Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Associates?
Associates in Mission are women and men who share in the mission and spirit of the Sisters of Charity. They seek to express in their lives a spirituality of attending to God in prayer, in each other and wherever God’s love is made visible and to share friendship, faith and action in the spirit of the Gospel.
What do Associates do?
Associates help to further the mission of the community in their everyday lives through their work, in their parish, or in their family. But being an Associate is just that – BEING an Associate. Associates are in a spiritual relationship with the Sisters of Charity. They live as to reflect the charism of St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Vincent de Paul. There is no one way to be an Associate just as there is no one way to be a Sister of Charity.
Are all Associates Catholic?
No. The majority of Associates are Catholic but there are also many other Christian denominations represented.
Where do Associates live?
There are Associates living in all parts of the United States from Maine to California, from Florida to Michigan, from Alaska to Albuquerque. The largest group lives in and around the Motherhouse in Cincinnati. But wherever Sisters of Charity are (or were) there are probably Associates doing the work of the community.
How do I get to know other Associates?
In most areas of the country, Associates and Sisters gather in small or large groups on a regular basis. Although this is not required, most Associates find that they learn and receive support through these meetings. Besides the written communications that are sent to each member, regular emails are sent to and from the Associate Office sharing information about Associates and Sisters.
How do I know if I qualify?
No one has to qualify to be an Associate. This is a call from God. Throughout the process of formation, the Candidate and the Community will have the chance to discern if there is a call. We do ask that the Candidate be at least 18 years old, in reasonably good health and financially independent.
How long is the Formation Process?
The Formation Process is handled on an individual basis depending on the Candidate and her/his Companion. The usual length of time is six months to a year.
How will this affect my personal life? And What is going to be asked of me?
Each person experiences Association in a unique way. We do not require a set amount of time or involvement. Each Associate must determine for her/himself how they are able to help carry out the mission of the community. This could be within family, workplace, community – there are many opportunities open to Associates.
How do I find out about these opportunities?
Each Associate and Sister receives regular mailings from the Communications office, Leadership Council, Spirituality Center and of course, the Associate Office. These mailings share information about retreats, volunteer opportunities, prayer requests and so much more.
What does it cost?
There are no dues. This is a spiritual relationship and Associates are in no way a part of financial decisions or support. The community provides a budget for the Associate Office and there is an SC Associate in Mission Fund into which an Associate or others can donate. But there are no financial responsibilities.
Is it mandatory to travel to meetings?
Nothing is mandatory except for Associates to help in their own way to carry out the mission. Candidates learn about this mission during the formation process when they journey with a Companion. But there is an expectation that each Associate will stay connected in some way with the community through prayer, gatherings, etc.
What can I expect at the time of my death?
When an Associate dies, a Mass is offered for that Associate at the Motherhouse.