Nazareth Center Welcomes Three New Associates

From left to right, new 2016 associates from our founding community of Nazareth are Jeanne Marie Worden, Linda Warren and Erma Chastine.


Three new Associates joined the Nazareth Center community on Sunday, October 30, 2016 during a Mass at Holy Family Chapel. They join over 450 active associates living out the mission and spirituality of the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph.

Erma Chastine is a member of St. Gerard Catholic Parish in Lansing. She is active in working with the homeless, doing spiritual direction and participating in many parish activities. She inquired about the CSJ Associates while on retreat at the Nazareth Transformations Center. Erma gives God the credit of putting the thought of becoming an associate into her mind and heart. “Becoming an Associate is a continuation of my spiritual journey,” said Erma. “God still has plans for my life and believes in me. With extreme gratitude, may God’s will be done.”

Linda Warren is a member of St. Jerome Catholic Parish in Battle Creek. She and her husband, Jim, have three married daughters and five grandchildren. Linda is a nurse practitioner employed at the Battle Creek Veterans Administration Medical Center. She is a Eucharistic minister and lector in her parish. She was drawn to the CSJ Associates by talking with friends, consulting with spiritual directors and listening to God. “Being an Associate is about embracing the charism of the CSJs; being part of something beautiful and alive; being part of amazing, inspiring, encouraging people in our Conversation Circle; growing and being affirmed in my faith,” said Linda.

Jeanne Marie Worden is a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish in Davison. She has two grown children. Her husband died two years ago, and this event resulted in a total revaluation of her life, its direction and purpose. She read an announcement in her parish bulletin from CSJ Associate Terry Blundell inviting people to gather and learn about what the Associate Program was about. And, so her journey began.

The installation of the new associates was one component of the Annual Weekend Retreat for about 40 Associates and Sisters on October 28-29. Sister Janet Franklin, CSJ, of the Medaille community in New Orleans served as director. Sister Janet has directed retreats and given presentations around the country to laity, religious congregations and ecumenical groups over the past 40 years.

The theme for the retreat was about exploring different ways individuals’ lives are part of the universal sacred story of creation. Participants also reflected on how to connect these ways to our congregational charism of BEING ONE to further God’s Great Love Unfolding.

At the Saturday morning communion service, Associate Denise Waytes provided a reflection on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke 14:7-11, which was about humility.

“It is this spirit of humility,” said Denise, “that animates us as Sisters and Associates, allowing us to risk our lives, joining with others to create a culture of inclusivity and mutuality of all in order to feed the world’s hungers, to help heal and renew the face of the earth, and be mutually responsible and accountable in leading the way (Generous Promises).”

For more information and photos about the new Associates, the retreat—and brief introductions to Associates who participated in the retreat– please see the Nazareth Center Associates’ new blog by clicking here.

For more information on becoming as associate of the Congregation, click here.

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