Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Associates: A 50 Year History 1972-2022 (Part 06)

by | Aug 15, 2022 | Formation | 0 comments

The First Core Council
Sister Anne Rita chaired the first meeting of the SCNA Core Council at Nazareth on September 17-19, 1982. The original Core Council consisted of one SCN and one Associate from each of the six SCN provinces in America at the time. The first SCN Associate Core Council consisted of Sister Thérèse Arru and Ms. Beth Stock of the Nazareth Province; Sister Alice Hofmann and Mrs. Connie Lusher of the Louisville I Province; Sister Anne Magruder and Mr. Edwin Green of the Louisville II Province; Sister Barbara Spencer and Mr. Tom Riley of the Southern Province; Sister Patricia Norton and Mrs. Ann-Marie Houghton of the Eastern Province; and Sister Louis Catharine Kennedy and Mr. Louis Buschermohle of the Central Province. (Sisters Alice Hofmann and Patricia Norton were unable to attend the first Core Council meeting). Sister Barbara Thomas opened the meeting with a presentation on the history of the SCN Associates up to that point. With the history of the Associates in mind, the Council members and Sister Anne Rita looked to the future, discussing many questions regarding the nature of the Associate relationship. Among the topics discussed were the need for formation and education programs for new Associates, clarification of the types of Associate membership, ways that the Sisters and Associates could better connect through news and gatherings, and ways that SCN Associate talents could be utilized for the good of the SCN mission with proper networking. By the end of this first meeting, the Core Council decided to create an education program for those interested in becoming Associates who were newly introduced to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, which would give them a greater understanding of the history of the SCNs and their charism. In addition to the education program, the Core Council set a goal of crafting a formation process for all those wishing to become Associates.[59]By May of 1983, the Core Council and Sister Anne Rita Mauck made the decision to eliminate the distinctions of “active,” “semi-active,” and “designated” membership types. They published a clarified explanation of Associate membership and set down guidelines for renewal of Associate membership and a process for seeking permanent membership. Associate membership could be renewed annually for a period of three years, at which time the Associate could request permanent membership if they chose.[60] By the end of Sister Anne Rita’s time as Associate Director, the Associate relationship was better defined than ever before, and major advancements in structure were in progress.

Sister Rosemarie Chase

Fourth Associate Director, Sister Rosemarie Chase
Sister Rosemarie Chase’s sharp mind and background in theology were uniquely suited to guide the SCN Associates to the attainment of one of the Core Council’s major goals. Soon after Sister Rosemarie was appointed Associate Director in August of 1984, the Core Council met to hear her proposal for initial and continuing Associate formation. The goal of religious formation is to form a deeper connection with one’s faith. In the context of the SCN Associates, the goal of formation is to deepen the Associates’ connection with their Christian faith and with the specific charism of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, which the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth follow. Sister Rosemarie proposed a formation program modeled after the Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Her plan called for, “…small groups of interested SCNs, SCNAs, and potential SCNAs to meet once a month according to a specific format of shared prayer, shared faith and ministry experience and input about the SCN community.”[61] Those interested in becoming Associates would join one of these groups for a year and, at the end of that year, could discern with their group whether or not they were ready to make a commitment as an Associate. All those choosing to make a commitment would then be received in a commitment ceremony on September 27, the feast of St. Vincent de Paul.[62]

As Sister Rosemarie guided the Associates to a more structured formation program, Sister Barbara Spencer (Southern Province SCN Associate contact person) was building a stronger foundation for the Associates in Belize. On July 6, 1986, Sister Barbara Spencer, conducted the first formal SCN Associate orientation meeting in Belize at the SCN House in San Ignacio. Four people, Nea and Ycela Church, and Olga and Lourdes Smith, attended this first meeting. The next day, Sister Barbara held a second meeting across the river in Santa Elena which was attended by an even greater number including Maria Andrews, Francesca Jones, Teodi Ruiz, Silvestra Zepata, Catalina Allen, Magdalena Rodriquez and Louise Lewis all of Santa Elena. Inez and David Cabb and Digna Tun from Santa Familia Village also attended.[63] By the fall of 1986, two more Belizeans, Jerris and Lorraine Valentine, had made commitments as SCN Associates.[64] The following year, Simeon and Juanita Joseph of Dangriga joined the growing number of SCN Associates in Belize.[65]

Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy, interim SCN Associate Director

Interim Director, Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy, and Fifth Associate Director, Sister Mary Lynn Fields
In June of 1987, when Sister Rosemarie was called to minister as RCIA Director in Ohio, Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy stepped up to serve as interim Director of the Associates until a new director could be chosen.[66] A few months later, on September 1, 1987, Sister Mary Lynn Fields became Associate Director. The September 18-20 Core Council meeting welcomed both the new director and two new Council members: Sisters Pat Kelley and Kay Winfield. The group was once again faced with the perennial issue of types of Associate membership. The difference in how each Associate carried out their Associate relationship confused many. The Council identified four separate levels of membership, in practice if not in name: those who supported the Congregation through prayers and donations, those active in ministry but not directly involved with SCN missions, those active in Faith Groups or otherwise visibly a part of SCN ministries, and those who wished “to make a temporary commitment to share life and ministry in community.”[67] A committee was appointed to determine the best way to handle the variety of Associate membership types. The Council also discussed and approved plans for the formation program, implementing a formation day in the spring, and redesigning the SCN Associate brochure. They also elected new officers: Pat Crivelli, SCNA was elected vice-chairperson and Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy was re-elected secretary. The meeting included a retirement party for Sister Barbara Spencer, who was retiring from her role on the Core Council after nine years of ministry.[68]

