Dubuque: Celebrating 20 Years of Associate Partnership and Relationship

In joy and gratitude, Presentation Sisters, associates and employees gathered for the 2018 Community Days of “Risking Radical Hospitality.” With this theme, everyone engaged in conversation about mission, exploring what radical hospitality looks like in action. During this opportune time, relationships were formed and others were renewed. These relationships will continue to grow as sisters and associates connect in spirit and love as prayer partners through the year.

Associates Carol Witry, Karen St. John and Billie Greenwood enjoy one another’s company.

Associate Colleen Vlaisavljevich describes those days together, “Our gathering was an experience of celebration, sorrow and affirmation. The opportunity to dig deep and share as the days of processing passed, brought wisdom, insight and a little humor. My concluding challenge is to be hospitable to others as well as myself.”

Associates Sue Murphy, Sue Brimmer and Cady Jo Windish take a break for a photo op.

Friday was dedicated specifically to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Associate Partnership. The sisters and associates spent the morning in separate sessions. Each group took some time to reflect on the questions: In the context of hospitality, what would you (associates/sisters) like to say to the sisters/asociates after 20 years of partnership?

In the afternoon, sisters and associates reconnected again to share responses. Those gathered joined hands in silence and felt the pulsating energy of this relationship that has grown and enriched all during the past 20 years. Mutual gratitude was shared by all as they participate in the mission with energy, passion, leadership and presence. Many hopes and desires for moving forward together were shared as this journey of blessing and challenge continues to evolve.

In a recognition ritual that followed, words of Joan Chittister, OSB, were shared, “Religious and associates need one another because true companions make possible the growth of the other.” During the ceremony, each associate was called forth by name and the number of years of commitment. Sisters asked God’s blessings upon the associates and thanked them for accepting and deepening God’s call to holiness and service as they make visible radical hospitality. Associates asked God’s blessings upon the sisters and thanked them for their friendship and example of carrying the light of Nano offering hope and love to our broken world.

Associates bless and thank the sisters for accepting and deepening God’s call to holiness and service as they make visible radical hospitality.

As a remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the associate partnership, sisters and associates received a card including the following reflective poem written by Associate Char McCoy.

twenty years ago
invited to travel together
share, pray, challenge, serve
old and young
male and female
vowed, singled, married
Nano guides the partnership
to share Christ’s light
with the scared, lonely, and poor
we celebrate in faith, hope, and love
stepping into the next 20 years

Associate Cady Windish left the gathering with these thoughts, “I come away refreshed and excited about carrying Nano’s flame to others. While the task is daunting, fire drives me forward, as I am sure it does for others. As an associate, I am very blessed to have the sisters and other associates in my life and will be forever thankful.”