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What it means to be an Associate

December 10, 2019

A reflection by Yvonne Chow, San Francisco/Menlo Associate

As I look back on my almost 20 years of Associate life, I am grateful that my life has been changed in these five areas:

1. Shaping my spirituality

I learned and experienced various meditation and contemplation methods in our gatherings, and silence became possible in my prayer life. Ignatian spirituality was unconsciously imbedded into my life.

2. Allowed me to be myself

As an immigrant, a legal immigrant, I often felt odd in this unfamiliar culture. But every time I came here (to Oakwood), I felt like coming home. I was welcomed and felt it’s okay to be different. We are Christ centered here, and we are the same under God!

3. Partnering with RSCJ in my ministries

Rosie Quilter, RSCJ, who worked in a housing project, told me, one day, that there was a new immigrant family that just moved into my work parish boundary. We helped them to start a community life in the parish. Once a parishioner asked me why I was always so cheerful when I greeted them before Mass. Then, I realized, this was how every RSCJ greeted me each time – with a delighted heart! I passed it down unconsciously!

The peak of this partnership is that I became a retreat leader. It was totally unplanned! After being a catechist for 30 years, I learned the differences between a catechist and a retreat leader.

4. Living out the RSCJ charism

Since the first year I committed myself to be an Associate, the charism of “to discover and reveal the love of the sacred heart of Jesus” became my motto!

5. Gaining role models

Last, but not the least, RSCJ have become my role models in my aging process. My significant aging process started early, in my mid-forties. Coming to know RSCJ and seeing the peace on RSCJ faces inspired me and reminded me that aging is not an end of one’s mission on earth.

Lately, the Associates have been studying RSCJ documents, which have helped me to be my adult children’s novice master and support them in answering God’s challenging calls. I believe being an Associate is being an “RSCJ” in our own home, which is also a domestic church; we are also RSCJ partners in the larger Church. I am very fortunate that I was loved unconditionally by the RSCJ in Taiwan when I was a teenager, and again by the RSCJ at Menlo during my mid-life and in my aging process now!

Yvonne Chow attended our Sacred Heart boarding school in Taiwan for six years and has been a member of our Menlo Associate group for almost 20 years. She’s married and has three children.