Who are Martha Associates?
Martha Associates are women and men who identify with the mission and values of the Sisters of St. Martha.
They affiliate for the purpose of assisting each other in deepening their relationship with God, others, and the universe.
The association provides an opportunity for all to come to a deeper understanding of the Christian call, so that in responding to life situations we will try and act with the mind and heart of Jesus.
History of the Martha Associates
The idea of Associates for the Sisters of St. Martha was first brought forward in a formal way in the 1973 General Chapter. In the Fall of 1978 the congregation initiated Martha Associates, a process involving laity, sisters, and clergy in a mutual sharing of the baptismal commitment.
In 1980, the first Associates group began at Martha Community in Sydney, Nova Scotia. More faith groups formed in Nova
Scotia, including Trenton, Glace Bay, Eskasoni, and Sydney Mines. Western Associated groups formed in Kamloops, Calgary, and Lethbridge. In Lethbridge, the Martha Retreat Centre and St. Monica's Convent each had a group for many years. When the Sisters were called to sell the convent the Monica Associates gratefully joined the Retreat Centre Associates and we became the Lethbridge Associates in 2011.
During faith gatherings the Sister's graciously shared their spiritual wisdom and resources. The Associates shared their wisdom and knowledge around family life and world affairs. The experience is a mutual sharing of our lives and our faith. Through reflection and prayer everyone grows to deepen their relationship with God, others, and the universe.
The Sisters left in July 2019 leaving the Lethbridge Associates feeling a huge void. Their presence is deeply missed and cannot be replaced; however, they left believing that together we are grounded through the power of prayer, undaunted hope and our common Martha heart.
Associate service/ministry at the Centre and the Community
Associates volunteer at the Martha Retreat Centre and in our community. At the Martha Retreat Centre we werve on the following volunteer teams:
We widen our circle of gospel hospitality volunteering with other not-for-profit organizations in and around Southern Alberta.
As Martha Associates we aspire to model the Sister's devotion to serve God through gospel hospitality and compassion for all. We are enriched through volunteering and grateful that God enables us to respond to our baptismal call.
Associate Story - Joan and Romano Magliocco, February 28, 2021
We arrived in Lethbridge, Alberta from Ireland on March 15, 1991 with our four children. In August of that year I was blessed to secure a job at St. Michael's Hospital. This was my first encounter with the sisters of St. Martha and turned out to be an everlasting one. As a family, we became parishioners of St. Patrick's Church, and it was here that Sister Theresa Perro approached us after Sunday Mass to invite Romano and I to become Associates of St. Martha. And so our blessed journey began at St. Monica's Convent and has to the present day. We would meet there once a month for what we called a spiritual evening which always began with prayers in the chapel followed by discussion on a given topic and after that coffee and goodies and fellowship. I would describe these monthly meetings as an extension of our Sunday Mass. As Associates, we are there to support our Sisters in any way we can, through prayer and contemplation. As per our Associate prayer, "May we continue through the radical call of the Gospel to be inspired by the Martha Charism, and the Mission, Vision, and Value Statements."
Associate Story - Catarina (Ina) Boyden, March 1, 2021
A little over ten years ago on a sunny Sunday afternoon Keith and I were driving to Brooks to attend a Knights of Columbus get together. The passengers in the back seat were our friends, George and Ann Hoveling. At some point along the way they both began to speak enthusiastically about the Martha's and their particular role as Martha Associates. This was news to both of us and the more they talked about the Sisters, the more our interest level grew. This was just what the two of us were looking for! I recall George making it crystal clear that one could not simply join up; you had to be personally invited! We were crestfallen. Well, unbeknownst to me and not long after, while Keith was repairing a gate at the Retreat Centre, he quietly approached Sister Theresa Parker and either asked if the two of us could become Associates or hinted so strongly, poor Sister Theresa did not have the heart to say no! I remember feeling a bit of discomfort when I heard the whole story, but I will always be so grateful he did just that! Our years associated with the Martha's have reaped much spiritual bounty and wonderful gifts that continue to this day: Gifts of grace and goodness and love and laughter and growth in our faith and fine friends and I could go on. My Keith passed away in 2012. I know he watches over us and like me, has to be pretty pleased he was just a bit forward that day at the Retreat Centre.
Martha Retreat Centre, opened in 1968 by CSM, continues its important mission of providing spiritual direction under a different leadership. Martha Retreat Centre Society assumed responsibility of the operation, management and ministry of this Centre.
Ministry of Collaboration Value Statement (2004)
We choose to live an inter-relational life, committing ourselves to the value of collaboration as a way of being with our brothers and sisters in pursuit of common goals.
Martha Associates Symbol
Martha Associate Prayer
Gracious God, as members of the Martha Associates we believe that Your call is written in the signs of the times. In gratitude for the many years of mutual sharing of our Baptismal call, we rejoice and celebrate.
May we continue through the radical call of the Gospel to be inspired by the Martha Charism, and the Mission, Vision and Value Statements.
In hospitality and companionship with each other, let us be challenged and blessed as we step into future and undaunted hope. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ.