Archives Associates

Today there are more than 100 Associates of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception in the Atlantic, Prairie and Pacific regions of Canada.  From diverse backgrounds, they are women and men who bear the Charity charism and express it in their daily lives.

Charism can be described as an original and unique gift of the Holy Spirit -- the deep and abiding story shared by Sisters and Associates.  The charism is expressed in lives and ministry focusing on persons who are afflicted, excluded and living in poverty.  It also includes awareness about and advocacy for the rest of creation, especially where it is fragile or endangered.

SCIC and Associates are committed to prayer; spiritual growth; gatherings; celebration; compassionate presence and service, as well as initiatives for social and ecological justice.

After a period of inquiry, persons seeking to become SCIC Associates may choose to make and renew commitment. For more about SCIC association, please inquire:  Tel. 506-847-2065   E-mail:


On December 10th, 2022, Associates and Sisters gathered in the Chapel of Villa Madonna Retreat House to celebrate the Associate Commitment for Andrea Lynn Brown and Elizabeth Ann Fleiger. Sr. Mary Ann Maxwell shared her musical gift as organist and the celebration began with the procession of Sr. Pat Poole, SCIC, and Sharon Jacquard, SJ Associate with Andrea and Elizabeth.

The Welcoming was done by Denise Isaacs, SJ Associate. Denise shared that the past Thursday (Dec. 8th) was the Feast of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception. “This calls each of us to listen, to be awake to the invitations that mark this time in our lives and to have an “heart open to the whole world”.

In 2020 Andrea and Mary Ann Kneeland (SJ Associate) met and later that fall, Sharon and Linda provided education about the Founder and Foundress; St. Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac. Over a period of time videos depicting their lives were shown. Read more...


On December 7th, 2019, Associates gathered in Ruth Ross Chapel to celebrate the Associate Commitment celebration for Beth Lawson. Associates also made their recommitment for another year witnessed by the Sisters in attendance. Sisters also made their recommitment for another year. As an inquirer Beth journeyed for two years before deciding to become an Associate. She was and still is involved in everything Associates do. She is a dedicated volunteer to our Outflow ministry, is a Parish Nurse and is involved in other ministries in her parish.

Congratulations to Beth and to her family as they were also present for this special celebration. (l-r) Beth's sister, Catherine Beckingham, Beth's husband, Gary; Beth, daughter-in-law, Catherine and her husband, Michael.

Associate Walk-about - Visiting the Sisters

Since the beginning of COVID-19 Associates have been unable to enter the residences of Ruth Ross and SVR. The Associates have hosted a few walk-abouts, carrying signs, singing and talking with the Sisters from a distance. In October we hosted another walk-about and we were blessed to also have Danny Joyce and Del Worden join us as they led us in music with Del playing the Guitar and Danny gracing all with his wonderful voice. We are certainly missing seeing and spending time with the Sisters. This is at least one way we can share some time together outside. The Sisters of Ruth Ross watch and share in the songs from the Solarium in Ruth Ross. (Photos - Sarah Cleveland)

A Wonderful Garden Party - From Diane Legris

Prairie Associate Coordinator

Our special gathering day, dawned grey and dreary with a forecast of rain.  Oh what a shame as a number of our Associates were to meet at Agathe’s, in the backyard, social distancing of course, for some food, conversation and more happily to see each other face to face. We were to meet at 2 PM and about noon I contacted Agathe and asked if she thought we should postpone it to another day.   She said no the forecast said it was going to clear up in the afternoon and she had faith it would do just that. So on with the plans.



When Dorothy and I arrived at her home, Agathe had the backyard all set up with chairs well spaced apart and a couple of tables for food and drinks.  It looked  beautiful and inviting. As people started arriving and I noticed that everyone who said they would come, came, but with jackets and umbrellas, all happy just to be able to see each other again. Conversations were lively as we were all so thrilled to see one another.  Agathe was welcoming everyone and the temptation was so great to hug one another as we had done for years, but nope better not.  Just as the last few were sitting down and getting settled, the wind came up a bit and the sky looked very grey and daunting, but you know prayer has the power to change things and ours were answered. The grey sky skirted around us - the wind died down and the brilliant sun came out to make the day perfect. Off came the jackets and the umbrellas were put under the chairs and away we all went to the food and beverage tables chatting away six feet apart, and happy to be together.  Oh how glorious, oh how wonderful!  We could not have ordered a lovelier day.  Thank you God for blessing us so richly.

