By Dominique Johnson
All Catholics in their baptism are called to embrace their anointing as priest, prophet and king to spread the message of the Gospel and be active members of the Church. There are many ways we are called, and for Bonnie Elder and Lisa McDowell, they found their calling as Associates in Mission for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
In an intimate ceremony in August at the National Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau, Elder and McDowell were welcomed into the community of Associates in Mission of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. The ceremony was led by Director of Associated Chanin Wilson and Regional Representative Destiny Sargeant. Also in attendance at the celebration, was Sr. Dee Sizler, who had previously served in Juneau.
In her introduction, Wilson shared that Associates in Mission are “women and men who share in the mission and spirit of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.” She then continued by reading the mission statement for Associates in Mission:
“We Associates of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are women and men striving to live the Gospel values. Called by God, we choose to be in mutual relationship with the Sisters of Charity guided by their Mission Statement. We commit ourselves to participate in this mission through our individual life situations.”
Before both women received their pins as associated, Sargeant read the discernment papers of each candidate to those in attendance. In Bonnie Elder’s paper, she shared why she wanted to part of the Sisters of Charity. “I hope to assist my Juneau sisters and increase my spiritual life,” she said. Elder added that she was inspired by the charisms of St. Vincent de Paul of simplicity, humility and charity.
In McDowell’s paper, she said, “I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.” During her discernment process, she said she was inspired by the founders of the Sisters of Charity, including St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. McDowell’s paper concluded saying, “So often the distractions of the world pull me away from God’s love and relationships with other people,” but with her new community, “I feel God calling me back to live with simplicity humility and charity.”
After their papers were read, both women read and signed their commitment to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Then both Bonnie Elder and Lisa McDowell received their pins, making them Associates in Mission. Elder and McDowell join six other Associates in Mission living in Juneau and a community of over 200 associated serving in the United States.
If you are interested in spreading the Gospel and serving those in need in your community as an Associate in Mission of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, you can contact Regional Representative Destiny Sargeant at 907-723-9828.