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Curious about Associate Relationship?

Sr. Joan Mahoney & Regina Smith

Congratulations to new Associates!

On January 8 at the Chapel of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in North Providence, four women became Congregation of Notre-Dame Associates. In addition to attending the monthly Rhode Island Associate Gatherings when they could, these four women participated in the Formation blog. Since the theme of the Prayer Service for the Feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys was “Go to the peripheries”, we are focusing on how they do that in their lives using their own words.

Barbara was active in St. Paul’s Parish where Sr. Mary Ann Rossi served and is a volunteer at Quonnie. In addition to being a loving wife and mother, Barbara teaches first grade in a low income area. Many of the parents deal with financial and personal difficulties. As she says “My job as a teacher is to educate the parents of my students in how they can help their child at home and better their child’s education. And I … do this in a very respectful and unprejudiced manner… I think as a teacher you have to be open-minded. In taking on the Congregation of Notre-Dame charism, I want to take the gifts that God has given me and let it flow onto others freely with confidence and without judgment or apprehension.” Like St. Marguerite, Barbara sees the importance of educating the whole family with gentleness and care.

Kathy attended Notre Dame Academy in Waterbury, CT and is the niece of one of our sisters. In addition to being a wife, mother, grandmother and being active in her parish community, Kathy is a Hospital Chaplain. As she wrote: “So often I find myself visiting a patient who is anxious about their newly found diagnosis, or decision about having surgery or not, or just sadness about broken family relationships. The real life situations people face or worry about while in a hospital setting are endless. … I have my list of patients to see each day, but at times I go into someone’s room who may not be on my list or I visit just at the right time when the patient has gotten some medical information that is distressing. I am often told that I bring them such peace or am a reminder that God is with them. I just smile and tell them that it is the Holy Spirit who has sent me to them.” So like St. Marguerite in her comforting the sick and the dying in New France.

Judy is a devoted mother and grandmother. She attended and taught at St. Mary’s of the Visitation in Providence, RI. Now in retirement from many years as teacher and high school counselor, she is journeying, like Marguerite, but only a mile and a half to a “new Mission” in a beautifully renovated shelter for women and their children. In Judy’s words “As one of two volunteer case managers I leave the comforts of my home and “voyage” into the chaos of the world of the young clients there, trying to help them to find ways to “liberate” themselves from the horrific events of their past and the terrible parenting they received… Liberating education for these young people is a painfully slow and a tedious process that is so foreign to them…. The number of remaining steps is myriad. I believe that God is in this mess somewhere. And so I pray whether there is perceived progress or not, God’s will will be done, I am only His instrument.”

Roberta met Sr. Mary Ann Rossi at her home parish and came to know associates at Quonnie retreats. In her position, truly a ministry, of accompanying families of children with special needs, she travels to the peripheries bringing hope. As Roberta describes it, she feels a connection to Mary on her journey “bringing families to the support they need, the information they need, the help they need… The gifts and talents I bring to the Congregation of Notre-Dame relationship are very similar to what I offer in the day-to-day visitations I have with vulnerable people: I listen. Actively. I offer. I accept unconditionally. And I try to do this with respect, a large amount of humility as well as a sense of humor. My charism is that most especially: God has gifted me with the grace to laugh at the darkest times and that has made all the difference.

Debbie became a Congregation of Notre-Dame Associate on January 21 at Wilton, CT, and has been part of the Wilton, CT community for over two years. Associate Bernadette Pavlowski and later also Vicki Remson would meet with her for Formation sessions to become a Congregation of Notre-Dame Associate. Debbie met CNDs both at St. Thomas Elementary School in Norwalk and Notre Dame Academy in Ridgefield, CT. Sr. Stacy Hanrahan was her teacher and is a long time friend and Sr. Ann Moore was her principal.

Debbie has been a dedicated kindergarten teacher in a low income area of Norwalk, CT for many years. She gave herself wholeheartedly to each child and helped parents enhance their child’s education at home. To her, each child was a precious gift of God.

Now that Debbie is retired from teaching, she is wide open to how God is calling her. As she wrote in her application:

“My journey continues as a walk (or sometimes hike) with St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and Jesus. The Congregation of Notre-Dame Associate Relationship is being woven into my life tapestry with glistening threads of hope, courage, compassion and joy. It is with great desire that I walk this journey…a desire to serve as a Congregation of Notre-Dame associate. The spirit of the Visitation and Pentecost reign in the deepest part of me…the spiritual place where humanity and divinity embrace. I believe that God continues to call me to a life of prayer and service through the CND Associate Relationship.”

We welcome these five gifted women to the Congregation of Notre-Dame Associate Relationship with great joy and gratitude. If anyone wishes to send their congratulations to these new Associates, you can contact us at CND, 30 Highfield Rd, Wilton, CT 06789 or and we will forward your wishes to them. 


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