We had a wonderful Garden Party that lasted about two hours. When we all left it was with hearts lighter and spirits lifted at having been at a face to face gathering and not something over Email or on Skype or Zoom.


WALK-ABOUT, MAY 17, 2020


 Associates organized a walk-about to visit the residences of the Sisters to stay outside only on May 17, 2020. We had approximately 15 Associates who donned their masks, brought balloons and signs. We danced, walked, sang songs and greeted the Sisters and staff. We had a wonderful time and it was also great to have had a chance to talk to Associates as well. We had not seen each other since February. We had some wonderful feedback from our visit from the Sisters and staff who thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

Digby Spring Retreat

The Digby Associates gathered at St. Patrick’s Church, Digby for our spring retreat on Sat., May 25, 2019.  The theme of this year’s retreat was “The Story of the Universe”.  Our director was Sr. Denise Lirette  from Moncton. We were so happy to welcome Sr. Mary Beth, Sr. Pat,  Sr. Gertrude,  Sister Emily, and Sharon Jacquard who joined us from Saint John. They had a beautiful day for crossing the Bay of Fundy. We also had  Sr. Bonnie and Sr. Barbara from their retreat centre on Digby Neck as well as Carolyn Muise from Yarmouth.

Sr. Denise had a wonderful presentation for us and everyone thoroughly our time together.  As it was a sunny day we were able to spend some quiet time outside.    We enjoyed a potluck luncheon and time to reconnect with friends.


2019 Lady of the Year

Donna Schroeter, Saint John Associate has been honoured as the 2019 Lady of the Year for Saint John City Council, Beta Sigma Phi. The Lady of the Year Award is presented annually to community volunteers. Mrs. Schroeter was honoured for her work both past and present with: the St. Vincent de Paul Mission, L’arche, Outflow ministry, Bobbie’s Hospice; pastoral care to hospital patients and shut-Ins, AIDS Saint John, Sophia Recovery and the Symphony.



May 2019 marked the fourth anniversary of the Atlantic Associates committing themselves to a communal ministry in Saint John. Our Directional Statement of our summer gathering 2018 challenged us to be engaged in communal ministries and answer with justice the urgent needs of the community. We are answering St. Vincent de Paul’s constant questions “What must I do? What must we do? What must be done?” In May 2015 we began our commitment with the Outflow Ministry to provide and serve a healthy, well balance meal on a Sunday evening once a month. The number of men, women and children who attend the supper now averages 100 from 60 -70. Associates, Sisters, family, friends and neighbours come together or contribute on the first Sunday of each month to take part in this mission of charity. This ecumenical experience with Outflow volunteers is a blessing for everyone involved, those who are serving as well as those who are being served. We are truly following Honoria Conway’s example of reaching out to the most marginalized people in our community.
(Photo: Rowena Doiron – Write – up Sharon Jacquard

Saint John Associate Gathering

Theme - Fostering Our Future

Saint John Associates and Sisters Irene Buechler and Pat Poole gathered to begin discussing the document Lead with the Spirit, specifically the chapter on Fostering Our Future. This document is a publication of the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR). A large part of the mission of NACAR is in developing and delivering resources and providing ministry training to those who minister to and work within the Associate-Religious relationship. This manual addresses the broader questions of charism and relationship. The Fostering Our Future chapter discussion is in keeping with our Associate Vision, Mission, and Values and Four-year Goals. Read More...


