Holy Family Associates Community
Sister Mary Buckley shares the story of the Holy Family Associate Community.
I have been involved with the Holy Family Associate Community in Oshawa for more than ten years now. When the last Sister of St. Joseph left Oshawa, there was need of a Sister who could and would drive from Toronto for the monthly meeting. And I was it. I moved from being a member of the Matt Talbot group to being coordinator of Holy Family.
We are a group of 10 or 11 women mainly, but not totally, of a certain age. Only one is working full time, involved as youth coordinator at St. Joseph the Worker Parish. And so a few years ago, we broke with the long tradition of evening meetings. Now we meet in the morning, following the 9 o’clock mass. Members take turns hosting the monthly meeting in their homes.
What we bring
I really love being involved with associates. I provide their connection with the larger congregation and in return I have been gifted with a group of women friends who have for many years lived, and continue to live, the Christian life. They bring a lifetime of experiences, of living and loving, to our sharing. There is tremendous support of one another, sharing of joys and sorrows and bringing tales of great humour. I am accepted as Sister, yes, but even more as a woman, a member of the group. With no immediate family myself, I relish the tales of children and grandchildren, of visits and family celebrations.
Most of all, we share our faith, our hope, the experience of God in our lives. There is no fancy theology, just prayer and reflection both simple and deep. Our meetings provide a forum for sharing and support. The line between “Who needs a ride?” and “Who’s going to the prayer group?” is blurred.
What we do
Oh yes, we do some practical things. We raise money for various needs, particularly for Haiti. If there is a larger gathering in Toronto, rides can be arranged. Women from different parishes share news and needs. And there is normal involvement in the general meetings of all associates.
We are not a prayer group but we pray. We are not a support group but we support one another. We are not a social action group but we do take part in parish and other local activities. What are we, then? A group of women impelled by the charism of unity and reconciliation to live in the love of God and the service of others. And what does this do for me? Each meeting makes me more aware of my own vocation to live that charism and both calls and helps me to understand and live it more fully.