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What it means to be a Virtual Associate

by Kristen Pedersen Erdem ‘86, Academy of the Sacred Heart (The Rosary) in New Orleans, Louisiana

The opportunity to be a Virtual Associate is one that shows God’s love for us, and our love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus knows no boundaries. It is a reminder there are ties that bind us to others on this journey on earth.

My foundation of a Sacred Heart education afforded me the knowledge that I am a child of the Sacred Heart and will be recognized as such by God and others. As an adult in my 50s, I feel the Virtual Associates are the extension of my Sacred Heart family, far-flung across the United States and Canada and closest to my heart. This group, meeting online almost every month, nine months out of the year, pulls me into reflection on my life as it relates to the goals of my Sacred Heart education.

Daily, it is easy to see the chaos, destruction and lack of respect for life and dignity, justice and truth. The modern world makes it hard to live out and exemplify Christ’s love. Our work schedules, our family demands, and the culture that surrounds us in family, community and society draw us farther from God.

The Virtual Associates group provides that foundation to return to our guiding Sacred Heart values. The topics we cover on our calls vary, much like our ages, professional backgrounds and life experiences. We have discussed the border crisis and the global climate crisis. We have experienced beautifully guided reflections, especially at the times I most needed them this past year. The Virtual Associates bring full-circle our own lives as it relates to our personal and active faith in God, our respect for intellectual values, our social awareness that impels to action, our building of community as a Christian value, and our personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.

The ability to step into a virtual space with members of my Sacred Heart family for nine planned hours each year is a true blessing.

For more information on becoming an Associate or Virtual Associate visit the USC Associates website.