I realize that a lot of you have no idea what this really means. But to me, its one of the most important things I've ever done in my life, and it will be one of my proudest moments.
I am going to answer some of the questions I've been getting about this whole process.
What exactly is an associate?
Per the website, An associate member of the Sisters of Mercy is a woman or man who agrees to share the Mercy community life and mission in the tradition of Catherine McAuley through ministry, prayer, study, retreats, celebrations and bonds of friendship. Joined together, Associates and Sisters of Mercy strive to support one another through prayer, participation in community life, and service to those with whom they live and work.
Why are you doing this?
Think of the place that you love the most, where you feel the most comfortable and are the most at peace and at home. For me, I have two places. One is my parents house, and the second is 11 mile and middlebelt. Mercy's campus. Mercy is a part of me. I went to a Mercy High School where I was deeply influenced by our president, Sr Regina. She was so gentle and sweet, and took the opportunity to actually know and care about the students. I saw how much good she did, I saw how genuine she was in each action and interaction. Then I did a year of volunteer service through Mercy Volunteer Corps, where I not only was revitalized in my spirituality but I was surrounded by Sisters of Mercy, who were, plain and simple, doing the work of Jesus Christ. And they did it with a smile on their face and opened the arms to everyone with whom they came in contact with. These women, these educated, dedicated, compassionate women, are so amazing. I brag about them all the time, talking about their accomplishments and works of compassion. I can't just talk about it as if I'm not a part of it, as if it's something I barely know anything about. Mercy is a part of me, it runs in my blood. To just walk away from that would be unjust. I belong there. And not only that, but I have a desire to be like those women. But since I also have a desire to be married and have children, I know becoming a sister is not for me. Being an associate gives me the opportunity to walk closely with these women, to pray with them, to encourage them as they encourage me. It is not only a promise but a bound relationship. Does that explain it well enough? I feel like I never can quite put it into words. I just. I just know that this is what I want to do.
Once you're an associate, what happens next?
That's a darn good question and one that I have spent the last few weeks discerning. To me being an associate is more than just showing up for an event every once in a while. It is truly being with the sisters in prayer and service (and also fun! those gals can have a good time!) There may be opportunities to put some of my gifts to use. For example, I am so very passionate about the importance and power of mentoring. I also (clearly) love the Sisters and think they have so much wisdom to offer. So I'd love for there to be more of a connect between the sisters and the students at the high school. We'll see where this journey takes me, what comes to me.
So as I spend the next week and a 1/2 in the final preparation of my ceremony, I ask that you say a quick prayer. Ask me questions- I sometimes get frustrated because it's so hard to explain, but I like talking about it and about my passion for Mercy.
I love you all and I want you to know that if you are reading this, it is likely that you have played a huge role in my life and in my spirituality, and for that I am most grateful.