In the presence of Sisters, Associates, family, and friends, the Sisters of Charity welcomed LeeAnn Brathwaite into the Associate Relationship program on July 20, 2015. The College of Mount Saint Vincent graduate came to know the Sisters in 2011 and has since been a frequent volunteer and friend of the Congregation. Sister Mary Lou McGrath, with whom LeeAnn worked in Project L.I.G.H.T., mentored her young friend in the Associate Relationship. LeeAnn’s mom, Anne, proudly looked on as her daughter made the two-year commitment.
The following is the contract LeeAnn read and signed before Sister Jane Iannucelli, President of the Sisters of Charity. The Congregation welcomes this dynamic young woman and thanks her for accepting the call to join the Sisters of Charity family.
LeeAnn Brathwaite Associate Relationship Contract
My journey with the Sisters of Charity of New York began in June 2011 with the “Charity in the City” Program. I did not know that “Charity in the City” would become such an integral part of my life. It created many opportunities for me to become part of the charism of charity, and all I had to do was to say “Yes.” There are many things that I have learned by working with and for the Sisters of Charity — the works of Saints Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the many Sisters of Charity that have succeeded them. I especially appreciate the life of St. Elizabeth Seton. Her story is one filled with love, death, perseverance, faith and hope. One of her quotes succinctly puts life into perspective for me. It states, “Faith lifts the staggering soul on one side, Hope supports it on the other. Experience says it must be, and Love says let it be.”
The Sisters of Charity have brought faith, hope, experience, and love into my life and have helped me learn how to share these gifts with others I meet. It began with “Charity in the City” where I was exposed to many different aspects of the charism of charity. It continued with my work in Project L.I.G.H.T. and further continued with my exposure to various experiences as a student at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. My work at Mount Saint Vincent Convent has enabled me to come to know the Sisters more as “real people,” and has helped them come to know me better. I have had the opportunity to visit some of the missions which the Sisters run and have encountered and learned from many different people. And now I have the opportunity to join in a deeper relationship with the Sisters of Charity by becoming an Associate.
The Sisters have come to know me and I have come to know them through the time we have spent together. My spiritual journey is richer now because of knowing them. I have learned to love and be loved because of them. The Sisters of Charity have provided me with opportunities for so many wonderful experiences, and I can never thank them enough for all that they have done and will continue to do in my life.
This is my primary reason for asking to become an Associate of the Sisters of Charity of New York – I want to be like them. I want to follow their example, live their gospel mission and continue their charism. I want to carry the charism of the Sisters of Charity with me to Italy and Peru as I continue the Master’s Program in which I am studying and performing service through the College of Mount Saint Vincent. I want to share the Sisters’ stories with everyone I meet both here and abroad. When I have completed my studies and work toward my MA I hope to continue my involvement with both “Charity in the City” and Project L.I.G.H.T.
I feel that God is calling me to service in this way and I seek to make this commitment as an Associate of the Sisters of Charity of New York for two (2) years.