Sisters and associates form a community of believers who embrace the gospel vision as lived out through the charism of BVM Foundress Mary Frances Clarke.
Associates offer sisters and one another friendship and support through prayer and service to others. Sisters offer associates the opportunity for shared prayer, friendship, and community, as well as mutual support in ministry. Both are enriched by opening themselves to relationships centered on the BVM charism and core values of freedom, education, charity, and justice.
What is the process for becoming an associate?
- Contact a BVM Associate Coordinator indicating your interest in becoming an associate.
- Dialogue with a BVM sister or associate.
- Become acquainted with other sisters through gatherings, prayer, service projects, and retreats.
- Make a formal commitment with the BVM community.
What is the difference between an associate and a sister?
BVM associates are laywomen and men who wish to formally associate themselves with the community, its mission and spirituality. Associates commit to living out the BVM core values of freedom, justice, education, and charity, while continuing their independent lifestyles as single or married persons. BVM sisters take vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience; live in community; and share all finances and responsibility for the welfare of their religious community.
What are the responsibilities of an associate?
Through spirituality and living the BVM core values, associates and vowed members work together in furthering the mission of Jesus to bring peace and justice to our global community. Associates also maintain an ongoing relationship with the BVM community by participating in events whenever possible.
Is there a financial commitment to association?
BVM associates have no financial responsibility to the BVM community but share their time and talent in a mutual relationship with vowed members.
Do you have to be a Catholic to be a BVM associate?
A BVM associate can be a member of any faith tradition. However, associates need to be willing to join with BVMs in prayer and mission and to commit to living out the BVM core values.
For more information about becoming a BVM associate, contact:
Office of Association
Sisters of Charity, BVM
1100 Carmel Drive
Dubuque, Iowa 52003-7991
563-588-2351 ext. 5498
“… by placing unwavering trust in God, as Mary Frances [Clarke, BVM Foundress] did, I can do my part to bring Light into our world.”
—Associate Kraig Pfiffner, Dubuque, Iowa
“Through association, I am learning that the mission and core values of the community serve as both compass and path, and it’s a journey we never have to take alone.”
—Associate Katie Pfiffner, Dubuque, Iowa
“I have been an associate for several years now and I do not know what I would have done without the wonderful BVM Sisters and Associates. … Being an Associate has brought so much to my life.”
—Associate Clara Schwartz, Glendale, California