.
The emergence of Associate relationships reflects Vatican II’s recognition that all baptized people are called to holiness. Lay persons 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. Congregations thus developed a process for lay persons to join them in embracing their spirituality, charism, and mission. Vowed religious and lay persons both have experienced Associate relationship as a means of deepening their relationship with God and living faithfully the Gospel.
Individuals who are attracted to Associate relationship contact one of the directors to learn more about the vocation of being an Associate of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. More opportunities will be provided to meet with Associates and Sisters and to discern about following the path of becoming an Associate.
What do Associates do?
Associates gather with Sisters and Associates for prayer, discussion and celebration. They share in St. Francis’ call to rebuild the church through active parish involvement. In addition, they reach out through advocacy and direct service to those who are marginalized. And they make personal prayer a priority in following St. Francis and his commitment to prayer.
Co-Directors of the Office of Associate Relationship:
Sister Ann Kelley Associaterel@lakeosfs.org 414-294-7327
Associate Carol Wilant firstname.lastname@example.org 605-999-8980
Associates gathered at Racine for a celebration of Midwest Kindred Spirits. Associate Carol Wilant and Sister Ann Kelley, co-directors of the OSF Office of Associate Relationship, are in the back row to the right.
Associates Gather for Commitments, Recommitments
Associates from Lowell, Mass., pictured here, came together on June 25 for the first commitment of Damian Deneault and Netchie Patterson-Sampson, and the renewal commitments of Elizabeth Conlon, Elizabeth Klamka and Colette Langlois.
The ceremony evolved in the context of midday prayer, signaling that God is good. Sister Diana De Bruin, director of the congregation, echoed Francis’ words: “The Most High revealed to me that I should live according to the Holy Gospel. . .” Associates follow Francis to Christ with the same desire to live the Gospel in their daily lives and through their ministries.
The prayer called “Intercessions,” written by Associate Mary Carian, provided meaningful reflection. Before leaving the celebration, the gathering enjoyed traditional Franciscan hospitality, including a buffet lunch, provided by Priscilla LeBlanc. After pictures and interaction with family and friends, the group moved on with the challenge, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
An Upper Room Experience
Twenty-three Associates, Sisters and OSF friends gathered in “the upper room” at Clare Hall on the eve of Pentecost to share in a morning of retreat. The focus was on the experience and celebration of the presence of the Risen Christ. Four resurrection scripture passages were the basis of two presentations by Sister Ann Kelley and Associate Irene Senn. Retreatants joyfully entered into the opening prayer as they begged Christ to “Easter” in them. Each participant had time for private prayer and reflection, followed by faith sharing in small groups. The Spirit truly moved within the community gathered for the day as they prayed about the surprises of the Risen Christ and the assurance needed on the journey of faith. Letting oneself be found by Christ and passing on the gifts to “feed his sheep,” were also sub-themes of the retreat. The experience concluded with a relaxing meal provided by the kitchen staff of Clare Hall. (Pictured above are the Associates who participated in the retreat.)