About IHM Associate Relationship

From an Associate

IHM Associate Alejandra Maroquin

“The IHM Sisters are not afraid to get involved and pitch in. It’s their example and the way they challenge me not just to be good but to be better that draws me to their charism and mission.”

-Alejandra Marroquin

IHM Center
2300 Adams Avenue
Scranton, PA 18509

Main Phone Number:
Fax: 570-346-5439
Email: IHMWeb@SistersofIHM.org 

Become an Associate


IHM Charism Statement
In the passionate spirit of St. Alphonsus Liguori we joyfully participate in the redeeming love of Jesus which impels us to proclaim the good news of God's unconditional love for all. We embrace Mary, the first disciple, as our model of a life rooted in God.

Who Are Associates
IHM Associates are women and men from all states of life and various creeds who are seeking a deeper experience of God for their own transformation and for the transformation of the world. Attracted by the charism of the IHM Sisters, Associates join with the sisters in the living out of the IHM charism within the context of their lives. This relationship between sisters and associates creates a mutual bond that widens the circle of Jesus's unconditional love for all. 

What is the IHM Associate Relationship?
Associates are not members of the congregation and therefore do not make vows nor do they assume the responsibility of membership. Because associates resonate with the gift of the IHM charism, they feel called to make a commitment to live the vision and values of the IHM Sisters within the context of their own lives and responsibilities. Living out their identity as associates, they gradually come to understand more fully their lives and work/ministries as expressions of God's loving presence.

How can someone respond to the call to be an Associate?

  • Gather information by contacting the IHM Director of Associates
  • Discern and prayerfully consider this choice
  • Complete the application
  • Commit to personal prayer, reflection and faith sharing in a Circle of Grace 

What do Associates do?

  • Maintain their individual lifestyles as they continue to grow spiritually. This spiritual journey is rooted in Gospel values and is then reflected to their lives. Their presence positively impacts the life of the IHM congregation and the life of the world. 
  • Associates strive to live the IHM Core Values in their families, work places, and all their relationships. 
  • IHM Associates nurture the relationships among themselves, the sisters and in all their encounters.
  • Some associates minister in various ways in their local communities, parishes, or places of worship. Some minister to the homebound, coordinate Faith Formation programs, or work in outreach programs that address the needs of adults, children or different vulnerable populations.

The IHM Congregation is a member of the North American Conference of Associates and Religious : http://www.nacar.org/

Associate Commissionings


      Circles of Grace


      “I long to see you… so that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith.” - Romans: 1:11-13

      Sister Robert Mary Murphy left her ministry at Our Lady of Sorrows (OLS) Parish and moved to the IHM Center in January Robert Mary ministered at OLS in faith formation for 30 years and her departure was not an easy one for her or her beloved parishioners. At first Sister was able to meet with her Vestal Circle of Grace on a regular basis at OLS. After a period of time, Sister’s health necessitated that she no longer make the trip to Vestal. The associates carried on in their ministries and met regularly in Vestal with their Circle of Grace and, at times, with Jane O’Neill. In recent months, Robert Mary’s health has improved and she is now able to receive visitors at OLP. The associates seized the first opportunity and spent several hours with Robert Mary at OLP on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. The much anticipated visit was really a reunion for all present and a joyous one at that! After Mass and dinner, Robert Mary and the associates continued their visit, prayed together, and planned their Circle of Grace meetings for September 2019 through June 2020.

      Vestal Associates with Sister Robert Mary. L-R front: Gloria Sinclair. Sister Robert Mary Murphy, IHM, and Jane O’Neill. L-R back: Peg Logalbo, Joan Eisch, Eve Jarrold, Yvonne Kay, Sherri Congdon, Lilly Pedroza, Debbie Fitzgerald and Janet Higham


      Retreat Day with Cresco Associates, April 18, 2019: Sister Kathy Kurdziel, IHM, recently facilitated a day of retreat with some of our IHM Associates in Cresco, PA. Women from Most Holy Trinity Parish in Cresco also participated. The theme of the day was "What We Do for Love." Because the retreat took place on the Thursday before Holy Week, Sister Kathy reflected with the attendees on the Women of Holy Week, Martha and Mary, Veronica, the women servers at the Last Supper, the women at the foot of the cross and the Pieta.  Above Front L-R: IHM Associates and soon-to-be Associates Beverly Hartje, Gladys Gerber, Marguerite Morrow, and Rosemary Regner. Back L-R: Paulette Gallo, Arlene Calemmo, and Daniela Rivera.


