FAQs about BVM Association
1. Do all religious communities have Associates or Affiliates?
No, not all do. It is a choice of the religious community to have Associates or Affiliates join us in their religious community.
2. What is the difference between an Associate and a Sister?
Associates are women and men who wish to formally associate themselves with a religious community, their mission and spirituality. BVM Associates commit to living out the BVM core values of freedom, justice, education and charity. They do so while continuing to live independently their own life style of being single or married. Sisters take vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience, live in community, sharing all finances, and share responsibility for the welfare of the members of their religious community.
3. How are BVM Associates integrated into the life and mission of the BVMs?
- join with BVMs in their ministries
- volunteer with them in meal programs, hospitals, parishes
- join with them in justice projects
- pray with them in local BVM and Associate gatherings (clusters) at days of prayer, on retreats
- participate in meetings
- are members of BVM committees, and
- socialize with BVMs.
4. What is the process for becoming a member of the BVM Associate community?
- Contact a BVM Associate Coordinator indicating interest in becoming an Associate.
- Dialogue with a BVM Sister, a BVM Associate, or a local BVM community
- Participate in a discernment and orientation process, which includes becoming acquainted with other BVM Sisters, if time and geography permit, through cluster meetings, days of prayer, service projects, and social events.
- Make a formal commitment with the BVM community.
5. Do BVM Associates live only where there are BVMs?
No, the more than 160 BVM Associates live throughout the U.S. and Ecuador. These days, relationships can be nurtured long-distance by email, video conferencing or telephone. Several Associates have participated in the Orientation/Discernment process many miles from the nearest BVM or BVM Associate. Candidates and Associates are encouraged to travel to Associate or BVM gatherings in order to build community and perhaps share ministry.
6. What are the responsibilities of an Associate?
BVM Associates are responsible for maintaining an on-going relationship with the BVM community by participating, whenever possible, in clusters or regional or national gatherings. They also join BVMs in prayer and attend Associate or BVM retreats or days of prayer when possible.
If Associates can dedicate some time, they volunteer in ministry or service projects. And they live the core values of freedom, charity, education and justice, and BVM spirituality. Associates and vowed members work together in furthering the mission of Jesus to bring peace and justice to our global community.
7. Do you have to be Catholic to be a BVM Associate?
One does not have to be Catholic to be a BVM Associate and can be a member of any faith tradition. But someone interested in Association needs to be willing to join with BVMs in prayer and mission and to commit to living out the BVM core values.
8. Is there a financial commitment to Association?
BVM Associates live an independent life style of marriage or single life. They do not have a financial responsibility to the BVM community but share their time and talent in a mutual relationship with vowed members.