Aware of the growth of Associate Membership programs in the United States, delegates to the 1971 Provincial Chapter discussed the value of initiating an Associates program for the Sisters of Bon Secours USA.
A 1974 report submitted to the Provincial Council included a description of a possible Associate Program and its purpose and goals. The committee also suggested application forms for entry into the program.
By 1978 the Associate Program was approved on a study basis. In 1980, the Sisters of Bon Secours became one of the first religious congregations in the United States to begin an Associate group for those laypeople, both Catholic and non-Catholic, interested in sharing in the Sisters’ ministry in a more active way. In support of the teachings of the Second Vatican council:
- The purpose of Bon Secours Associate affiliation continues in the furthering of the mission of the Sisters of Bon Secours by encouraging others to share in our prayer and ministry without living in religious community. Offers the opportunity to extend the Reign of God through sharing the Mission and Charism of the Sisters of Bon Secours.
- Extend the ministry of the laity through deeper participation.
- Support the ministry of the Sisters of Bon Secours through prayer.
- Invite participation in a faith community with the Sisters of Bon Secours.
- Provide opportunities for personal and spiritual enrichment of the Associates.
- Share the spirit of Good Help and the values of the Sisters of Bon Secours in ministry to the suffering, the poor and those in need.
The Bon Secours United States Associates remain open to both men and women, married or single, of any religious persuasion. Associates nurture a commitment to the mission of Bon Secours and act on the desire to share in this mission through prayer and service. Bon Secours Associates grew to include laity as well as clergy and Sisters from other congregations. Our diverse group now includes local Associates programs in the states of Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
The local groups began communicating with each other in October 1982 through a quarterly Associates Newsletter. In March 1990 our current format, Horizon, expanded our opportunity to encourage one another through the spirit as well as the activities of our groups. Most recently, we have been blessed to include news of our Bon Secours Associates worldwide. Horizon is a contemplative mode of communication which affords Associates a venue for sharing graced experiences in between our annual Associates Retreat in Marriottsville, Maryland.
The Bon Secours Associates bring the prayerful and tangible presence of Christ’s healing hands to those with whom we live, meet and work as inspired by the charism of the Sisters of Bon Secours worldwide.