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. Close to 200 Associates reside throughout the US; in 2014 we will take the opportunity to get to know a few of them.
Associate Spotlight – Carla Rush
By Megan Moore, Communications student co-op
“I felt a calling to the vision of the Sisters. I was attracted to the passion they put into their ministry,” says Carla Rush about her decision to become an Associate of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 2004. “I went to the University of Dayton and when it came time to graduate, I started to look at working in the nonprofit world, and looking into a year of service after graduation. That’s how I first became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity. I took a position at The Women’s Connection in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I worked directly with Sisters.”
It was during this time that Carla got to know the Sisters, and learn that, in her words, “they have such a prayerful grounded-ness. Their spirituality is in everything they do.”
Recently, Carla took a position with North American Conference of Associates and Religious, or NACAR. In her position of mission advancement coordinator, she is responsible for increasing membership and awareness of the organization.
“I contact religious organizations to promote awareness of Associates. I strongly believe in the laity’s role in the Church and the gifts and talents they have to share with the Church,” she said.
Before accepting the positon at NACAR, Carla was a full-time stay-at-home mom, now she says she is a part-time stay-at-home mom to her two children: an 8-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy.
Carla carries out the spirit of Elizabeth Seton in her daily life, especially as a mother. “I try to live a spiritual life in the day-to-day work of being a mom and wife. I try to keep a charism and vision in the things I do each day.
“My life has definitely changed since I’ve become an Associate,” she continued. “My life has taken a turn for the better in these past years.”
One example of Carla’s life changing as a result of being an Associate is her participation in the Collaborative Leadership Development Program, an 18-month program grounded in contemplative dialogue and prayer.
“It has opened my eyes and opened doors for me,” she said. “I’m very thankful for the Sisters of Charity embracing Associates attending CDLP and supporting us throughout these months.”
Carla hopes that she is able to affect others the way the Sisters and her fellow Associates have affected her. “That’s the ultimate goal.”