Associates of SCIC hosted a party of all parties on St. Patrick’s Day in the Ruth Ross Community Room. The afternoon began with prayer. There were lots of treats, cake, ice cream, and music. The most talented, 101 year old, Eleanor Bednar led everyone with some traditional Irish singing and Anita Holmes graciously instructed all on line dancing lessons and what a dance it was. With the help of staff, Sr. Grace McSheffrey, who is wheelchair bound, even got up to do a jig! A great time was had by all. Write-up & Photos: Sharon Jacquard


Tuesday Feb.19th 2019 Saint Mark’s Chapel

Those in attendance: Beth Lawson, Mary Ann Kneeland, Ellen Robart, Donna Schroeter and Denise Isaacs

The theme centered on the journeys in our lives and discovering our true self.  The following quote was sent in advance of our gathering:

“In order to discover your heart, one needs to take a journey.  Sometimes we have to take a road less traveled. Or sometimes we need to start off in a new direction to be able to truly come alive again – A journey that involves risk, challenges, and that will push you over the edge.  Such a journey can be a pilgrimage; an expedition into the discovery of your heart and unlocking your “real” journey in life. It’s a journey to the forgotten places in the heart and soul.  An adventure of your life that will never leave you the same!  But the adventure doesn’t end on the return….it has only just begun for on a true pilgrimage you will discover that the “way” is as important as the destination.  It is on the way that we discover our true self and thus when we have arrived at our destination, we must continue the journey with new eyes for we are no longer the person who started the pilgrimage.”

The environment included footprints along a seashore lighted by candles which lead to the empty tabernacle where a candle representing Jesus was placed to symbolize Christ presence among us.

We began with the song   ”Follow Me” which was followed by the scripture passage Matthew 4:18-22

Jesus Calls Four Fishermen proclaimed by Beth.

After reading the reflection together we then took a few minutes to ponder our own journeys and began to share with each other some of our own experiences which have shaped and molded us into the persons we are today.

We shared how our present day spiritual journeys have led us to discover where we are being called.

Denise and Donna read two short passages from Henri Nouwen’s “The Inner Voice of Love” A Journey through Anguish to Freedom.  The first passage was entitled Trust the Inner Voice . ……  “Are you willing to be transformed?  …….  You have to trust the inner voice.  You turn to it often. ……..Only by attending to the inner voice can you be converted to a new life of freedom and joy.”

The second passage from the book was entitled Keep Moving Toward Full Incarnation.  ……“Do not discount what you have already accomplished.  ……….You can look at your life as a large cone that becomes narrower the deeper you go.  There are many doors in that cone that give you the chance to leave the journey.  But you have been closing these doors one after another, making yourself go deeper and deeper into your center.  You know that Jesus is waiting for you at the end, just as you know he is guiding you as you move in that direction.  ………..This is a movement (journey) toward full incarnation.  It leads you to become what you already are – a child of God. …….

Closing Prayer was read by MaryAnn and was followed by our closing song Pascador de Hombres  (Lord You Have Come)

Submitted by:Ellen Robart


On December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the annual Associate Commitment celebration took place at Carmel Chapel in Ruth Ross Residence. At that time, one of our inquirers, Myra Murphy, made her commitment. It was wonderful to see so many members of Myra's family, Sisters and Associates in attendance. Re-commitment was also made by the Associates and Sisters on this special feast day. The Associates bestowed a special blessing on the Sisters and inturn, Sisters bestowed a special blessings on the Associates. This wonderful celebration was followed by a reception. (Submitted by Sharon Jacquard) (Photos: Pat Poole & Sharon Jacquard)  Photo: Myra receiving pin
l-r – Myra Murphy, Donna Schroeter, Pat Poole, SCIC

Photo: Myra receiving candle
l-r – Myra Murphy, Sharon Jacquard, Irene Buechler, SCIC


