Our formation programme for our Associates is designed to explain the history and charism of our Congregation and our commitment to Gospel living through our Franciscan Spirituality. Through days of recollection and retreat as well as input on topics of Christian spirituality or contemporary Church documents, associates are able to deepen their own spirituality and Christian education. The discussions and opportunity to share their faith with one another is greatly appreciated by our Associates.
People who wish to explore our Associate Programme meet initially with Sr. Jennifer D’Cunha, Associate Co-ordinator, to discuss their interest. The initial formation involves a series of meetings, about 6 per year, over the course of two years. The Associates learn about our charism, our various ministries throughout the world, Franciscan spirituality and Christian spirituality. Each meeting involves time for prayer, meeting with the sisters, lunch and usually Mass. At the end of the two-year preparation members of the group who would like to do so make a yearly commitment to live as a Franciscan Associate by continuing their formation, meeting regularly with other associates, and living their own “personal way of life” that reflects their commitment to following the Gospel and Franciscan charism of the FMSJs.
Sr. Joan Kerley is the ongoing formation co-ordinator for the associates. All Associates who have made an initial commitment meet approximately 6 times per year to explore a topic together. The topic for 2019-2020 will be Fr. Danial O'Leary’s book, An Astonishing Secret, which is a reflection on Laudato Sí Past topics have focused on Franciscan spirituality, Laudato Sí (On Care for Our Common Home), and Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).
All Associates are assigned to a local community of sisters whom they meet with periodically. The various communities organise events together, e.g. book clubs, prayer days or social events. Associates also are invited to different Congregational events, e.g. a day to reflect on the Extraordinary Month of Mission, October 2019 with the UK Sisters, the Blackburn Fayre or our annual Memorial Mass for Sisters and Associates