Richard Cauley, Maria Javonovich, and Elizabeth “Betts” Miller share more than their volunteer spirit at Villa St. Joseph. The three volunteers also recently became Associates who partner in prayer and good works with the Sisters of St. Joseph.
During an April 3 installation ceremony and Liturgy in the Motherhouse chapel, the three made formal promises as Associates after completing an orientation process. Approximately 100 women and men are members of the CSJ Association.
Sister Florence “Flossie” Hebeler, a resident of Villa St. Joseph, sponsored Elizabeth. The two met a year ago when Elizabeth, a new Villa volunteer, began escorting Sister to Sunday Mass in the chapel. After attending the installation of the 2015 Associates, Elizabeth told Sister Florence, “I want to be one of them!”
In her remarks, Sister Florence described Elizabeth as “truly a woman of the Church.” A member of Sts. Peter and Paul in Beaver, PA, Elizabeth is very active in her parish. She serves as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and member of the Liturgy, Bereavement and Spiritual Life committees and Parish Council. For the past decade, she has helped to home school five of her friend’s 10 children.
“From the time I was little girl, I wanted to be a nun. . . Becoming an Associate is the closest I will ever become to that,” says the 84-year-old great-grandmother with a soft laugh. “I am so fulfilled in my life because God has given me so much.”
A native of Chile, Maria was introduced by her sponsor, Mary Cay Burke-Hamill, a 22-year member of the CSJ Association. While taking piano lessons, her instructor, Sister Ruth Sattler suggested that she consider joining the Associates.
“Becoming an Associate means so much to me,” Maria said. “I have always had this desire inside of me to become closer to our heavenly Father and to serve the Lord.”
In the Motherhouse dining room, Maria often joins the retired Sisters in making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the Salvation Army. At the Villa, she escorts residents to Mass and assists with the Villa Voices musical group.
Richard, who also escorts Villa residents to Mass, was sponsored by Sister Ann Francis Hanley who enjoys conversations and playing cards with him. Richard, who is the brother of Sister Diane Cauley of the Leadership Team, was drawn to the Associates’ shared mission of the Congregation and their commitment to nonviolence and desire to serve the poor.
“Being an Associate affords the opportunity to be part of a prayerful community of Sisters and Associates,” Richard said. “I treasure the chance to participate in fellowship with like-minded Catholics, especially in retreats such as the November Memorial Day of Reflection and the April Charism retreat.”
With a desire to pursue a more spiritual life, Richard took a world religions course several years ago and he hopes to deepen his spirituality through daily prayer and “to know God’s will and pursue it” through the Associates’ program.
Learn more about our Associates program.