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Associates and Sisters Day shares stories of ‘Cultivating the vine”

As Ursuline Sisters and Associates gathered for their annual day together on June 22, 2024, Sister Michele Morek equated the 150 years that the Sisters have called Maple Mount home to a cheerleading pyramid.

“Our history is on the bottom holding us up,” she said. “But perhaps you can see farther on the top.”

Rather than having a keynote speaker this year, in honor of the sesquicentennial of service, Associates and Sisters Day featured two panels, one featuring Sisters and the other Associates. They were asked how each were “cultivating the vine Saint Angela Merici entrusted to them.

“We fertilize it, tend to it and prune it,” Sister Sharon Sullivan, congregational leader, said. “What do we prune and what do we keep?”

Sister Monica Seaton, a member of the Leadership Council and the community’s youngest Sister, said, “We can look back at the past, but we cannot stay there. We have to move into the future.”

Associates representing the four active groups – Kansas, and Owensboro, Louisville and Western Kentucky – and Associate George Horishny of Memphis, who represented those without a group, spoke of how they are overcoming the challenges of being far apart or aging.

In Kansas, Associate Joanne Thompson said they took their meetings on the road so that all of their Associates could meet at least once a year. They also use technology such as Zoom.

Charlotte Paez said the Louisville Associates started a texting group, setting aside time to pray for the country. “When two or three are there, we’re all there,” Paez said.

“Being apart is not being alone,” Horishny said.

The Western Kentucky Associates live in multiple cities, and have always been challenged by distance. They put hospitality at the forefront of their ministry, Associate Elaine Wood said.

“Before the person comes to the door, make the decision to love that person,” she said.

Here are photos from the day.

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