Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Associates: A 50 Year History 1972-2022 (Part 13)

by | Sep 10, 2022 | Formation

Andy Meyer Named Associate Director
Jo Ann Paulin, second lay Director of the SCN Associates, retired on December 29, 2017 and the search for a new Associate Director continued.[165] For the first time since Sister Donna Kenney became Director in 1974, the Associate program was without a Director. Interviews of three applicants were scheduled for March 2018, but the decision was made to cancel the April SCN Associate weekend due to the lack of the needed Director and secretarial assistance.[166] As a result of those interviews, Andy Meyer, SCNA, was hired as Associate Director. Andy had previously worked alongside SCNs as the Director of the Pain Management Center at Saints Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in Louisville and in multiple leadership roles in the Psychology Department at Spalding University. He brought with him talents for listening, recognizing needs, and organization. He stepped into his new role on May 7, 2018, ready to work with the Associates to tackle the question of who the SCN Associates would become.[167]

Andy Meyer, SCNA

Andy, with Administrative Assistant to the Associate Office Tammy Mattingly, SCNA, and the Core Council, set to work meeting with as many Associates as possible, much as Sister Marlene had done many years before. They met with several local Associates and traveled to many places in the United States and Belize to meet in person with Associates there as well.[168] In June 2018, Andy and Tammy met with several previous SCN Associate Directors, including Sisters Marilyn Shea and Marlene Lehmkuhl, Peggy Masterson Ryan, and Jo Ann Paulin, to discuss needed changes in the formation process with the goal of making initial Associate formation more accessible for a wider range of people. At that meeting, the group agreed that a renewed Formation Committee should be created to study the issue and determine potential changes to formation.[169] The newly resurrected Formation Committee, consisting of Sister Pat Huitt and Associates Peggy Masterson Ryan, Elaine Belflowers, Jerry McCrary, Paula Duane, Tootsie Gish, Dorothy Zimmerman, Betsy Kammerdiener, and Maggie Vargas, set to work reviewing, “…the previous [formation] process, national trends in formation, and [collating] feedback from … Inquirers, Candidates and Associates.”[170] Over the months, the membership of the Formation Committee changed. Sister Pat Huitt and Paula Duane stepped back from their roles on the committee to address other matters and Mary Martin SCNA, Sister Rhoda Kay Glunk, and Sister Lorena Fleishman joined the committee. The group worked hard to research current trends in Associate formation, review the existing formation process for SCN Associates, and craft a formation study guide for future SCN Associates.[171]

Associates Andy and Diane Meyer and Tammy Mattingly traveled to Memphis to meet with the Memphis Area Associates in October 2018.

In November 2018, Andy, Tammy, and Tootsie Gish hosted a Lunch and Learn event for all Nazareth employees. The three shared information about the SCN Associate relationship and their individual experiences as Associates. They informed those gathered of the many changes that were taking place during this period of renewal of the Associate relationship, including the revised formation process.[172] That month, mentors were officially established as part of SCN Associate initial formation. Each Inquirer or Candidate would be assigned a mentor who would walk with them through their formation as an SCN Associate. The mentorship program permitted a more individualized approach to each person’s formation. Every Candidate’s formation needs can then be assessed and addressed on a personal level. The Candidate and the mentor then work together to find ways to fill any gaps in their formation. In order to fill those gaps, the Associate Office also established a resource library to be available to all Associates. All of the subjects previously addressed in SCN Associate formation remained but were organized into a “Pillars of Formation” chart for better understanding. Now rebranded, the Pillars of Formation included Historical/Traditional Formation, Spiritual Formation, and Relational Formation.[173] In March 2019, a subcommittee of the Formation Committee consisting of Associates Elaine Belflowers, Mary Martin and Dorothy Zimmerman began work to identify specific content for each topic under each of the three Pillars that would satisfy SCN Associate formation requirements. The subcommittee drafted the Initial Formation Study Guide and presented it to the full Formation Committee, which then worked with and later approved it. The guide defines formation content while building in flexibility to accommodate those who cannot attend all the formation events at Nazareth. For example, attendance at a specific SCN Associate formation event, viewing the video of that event, viewing another specified video, or reading a specific book may meet a requirement for a formation topic. The assigned Mentor works with the Candidate throughout this formation process.[174]

Catching the spirit of renewal and life running through the Associates at this time, the Louisville Area Network was reactivated. On December 9, 2018, the members of the Louisville Area Associate Network hosted an Advent prayer service entitled, “Call to Women – Season of Hope,” in the hospitality room at Nazareth Home. Those who attended brought donations for UP (Uniting Partners) for Women and Children.[175]

Two months later, the SCN Associates held their first collaborative retreat. The Nazareth Retreat Center and the SCN Associates partnered to host a retreat entitled, “Vincent and Louise: Contemplatives in Action,” led by Sister Rhoda Kay Glunk from February 22-24, 2019. The retreat served as a formation event for Associates but was open to the general public as well. The partnership between Retreat Center and Associates was a huge success. The event was attended by more than eighty people including Sisters, Associates, and Inquirers.[176]

Five SCN Associates, Rupa D’Souza, Mary Prema, Eva Prathima, Jessie Meena, and Sharmila Wilson, make first commitments in Chandapura in September 2019.

By the end of Andy’s first year as Associate Director, the Associates had, “…been invited on a journey of renewal.”[177] The Formation and Finance Committees and local networks had been revitalized.[178] After the many discussions with Associates in the United States and Belize, the Core Council and Andy came up with answers to six critical questions: Why do we exist? How do we behave? What do we do? How will we succeed? What is most important, right now? Who must do what? These questions and their answers served to provide greater focus and help the Associates move to, “…greater organizational health.”[179]

Together, Associate Director Andy and the Core Council published the following answers: The SCN Associates exist to grow in spirituality and community with one another and with the broader SCN family as well as to reach out in service to those in need. They strive to live in humility, simplicity, and charity. The answer to the question “What do we do?” was two-fold. The Core Council provides leadership and direction while individual Associates live out the charism of the SCNs. The Core Council and Andy determined that the Associates would succeed by increasing Associate membership and meeting the needs – formational, relational, and spiritual – of each Associate. The most important things in the spring of 2019 were increasing membership, creating a formation study guide, and dedicated, regular communications regarding all changes being made during this time of renewal. The Director, the Core Council, members of the various committees, and each individual Associate were all seen as having roles ranging from leadership to providing feedback and suggestions as the Associate relationship shifted into a new era.[180]

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.

[165] Paulin, Jo Ann. Response to Interview Questions. Nov. 2021.

[166] Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Board. Board Minutes. 1 Mar. 2018. p. 2.

[167] Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Board. Board Minutes. 26 Apr. 2018. p. 5; Meyer, Andy. Responses to Interview Questions. 28 Oct. 2021; Meyer, Andy. “A Message From the Director of the Associates.” SCN Associate Newsletter. Spring 2018. p. 1.

[168] Meyer, Andy. Responses to Interview Questions. 28 Oct. 2021; Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Board. Board Minutes. 29 Aug. 2018. p. 2.

[169] “On June 26th Andy and Tammy met with former Directors of the Associates.” SCN Associate Newsletter. Summer 2018. p. 2

[170] Meyer, Andy. SCN Associate Program Director’s Report to the Western Province Board. Aug. 2018.

[171] Martin, Mary. Letter to Kelly A. McDaniels (email). 4 Jan. 2022.

[172] Hinton, Dana. “SCN Associates.” SCN News. 14 Nov. 2018

[173] Meyer, Andy. Responses to Follow-Up Interview Questions. 18 Nov. 2021. SCN Archival Center. SCN Associate Collection, file A.009, “History – 50 Years – Research Copies, etc.”; “The New Associate Formation Journey.” SCN Associate Newsletter. Spring 2019. p. 11-13.

[174] Martin, Mary. Letter to Kelly A. McDaniels (email). 9 Jan. 2022.

[175] “Advent Prayer” SCN Associate Newsletter. Fall 2018. p. 10.

[176] Hinton, Dana. “Vincent and Louise: Contemplatives in Action.” SCN News. 26 Feb. 2019; Hinton, Dana. “Vincent and Louise: Contemplatives in Action.” SCN Associate Newsletter. Spring 2019. p. 5.

[177] Meyer, Andy. “Creating a Shared Vision for the Future of the SCNA Relationship: A Journey of Faith.” SCN Associate Newsletter. Spring 2019. p. 1

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

[179] Meyer, Andy. “Creating a Shared Vision for the Future of the SCNA Relationship: A Journey of Faith.” SCN Associate Newsletter. Spring 2019. p. 2.

[180] Ibid. p. 2-3.