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Feature Articles

The Sister/Associate relationship was established in 1972 so that individuals – lay women and men – could partner with the Sisters in responding to the Gospel in the spirit of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Over 200 Associates reside throughout the US; in 2015 we will take the opportunity to get to know a few of them.

Associate Spotlight – Patty Broughton
By Josh Zeller, Communications student intern

Former Seton classmates (from left) Associates Patty Broughton, Kathy Vogelpohl and Irene Diesel volunteer in the Motherhouse library every Wednesday together.

Where do you currently live?
I live in Price Hill, in Cincinnati. I’m from St. William parish; we live in the same home that I grew up in since I turned 9 years old. It’s my mom’s home, and we take care of her; she’s 94.

Are you currently employed? If so, please describe your responsibilities and how long you have been there.
No, I’m retired—happily retired! I volunteer with two of my classmates from grade school and high school: Associates Kathy Vogelpohl and Irene Diesel. When we started planning our anniversaries for grade school and high school, we got back together. Now we volunteer in the [Motherhouse] library every Wednesday.

Tell us a little about yourself, including your hobbies, interests.
I read for pleasure, and I walk my dog. His name is Seamus. He’s a ball of fire! And then we take care of my mom, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Our main goal—my husband Lou and I—is to make sure that she’s surrounded by peacefulness, calm, and love. I wouldn’t be able to work here if my husband didn’t take care of my mom. He’s really wonderful—he’s supported me in this Associate ministry.

How did you become acquainted with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati?
I had 12 years of the Sisters of Charity teaching me: grade school at St. William (eight years), and then four years at Seton High School.

How long have you been an Associate?
I became an Associate on June 27, 2013. I just had my two-year anniversary. Working here is one of my sanity-savers because it keeps me grounded, and it gives me a little bit of a break.

What compelled you to become an Associate of the Community?
It was S. Joyce Brehm’s influence. She [a former Seton High School classmate] and I were working on a committee for our graduation anniversary. We got reacquainted, and I was invited to lunch one day at the Motherhouse. Afterwards, S. Joyce said, “I want to show you some of the artifacts we have around the Motherhouse,” so Kathy, S. Joyce and I came up to the second floor. On our way back down the hall, S. Joyce goes, “Mary Jo [Mersmann’s] office is right here, let’s stop in and see Mary Jo.” We walked in, and Mary Jo handed me an [Associate] application! Kathy and S. Joyce were my Associate companions. Sandy Rizzo and Mary Hirsch were with me on my journey.

Do you see yourself touching others’ lives as many Associates have touched yours?
I hope so! I just try to be myself, and be open to people. I get hugs, so I guess that’s good feedback! I’m doing something right!

In what ways do you feel you carry out the spirit of Elizabeth Seton in your daily life?
By taking care of my mom, I am showing love and compassion to her. She deserves the respect that her disease is taking away from her. I give my time—in the family or outside the family—and I make a deliberate decision to listen to people. I pray the rosary daily; there’s a lot of comfort in the rosary. I also try to be the best daughter that I can, and the best wife that I can.