4 new Associates look forward to 'strong spiritual life'

Each October near the Feast of St. Francis, the Sisters celebrate the entry of new Associates and the renewal of current Associates. This year, we welcomed four new Associates and celebrated the renewal of nine (Gene and Joan Dalebroux, Joan and Norb Jadin, Faith and Ron Sanderfoot, Georgia Seis, and Frank and Rose Vandersteen).

We asked our four new Associates to reflect on what led them to the Associate Relationship.


JelenRheda2012-100pxRheda Jelen
St. Jude Parish, Green Bay

Reda expressed clearly her heart's desire in the last weeks' preparation for entry. "The Associate Relationship is an answer to my search - a deepening of my faith life."

She continues this search by participating in the Scripture classes offered at her parish and shares her energies and efforts by serving on the Parish Council, as a Eucharistic Minister to people in the nursing home and shut-ins and as a funeral choir member.

 

MillerLynn2012Lynn Miller
Holy Spirit, Kimberly/Darboy

What was your first step toward considering the Associate Relationship?
After retirement, I wanted to find a way to increase my spiritual relationship with God in a communal setting, so I decided I would do it by attending daily Mass. At daily Mass, I discovered a dedicated group of people who practiced and lived their faith by starting each day in praise of God and by receiving Eucharist.  Soon, I forged a bond with my fellow communicants, prayed the rosary with them, shared prayer breakfasts with them, and attended retreats and Bible study with them.

How did you decide the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross was the community to which God was calling you?
One day, I mentioned to Lucy Timmers, a fellow daily communicant, how blessed I was to share such a close relationship with the people at daily Mass.  It was she who told me about the Associate Relationship that she enjoys with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross.  I was intrigued with the relationship because I had taught with Sisters Christine Wochos and Ruth Ann LaBine at St. John Nepomucene School in Little Chute, and I knew them to be kind, generous, prayerful, and happy individuals.  Somehow, I felt that God was directing me to a Franciscan call.

MillerGerald2012Gerry Miller
Holy Spirit, Kimberly/Darboy


What was your first step toward considering the Associate Relationship?
Like my wife, Lynn Miller, I continually look to increase my spiritual relationship with God.  Previously, I attended daily Mass, said the rosary daily, and participated as a member of parish and diocese committees. Because of some recent illnesses, however, I have had to slow considerably my involvement with Church activities.  That said, association with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross allows me to continue my faith journey along with others dedicated to a strong spiritual life.

What key learning did you discover about yourself, the Sisters, the Church or Franciscan life during the formation process?
During the formation process, Lynn  and I learned that the Franciscan lifestyle encourages us to live Christ's Gospel message as a path to attain holiness, to grow in friendship with God, and to serve others.  It also challenges us to appreciate even more the Roman Catholic Church and to live the Franciscan values of conversion, contemplation, poverty, and humility.

VannieuwenhovenPegPeg Vannieuwenhoven
St. Jude Parish, Green Bay

What was your first step toward considering the Associate Relationship?
First of all, Associate John Dillon had told me about this. At that time I was busy with family and didn't think I had time.  Then a few years later my schedule changed and I asked John about being an Associate and just what it was all about. He gave me a brochure explaining more about it. It interested me because in the back of my mind I had thought of something like that - it was always there. I didn't know how or when - so I prayed and waited on it.

How did you decide the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross was the community to which God was calling you?
I liked the charism - their more simple lifestyle and prayer of St. Francis as they go about their work. The times I visited the Sisters they were always so welcoming and really very joyful - which to me was their peace with God and themselves.


This story originally appeared in our 2012 Advent newsletter. Sign up to receive your free copy. And get ready for the Sunday readings with our weekly spiritual reflection sent right to your email inbox each Friday.