"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

Associate Spotlight: Rita Brandewiede

By Associate Carolyn Davis

Associate Rita Brandewiede

Associate Rita Brandewiede made her initial commitment as a co-member on Oct. 23, 1983 at a prayer service in the Motherhouse’s Rose Room. She had been invited by Associate Pat Schloemer, who she met while working at St. William parish. At that time there was no formal formation program. Prior to her commitment, Rita met with S. Judith Metz, who was her contact Sister. She taught Rita about Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and her love of scripture and the Eucharist.

When Rita was asked how she lived her own personal call to the ministries and spirit of the Sisters of Charity, she said she does so through her daily actions, including raising five children, just as Elizabeth Seton had done.     

Rita began working as a secretary at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in 1979 for S. Mark Neumann, who was in charge of the co-membership program, the precursor of the Associate program. She retired almost 30 years later. During these years, she worked in a number of different offices at Mount St. Joseph, including the Retirement Office and the Spirituality Center. Rita said she learned a lot about the various ministries of the congregation through her years of employment.

(From left) Associate Rita Brandewiede and S. Mary Bookser enjoy each other’s company at an Associate-sponsored event at the Motherhouse.

After Rita made her initial commitment, she and a small group of Sisters and co-members would meet monthly on a Sunday afternoon to listen to a speaker and share prayer. Sometimes a Sister from Mother Margaret Hall would come to share her story. Over the years Rita has attended numerous events for Sisters and Associates, including regional meetings, the fall and spring luncheons and small group sessions. At some of the presentations that Rita attended there was a talk about Mother Margaret George and Saint Vincent de Paul.

Rita made her lifetime commitment as an Associate on Sept. 10, 2013. In preparation for this event, she wrote in part: “I was very interested in strengthening my spirituality and saw this as an opportunity to do so. I was able to join with other women who had the same goals and Sisters who were more than willing to assist along the way.

“Through monthly meetings and a yearly retreat … I learned a lot about scripture and daily prayer and met many faith-filled women, co-members and Sisters. I came to learn about the many ministries of the Sisters and how their faith was the driving force behind all they did.”

Rita said that she has become a totally different person and that her faith life has grown since she became an Associate 40 years ago.    

(From left) Associate Rita Brandewiede, S. Patmarie Bernard, Associate Mary Ellen Williams and S. Dee Sizler connect during a recent congregational gathering.

Contact Us