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

Director of IHM Associates

Sr. Ruth Harkins, IHM
IHM Center
Phone: 570-963-2480

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/

    Inaugural IHM Associate Assembly Held June 23-25, 2023

    by IHM Associate Sheryl Lynn Sochoka

    The inaugural IHM Associate Assembly took place June 23-25 at the IHM Center. While an IHM Sister-Associate Conference took place in 2012, this is the first gathering dedicated to IHM Associates in an assembly format. Since 2018, IHM Associates have been invited to attend certain events at IHM Chapter, held every four years, as well as the annual IHM Congregation Assembly that takes place each year in late July. The goal is to make the Associate Assembly an annual event, much like the congregational assembly.

    Associates traveled from Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, and different regions of Pennsylvania to attend the gathering. Others, who were unable to attend in person, joined by Zoom. IHM Sisters were also invited to attend the assembly, either in person or online, as were aspiring associates. The majority of the participants were commissioned IHM Associates.

    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.

    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)