SCIC Associate and “Twice But Nice” Board President, Nicole Thorhauer, along with Board Secretary Odette Liedl presented Tyler Bree with the Anne Springman $5,000.00 Scholarship award on Thursday January 25, 2018.  Tyler is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree at the MacEwan University. Twice But Nice Clothing Store is a community-based second-hand store located in downtown Fort Saskatchewan.  A volunteer Board of Directors oversees its operations.  Nicole has been involved with since its inception.  The mandate of Twice But Nice is to return money from sales of donations back into the community through local groups seeking assistance with special projects.  Funding guidelines are:  non-profit groups in Fort Saskatchewan; projects to benefit the community at large; and projects of “social service” and preventative nature; not for capital costs. Submitted by Nicole Thorhauer. Photo: l-r – Nicole Thorhauer, Tyler Bree, Odette Liedl Photographer unknown


As it was still very close to Thanksgiving we used as the theme for our gathering - Thankfulness.  Why do we only set aside one day a year to be thankful?

We used a page of descriptive words and phrases of thankfulness to read through slowly and thoughtfully reflecting on what we may not have thought of as the qualities of thankfulness.  Some of the words were immeasurable, expanding, growing through encouragement, sincere in quality, and enhanced with emotion, humility and hope woven together. It is intimately connected with Passion and is active, zealous and blooming. It embraces this thing we call today, the TUMULTUOUS expectancy of good approaching.  The word tumultuous is capitalized because we never do seem to expect merciful, jubilant, exciting things.  We always seem to say "oh no, what next" instead of being hopefully expectant. Thankfulness does not lie sleeping but is awake to wonder, seeing beyond what is.

What does thankfulness mean to you, who in your life best demonstrates it? What can you learn from their attitudes or actions and what rituals of thankfulness do you have?  These were things we pondered and shared with each other.  We had a good turnout of Associates and the discussions on thankful rituals were varied and interesting. The day was a great gathering of thankful "friends".

Submitted by Diane Legris – Regional Coordinator

United Nations NGO Orientation with Teresa Kotturan

On November 14-16, 2018, we had the opportunity to visit the United Nations and meet the Sisters of Charity Federation NGO, Sister Teresa Kotturan, SCN. We were joined by John Shively, the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Coordinator for the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas. Our time together was filled with learning about the Operations and Systems of the UN, Role of Religious and NGO’S at the UN, Sustainable Development Goals, Catholic Social Teaching and Human Rights, Understanding Migration, Immigration, and Refugees, Financing for Development and the 70th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. We sat in on an NGO Mining Group meeting and listened to them speaking on Fracking, Gendered Impacts of Mining and Transnational Corporations. Without a doubt, our tour of the UN, standing in the General Assembly Conference Room, seeing the podium that so many political and religious leaders and  activists  spoke from, walking among the sculptures on the grounds that symbolize human journeys and sacrifices, seeing and hearing the varied cultures~these are just a few of the many memories that we will treasure.

“As I reflected on all the information, my awareness heightened…truly a memory dear to my heart… we all need to speak and take a stance… that takes courage.” (Donna) “My experiences at the UN taught me how necessary it is to call countries to accountability and to advocate not only for the world and its vulnerable peoples, but for Mother Earth Herself.”

Submitted by Pat Poole, scic

Photographer unknown 

Photo: l-r – Teresa Kotturan, John Shively, Donna Schroeter, Pat Poole, SCIC

The Katz Family

We were honoured to have Dr. Cheryl Fury as guest speaker for our November Associate gathering which was also open to the public. She presented an engaging, powerful, personal, presentation on The Katz Family. Vera Katz, whom Cheryl had met on tour of Holocaust Educators, was a member of the Katz family. Vera was very involved in Holocaust education as she was a refugee of Nazi Germany during World War II. Cheryl is dedicated to keeping the knowledge of the horrific experiences of the Holocaust alive and she had become a personal friend of Vera's. Cheryl received a standing ovation after her presentation and was sincerely thanked by Donna Schroeter on behalf of all who were present.

