Spotlight on Associates

IHM Associates: lifelong commitment
By Anne Crimmins, IHM
Associate Co-Coordinator

Sharon Carolin was the first IHM Associate. She became a Lifelong Associate in 2012.

Did you know that today there are 117 IHM associates serving in 16 states, District of Colombia and Puerto Rico as well as Canada and Mexico? Among the 117 associates, 45 have made lifelong commitment.

“That IHM Associates have the option of making a lifelong commitment” is the stated policy approved by the members of the Coordinating Council at their November 2011 meeting. A group of 25 associates made lifelong commitment on May 20, 2012.

Lifelong commitment as an associate is open to: those who have been associates for at least six years; those who have renewed their associate commitment at least once; those who have shown by their active involvement in the IHM community that they are committed to living the IHM values; and those who desire to make their commitment as an associate permanent, thus establishing a lifelong relationship with the IHM community. An associate meeting these specifications and wishing to explore lifelong commitment as an associate is invited to:

  1. Make an appointment with a co-coordinator of IHM Associates to consider this desire.
  2. Submit a formal request in writing.
  3. Request endorsement of the Mission Circle or Wisdom Circle subgroup of which he or she is a part. If this is not possible, the endorsement of two IHM sisters is required.

Upon receiving the formal request accompanied by letter(s) of endorsement, the Associate Office writes a recommendation. The request, accompanied by expressions of support, is passed to the Leadership Council who accepts the person for lifelong associate commitment on behalf of the IHM Community.

Following acceptance by the Leadership Council, the associate, with others who have been accepted for lifelong commitment, meets with representatives of the Associate Office to plan a celebration of lifelong commitment in the context of the larger IHM community.

In the eight year since lifelong commitment as an associate has been an option, associates refer to the opportunity to make a lifelong commitment as simply expressing what is in their mind and heart. They have found a spiritual home with the IHM community and wish to publicly express their desire to continue their commitment for the long haul. Noting names of those who have made lifelong commitment as an associate, we find associates who remain actively involved in the community years after their celebration of lifelong commitment.

The Associate Office, with the support of the Associate Council, is inviting associates who have not made a lifelong commitment to consider the option.

We plan to move to a schedule of groups of associates making lifelong commitment within the context of a community celebration. Individual celebrations for initial commitment provide the opportunity for the community to welcome each individual and to recognize their personal commitment. Lifelong commitment suggests that the person is known in at least some part of the community and their expression of lifelong commitment is most meaningfully made with others at a similar point in the journey. We imagine a twice-yearly celebration of lifelong commitment with participants involved in the planning of the event.