San Juanita Hadley became an associate in October 1999, under the leadership of Sister Virginia Scally, SNDdeN. She shared with us her thoughts on being an associate.
When you collaborate with a Sister, what drives you to do the work?
When I heard the story of Saint Julie, and I saw her picture, it reminded me so much of my grandmother. Because she has that grandmother love. I have been teaching catechism to children, and what attracted me to do that, was, my grandmother used to tell us all kinds of stories, Bible stories and other stories. I see the same thirst in these children as I was when I was little. I teach second and third graders, and because sometimes, when both of their parents are working, the grandmothers and grandfathers are the ones that teach them catechism. I feel the spiritual hunger in these children. That drives me to continue to teach. And because I remember the story of Saint Julie who taught the kids what they need for life.
I have been teaching since the 1980s. I have just finished the catechism program last week. The catechism program ran from October to May. I helped with Vacation Bible School during the summer. I find it fun.
How does being an associate help you with your vocation?
Being an associate helps me grow spiritually and deeper into my faith. Also knowing just how much God really loves us, helps me show that to the children. We need to show that by our example. Being an associate helps me to volunteer and shows that it is important to be in the world for others.
Do you have an experience being an associate that had a profound impact on you personally?
Just to have our associate group, you know, because life is not always that easy. It is really our group that has helped me find comfort in times of sorrow, and it has given me strength. We help each other, we pray for each other. During COVID, because churches did not have mass, we (associates) invited three other ladies who were just friends of ours. They were really missing going to church, so we started this little prayer group, which meets twice a month, depending on the schedule. They told us our little group has given them a sense of prayer life.