(Excerpt from UNB website on Dr. Fury's Accomplishments)

Cheryl wrote "Entering that Darkness" International Perspectives on Holocaust Education (2012). She has also assisted with and edited Holocaust survivor Vera Schiff's article, "Refusing to Give in to Despair: The Children and Teachers of Terezin" in Prism: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust. Cheryl annotated and edited Vera Schiff's book, The Theresienstadt Deception: The Concentration Camp the Nazis Created to Deceive the World as well as revising and expanding two of Schiff's previous works for on-line publication, Hitler's Inferno and her award-winning memoir, Theresienstadt: The Town the Nazis Gave the Jews.

Cheryl has been nominated for a number of teaching awards on both campuses of UNB, winning Departmental Achievement in Teaching Excellence Awards and the Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2010 she was awarded a scholarship to attend the March of the Living Holocaust Tour for Educators. She discusses her experiences as part of the Anglophone South School District Holocaust program for high school students. The Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre of Toronto has named her one of its "Canadian Teachers Making a Difference."

Cheryl received a standing ovation after her presentation and was sincerely thanked by Donna Schroeter on behalf of all who were present.

(Submitted by Sharon Jacquard) (Photo Pat Poole) 


Associates of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) were invited to the opening banquet of Chapter 2018 which was held on July 5th.  We were also invited to participate in a pre-Chapter retreat facilitated by Sisters Regina Bechtle and Mary McCormick (Sisters of Charity of New York).  This experience was spirit-filled with prayer, fellowship and laughter and set the tone for our Associate gathering.



Congratulations to Agathe Joly (photo, centre), who received a Sage Award May
10, 2017 for almost 27 years of hair-cutting service in inner city Edmonton, Alta. Agathe is a longtime Associate of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate
Conception and serves as national coordinator among SCIC Associates in western Canada. The recognition by the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton was presented by Servus Credit Union. Agathe coordinates a team of volunteers at the Bissell Centre with Associate Diane Legris, who is Prairie regional coordinator of Associates. The hair-cutting ministry was begun by Sister Mary Beth McCurdy, who has been SCIC congregational leader since 2010. It was later supported by Sisters Marion Garneau and Margaret MacLean, now of Saint John, N.B.




Two SCIC Associates coordinate a group providing free, weekly hair-cutting ministry at the Bissell Centre in the inner city of Edmonton, Alta.  Almost 25 years ago, Sister Mary Beth McCurdy recognized the need for such a ministry when she was accompanying people in the area.  She invited Sisters, Associates and others to volunteer among women and men living in poverty.  Many are homeless, living on the streets.  Sister Mary Beth became SCIC congregational leader and now lives in Saint John, N.B.  Since 1993, dedicated volunteers have continued the well-received ministry she began.  Today Associates Agathe Joly and Diane Legris coordinate a group of six to eight volunteers who wash and cut hair for 22-25 people weekly.  Agathe and Diane note that by spending time with the people and cutting their hair, they “see them transformed; their self-esteem heightened and a smile on their face.”  (In photo by volunteer Doris Gaudette, Agathe, standing, helps “Ann” admire her new haircut.)



SCIC Associates Ann Charlton and Faye Parkinson of Langley, B.C. participated in a major gathering of the Faith and Light movement in Washington, D.C. Nov. 8-10, 2014.  In the Vancouver Archdiocese, they are both long-time, active members of Faith and Light’s Canada West province.  Based in France, Faith and Light brings together persons with and without disabilities through community and family gatherings.  Today there are more than 1,500 communities on five continents in 80 countries (  In August 2014, Ann and Faye welcomed a woman with disabilities into the home they share.  They also offer respite care in their home for another disabled woman one or two weekends a month plus one month in the summer.   The Washington conference marked the North American launch of the book, Never Again Alone! which tells the story of the Christian movement.  In 1971 the author, Marie-Hélène Mathieu of France founded Faith and Light with Jean Vanier – a Canadian-born and internationally known spiritual leader.  In Washington, the author called for prayer for Faith and Light communities.  Ann and Faye also request prayer for persons with disabilities.  (Photo in Washington by Louise Major. Left to right, back:  Faye Parkinson and Ann Charlton.  Front:  Marie-Hélène Mathieu and translator Henri Major)