      Associates Day of Retreat in Cresco-April 2018

      On April 5, 2018, some of the Cresco area associates and several women from surrounding parishes met for retreat with Sister Cor Immaculatum Heffernan at Most Holy Trinity Parish Center. Sister Cor presented the theme of Mary: The Grief of Lent and the Joy of Easter and focused on Mary as a witness to the whole Paschal Mystery. Pictured are some of the retreatants with Sister Cor in Most Holy Trinity Chapel.

      Teens-Theresa Maxis Circle-Jan 2018

      Following the commissioning ceremony in Gainesville, FL on January 10, 2018,  a group of teens participated in a Blessing of the Medallions  ceremony. Over a period of five months the teens have been learning about the IHM Core Values and have fashioned medallions that symbolize these values. During the ceremony, each teen shared her understanding of the meaning of a particular Core Value, how Mother Theresa Maxis  demonstrated the value, and how she, too, might do the same in her life. Ellen Maroney, IHM, then blessed the medallions and presented one to each teen. The closing prayer was one of Theresa Maxis’ to her IHM Sisters: “Tell all my beloved Sisters, those who know me and those I never saw, that I gather up all my beloved heart can contain of happy desires, wishes, and hopes for them. I scatter them in one single wish: May the Lord and His Immaculate Mother be always with you and with everyone.” L-R front: Anjali Vassou, Therese Rigor, Isabel Rosado, Ella MacMullen, Sister Ellen Maroney, Sister Nancy Elder. L-R middle: Sister Beatrice Caulson, Nadia Vassou, Jennie Dingle, Alyssa Shroeder, Emilie Rosado, Lara DeTurris. L-R back: Jane O’Neill, Amanda Romero, Michelle Hurst, Kaitlyn Maddux, Alisha Bokowy


      CircleOfGrace-IHM Center-Nov 2017

      On November 15, 2017, our Circle of Grace welcomed a new member, Renee Matillano, at the Founders' Day Prayer. Pictured are those who were able to attend dinner before the prayer and Renee's IHM Associate Commissioning ceremony. Seated L-R: Janice Richardson, Renee Matillano, Bill Manley, a guest of Renee's, Jane O'Neill. Standing L-R: Ann Williams, Chuck Wallinger, Sister Jane Snyder. Not able to attend were Mona Griffer, Judy Battle and Ellen O'Brien.

      In January 2015, Sisters Beatrice Caulson and Nancy Elder along with the IHM Associates of Gainesville, Florida, initiated the gathering of a group for young teenagers and called it The Theresa Maxis Circle. The circle began with five young women from grade eight through high school. Pictured front L-R: Jordan Yachabach and Nadia Vassou. Middle L-R: Emma Bokowy, Alison MacMullen, Kaitlyn Maddux. Back L-R: Sister Beatrice Caulson, Jennifer Jones, Stephanie Bokowy, Sondra Moorhead, Pat Rohs, Mary Welch and Sister Nancy Elder.

      Pictured are members of the three Circles of Grace from Vestal, NY, and a Circle from Scranton who traveled to Vestal to visit them. They enjoyed prayer, lunch and good conversation about next steps after the associate process is finished. For the Scranton group, the ride home included a visit to Old St. Joseph Church and cemetery where Mother Theresa Maxis first lived when she came to Pennsylvania. They commented that it was humbling to know they were on the same ground Theresa walked when she began her ministry here.

      This Circle of Grace was delighted to discover they had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their photograph taken with Pope Francis during a recent visit to Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Vestal, NY. Pictured L-R are Lisa Kirby, Judy Battle, Janice Richardson, Pope Francis, Ann Williams, Chuck Wallinger, and Sister Jane Snyder.


