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Meet Our Newest Associates


Jill Burleson—November 2017

Jill Burleson, of Pacific, Mo., completed her discernment process with her companion, Mary Frances Reis, BVM (Paul Adele), and the support of her prayer partner, Alice Caulfield, BVM (Alissio).

Since retiring from teaching high school English, Jill occupies herself with caring for her father, lecturing at her church, playing with her poodle Julia, gardening, singing, or baking.

In her affirmation letter, Mary Frances noted that “Jill is a very prayerful person, has wonderful energy, a good sense of humor, hope for the future, is committed to God’s will . . . and has a passion to spread Christ’s word and love. Jill is a gift, not just for me but for every one she meets as she spreads her special gift of joy.”

Jill’s humor, humility and intellect combined with her deep love of God and our Blessed Virgin Mary are reflective of her commitment to the BVM core values and charism of BVM Foundress Mary Frances Clarke. This is especially true in her charity and service to the needy, the poor and the lonely. She is seeking to reach out in love to others and feels “immeasurably blessed and graced” by her friend and companion, Mary Frances Reis.

Jill’s commitment ceremony will take place on Dec. 8 at St. Bridget of Kildare Church in Pacific, Mo., following the Mass.

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David King—July 2017

On July 11, 2017, David King became the 303rd BVM associate. He began his discernment process along with his wife Blanche. Mary Janine Wolff, BVM has companioned both of them together. They live in Mora, Minn.

When not working as the dairy and frozen foods manager for Corban’s Supermarket, David volunteers with youth, gardens, raises chickens and bees, is involved in many different social justice activities, and participates in mission trips.

Raised with a Quaker background, David came to the Catholic faith and has helped lead others to a deeper understanding of God, Catholicism, and the BVM charism. In his application for association he stated, “BVM charism is the ability to further BVM core values and Christ’s teachings through gifts bestowed upon each individual by the Holy Spirit. Using my dedication to nonviolence, I pray I can convince people that Christ’s teachings are the true path to follow.”

David enjoys the social justice activities that have led him to spirituality. He is eager to see where association will take him as he develops stronger relationships with others. Mary Janine shared that “he sees Christ in each customer and each co-worker.”

David’s commitment ceremony will be held at Mount Carmel on Aug. 20, 2017.

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Blanche King—July 2017

Blanche King, of Mora, Minn., is an associate who completed her discernment process with her husband David King. Together, they were companioned by Mary Janine Wolff, BVM, who also happens to be Blanche’s aunt.

Blanche has a gift for providing loving care and attention for others as a hospice nurse and as a Eucharistic minister.

Mary Janine shared many stories that demonstrated Blanche’s lifelong care for and service to people as a “caring and concerned nurse.” Blanche also took care of her mother, who later died of cancer. Mary Janine noted that “Blanche is always ready to serve God, family and neighbors. She sees Christ in her contacts.”

Blanche shared that “Catholic social teaching is very important to me.” She tries to live her life by these teachings and finds that “the BVM core values enhance these principles and guide me deeper into them.” Blanche looks for opportunities to seek justice on the border and believes that “social justice equals equality.”

Her commitment ceremony will take place at Mount Carmel on Aug. 20, 2017.

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Carol Gronewold—February 2017

Carol Gronewold, born in Chicago, is an active parishioner at Immaculate Conception in Carthage, Ill., where she has served as lector, rosary coordinator, and on the pastoral council. She has also volunteered at Carthage Memorial Hospital, Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum, Foods for Thought, and the VA Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.

An elementary and middle school teacher, a community college administrator and an assistance specialist for seniors, Carol began her college education in 1958, completing her freshman and sophomore years at Clarke University in Dubuque. She continued her education while raising a family of five, graduating from Quincy University in 1974 and Western Illinois University in 1987.

With travel to Spain, Italy and the Holy Land checked off her bucket list, Carol will join the April BVM outreach Ecuador Immersion Trip. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren play college basketball, coach, and play volleyball as Carol enthusiastically follows their sports.

Understanding the BVM/associate relationship, Carol anticipates making new friends on her journey of service and social justice projects, retreats and cluster connections. Her BVM companion, Karen Conover, encourages her relationship with associates and sisters as “a great way to grow in familiarity with BVM ministry, thought and culture.”

Carol will celebrate her associate commitment ceremony on Saturday, March 25, 2017, in the Mount Carmel Motherhouse Chapel.

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