“To live according to the
spirit is to do what faith,
hope and love teaches
us, both in spiritual and
secular things.” 

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

After Volunteer Experience (AVE)

After Volunteer Experience (AVE) is a re-entry program sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and an outreach to young adult women who have participated in postgraduate service domestically or internationally. Transition after a year or more of volunteer service can pose significant challenges. AVE provides a reflective space to integrate the volunteer experience and discern future directions in life and ministry:

  • Room, board and meals for 1-3 months in Southern New Mexico
  • Intentional community with Sisters of Charity
  • Program structure customized to participants needs
  • Weekly volunteer experience at the border
  • Spiritual Direction and overall health counseling
  • Career planning and development

About the Program

The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati have developed the AVE program for women returning from a year or more of volunteer service to help integrate the experience as they explore “what’s next” in their lives.  Over the years we have had volunteers live and serve with us and have offered hospitality and support to young adults serving at the border with several other programs.   Our experiences have inspired us to create this re-entry program to facilitate a smooth transition after volunteer service.

We successfully piloted AVE in 2014 and now open application to women volunteers returning from long-term service with a Catholic Volunteer Network member program.  Our rolling admission process allows a flexible start date for candidates who may choose the length of the program from one to three months. We only ask that participants cover travel expenses to and from Casa de Caridad, located outside of El Paso, TX in southern New Mexico.

Casa de Caridad is the initial formation house for the Sisters of Charity (SC). Volunteers live intentionally with the local SC community along with friendly pets (dogs and cats). We have a common ministry across the border in Mexico at a center for children with special needs, Proyecto Santo Niño, where AVE participants volunteer on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Saturday.

Additional components available during AVE include spiritual direction, mental health, vocational and career counseling.  There is a weekly integrative conference with the program director.  Participants may choose to attend a Mission-to-Mission weekend re-entry program (https://missiontomission.org/reentry.html) and make a privately directed retreat at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in Cincinnati.

Who is the program for?

Cara Gubbins (front, left) an AVE participant, peels green chiles at Casa de Caridad – an annual community ritual.

The ideal applicant for AVE is a woman who wants to make meaning of her volunteer experience in the greater context of her life. Because we are Catholic women religious, living in a marginal place, crossing the border in service, we are seeking women who want to continue to be transformed by encountering Christ in persons who are poor and marginalized. Discernment is a lifelong process of opening our decision-making to the Spirit of God. We are hoping to find women who want to develop their capacity for personal and communal discernment.

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Directed Spirituality Retreats
Jun 4 @ 4:00 pm – Jun 10 @ 12:00 pm

S. Judith Bonini, IHM, has been involved in retreat/spiritual direction for more than 20 years. Presently she is pastoral services director at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Motherhouse in Monroe, Michigan. Her deep love is spiritual direction and retreat ministry. S. Judith invites the person to name God’s invitation, to reverence and to respond to this mystery as it unfolds in one’s life experiences.

S. Maureen Heverin, SC, received formal training in spiritual direction at the Jesuit Renewal Center in Milford, Ohio, in 1990. Her ministry experience includes elementary and adult education, social service work, spiritual formation, and leadership in the Sisters of Charity. Presently, S. Maureen’s ministry in the Spirituality Center includes spiritual direction, directing retreats and facilitating various spiritual programs.

S. Mary Ann Humbert, SC, participated in the summer Institute in Spiritual Direction out of Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, and studied in the Christian Spirituality program at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. She completed her internship in retreat and spiritual direction at Milford Spiritual Center where she subsequently worked as part of the internship training team. She has conducted prayer classes, retreat opportunities and adult educational sessions for men and women from diverse religious traditions. She is trained in bio-spirituality and focusing and has been journeying with others as a spiritual director since 1973.

For more information.

Read About…

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S. Marie Vincentia Roney

Sister Marie Vincentia Roney died June 1, 2023 at the age of  90 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility for the Sisters of Charity, Cincinnati, Ohio. Sister Marie Vincentia was born on July 8, 1932 to Edward M. and Josephine (Lerch) Roney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was one of 13 children, six girls and seven boys. She was a Sister of Charity for 71 years. READ MORE.