      New Associate Advisory Committee

      A new Associate Advisory Committee will convene on March 4, 2020. The members of the committee include IHM Sisters Jean Louise Bachetti, Scranton, PA; Helene Cook, Baltimore, MD; Nancy Elder, Gainesville, FL; and Mary Ellen Higgins, Scranton, PA. IHM Associates who serve on the committee are Amy Kinnard, St. Petersburg, FL; Maureen McCarthy, North Beach, MD; Jane O’Neill, Scranton, PA; and Sheryl Lynn Sochoka, Scranton, PA. Representation from various geographic regions, professions, and length of time in associate relationship will bring fresh perspective, new ideas, and creative contributions as the congregation “lets others, including our IHM Associates, walk with us, use their voices to strengthen our IHM mission, and at times tend to our wounds.” (Chapter Reflection for July 9, 2018)

      While we are well acquainted with the sisters and Jane O’Neill who will serve on this committee, some introductory information about the other three associates on this committee is helpful. Amy Kinnard was commissioned as an IHM Associate in October 2019. She first met the IHM Sisters as a freshman at Marywood University. A 2005 graduate of Marywood University, Amy served in the US Peace Corps in the South Pacific for two years. Following her time in the Peace Corps, Amy began her career teaching music at the elementary school level in Pasco County, Florida where she teaches today. Amy was invited to become an IHM Associate by Lisa Perkowski, IHM.

      Maureen McCarthy has known the IHM Sisters for almost 25 years. Sister Ann Parker invited Maureen to consider becoming an
      associate. Maureen retired from a career in the banking and finance industry in 2016. She spent most of her professional life in the Washington, DC offices of Riggs National Bank. Maureen’s expertise includes low income housing partnerships, commercial real estate, and pension funds. Maureen
      regularly volunteers at the food pantry operated by the Ladies of Charity in St. Anthony’s Parish in North Beach, MD. She also teaches eighth grade faith formation at St. Anthony’s. Maureen was commissioned in March 2019.

      Sheryl Lynn Sochoka is a Marywoodian through and through. Sheryl began her studies at Marywood in 1988, graduated in 1992, and has been working for Marywood since January 1993. Sheryl believes that the IHMs’ influence has shaped her life. Currently she serves as publications
      director in Marywood University’s Marketing Department. Commissioned in 2013, Sheryl participates in a Circle of Grace facilitated by Sister Jane Snyder. She and her husband, Jay, have one son, Julian, who is a freshman at Marywood. Sheryl devotes some of her spare time to volunteer efforts at her parish, St. Eulalia’s in Elmhurst, PA.


      L-R: Sister Redempta Sweeney, Facilitator of the Circle of Grace, Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM President; Jane O'Neill, Director of IHM Sister-Associate Relationship, and Jo-Ann Baca, Diane Braendly and Joyce Marchese, who were commissioned during the Eucharistic liturgy on Saturday afternoon.

      Doorways to the Holy: Opening Together into the Heart of God

      by Jane O'Neill 

      Associates and Sisters from near and far gathered on the weekend of September 23-25, 2016 for the IHM Sister-Associate Conference. We began with Friday dinner, followed by an ice breaker that tested our knowledge of IHM history, people and places, then some time for visiting with one another; we closed with a beautiful rendition of Dona Nobis Pacem sung in rounds. Saturday was a day filled with prayer, learning, Eucharistic liturgy and the commissioning of three women from Wilmington, Delaware, in addition to the opportunity to tour the Rotunda and new Learning Commons on Marywood’s campus. After dinner, we danced and sang our way back to our youth. Our IHM Bandstand was a huge success. There was no shortage of great conversation, a wonderful DJ from a local high school, and dancing that gave way to sheer hilarity at times.

      Saturday morning our extended session, facilitated by Sister Chris Koellhoffer, provided us the opportunity to dwell on the Sisters’ Statement of IHM Culture. We pondered the words of this statement with reverence, prayer, reflection, and sharing about our IHM Sisters’ commitment to "seek to promote a culture of contemplative consciousness, lived out together in a life of reverence for the sake of the world." During the morning the associates learned something about the congregation’s efforts to enter into contemplative dialogue over the past few years.

      We came together on Sunday morning for breakfast and a panel discussion. Associates made up the panel which was moderated by Sister John Michele Southwick. The panel shared with us their experience of living out the promise they made at the time they were commissioned—the promise to live the Core Values and IHM Charism. We learned what first drew these women to IHM and how, over time, they have engaged with the Sisters and worked to extend the charism in their daily lives.  A final round of Dona Nobis Pacem was the prayer and blessing that we extended to one another in parting on Sunday.

      IHM Trivia Quiz (ppt)