Sister Mary Lynn Fields

By January of 1988, there were approximately 375 SCN Associates in India, Belize, and the United States.[69] In an effort to promote greater connection amongst the scattered Associates and Sisters, a temporary newsletter, the SCN/A Connector, was mailed out every six weeks.[70] The Ad Hoc Committee appointed to address the confusion of Associate membership styles, consisting of Sisters Mary Lynn Fields, Mary Ransom Burke, Mary Ellen Doyle, Patricia Huitt, Mary Eula Johnson and Patricia Worley and Associates James and Pat McGrew, had been hard at work.[71] They had observed two ways to fulfill an Associate commitment, which the committee named “participative” membership and “affiliate” membership and proposed that the Core Council make them official membership types. Affiliate members were those who participated primarily through prayer and financial support (and in ministry when possible), while participative members were more active in ministry alongside the Sisters. The type of membership an Associate wished to have was to be specified in their commitment statements.[72] These membership types as well as policies and procedures were approved by the Core Council at a meeting held at Nazareth on March 18-19, 1988.[73]

Written by Kelly McDaniels, Archivist, SCNA

A history this multifaceted could not have been wrangled into a coherent document without the help of many. I am immensely grateful to all of those who have assisted in any way. First and foremost, a huge thank you to Mary Martin, SCNA, for giving me a solid basis for what to include in this history and for painstakingly reviewing each and every draft. Thank you to Sister Maria Vincent Brocato for interviewing multiple SCN Associates as part of this project, to Sister Malini Manjaly, Archivist in Mokama, for helping me piece together the history of the Associates in India, and to Sister Nalini Meachariyil for helping me with the history of the Associates in Botswana. My thanks as well to Tammy Mattingly, SCNA and Administrative Assistant of the Associate Office, for answering a million and more questions; and to my many wonderful readers (listed below) who have helped with grammar, clarity, and adding a richness to this story that I could not have achieved on my own. Thank you to all of those who contributed their memories and beautiful stories from the past fifty years: Evelyn Faldowski, SCNA; Mary Gene Frank, SCNA; Sister Paschal Maria Fernicola; Sister Barbara Flores; Sister Rhoda Kay Glunk; Charlotte Hazas, SCNA; Sister Beverly Hoffman; Donna Kenney; Sister Rosemarie Kirwan; Sister Marlene Lehmkuhl; Trudi Maish, SCNA; Andy Meyer, SCNA; Jo Ann Paulin, SCNA; Peggy Masterson Ryan, SCNA; Sister Marilyn Shea; and many others who shared a story in passing. Finally, thank you to each and every person whom I have peppered with questions or who has listened to me obsess over this impossibly tangled history for the past several months.

Reviewed and proofread by: Maria Vincent Brocato, SCN; Sharon Cecil, SCNA; Mary Gene Frank, SCNA; Charlotte Hazas, SCNA; Josef Jareczek, Ph.D., best friend of the Archivist; Sister Marlene Lehmkuhl; Mary Martin, SCNA; and Sister Marilyn Shea.


Note on sources: Sources used in this history can be located at the Nazareth Archival Center, SCN Center, or on the SCN Family website.

[59] Kelley, Patricia. “SCNA Council Meets to Develop Program.” SCN News. November 1982, Vol. II, No. 2, p. 7

[60] “SCNA Program.” SCN News. May 1983, Vol. XI, No. 8, pp. 8-9.

[61] Shaughnessy, Mary Angela. “SCNA Council meets director.” SCN News. Nov. 1984, Vol. XIII, No. 3, p. 4.

[62] Ibid.

[63] SCN Annals. Belize, San Ignacio. 6-7 July 1986; Meisner, Margaret. “SCNA program discussed in Cayo, Belize.” SCN News. Oct. 1986, Vol. XV, No. 2, p. 20.

[64] SCN Directory. 1986-1987, p. 94; Wendeln, Elizabeth. Letter to Kelly A. McDaniels (email). 8 Jan. 2022..

[65] Southern Province Bulletin. Dec. 1987, p. 5; Wendeln, Elizabeth. Letter to Kelly A. McDaniels (email). 8 Jan. 2022..

[66] SCN Associate Office. History of the SCN Associate Relationship 1971-2019 (powerpoint).

[67] Shaughnessy, Mary Angela. “SCNA Council has meeting.” SCN News. Oct. 1987, Vol. XVI, No. 2, pp. 4&6.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Fields, Mary Lynn. “SCNA Council wants to revive program.” SCN News. Jan. 1988, Vol. XVI, No. 4, p. 6.

[70] Ibid.

[71] Doyle, Mary Ellen and Burke, Mary Ransom. “Ad Hoc committee devises SCNA Mission Corps plan.” SCN News. Jan. 1988, Vol. XVI, No. 4, p. 6.

[72] Fields, Mary Lynn. “SCNA Council wants to revive program.” SCN News. Jan. 1988, Vol. XVI, No. 4, p. 6.

[73] Shaughnessy, Mary Angela. “Report on SCNA Council meeting.” SCN News. Mar. 1988, Vol. XVI, No. 6, p. 11.



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