The Associate Program

What is the SSMO Associate Program?

The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Associate Program marks the calling lay people receive to share in the charism and mission of the Sisters within their community. The purpose is to share in spiritual life, enhance local ministry work, and work together to build our community.  

The Associate Program was approved by the 1990 Chapter of Affairs. There were 22 members at the first covenant ceremony. Today, the association has more than 150 lay members and 15 Sisters who serve as contacts for the associates.

SSMO Ministries President Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen with SSMO Associate Julie Kleffner.
ssmo associates 2024
SSMO Associates gather for a group photo at the Motherhouse.

Who are the SSMO Associates?

The SSMO Associate members are liturgical ministers, social workers, ministers to the handicapped, spiritual directors, good parents and good friends, good business people, and dedicated retired people. They are drawn to the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon charism and want to share in their mission.

Some associates serve in Parish Groups. These associates are active in their Parish and have a Sisters who ministers with them.

Some associates are SSMO Ministries Corporation employees. These associates interact with the Sisters on a day-to-day basis – supporting one or more of the Sisters’ sponsored ministries.

Some associates are SSMO Friends. These are people who do not live near other associates. They are friends or relatives of the Sisters. 

How do associates connect with the Sisters?

Associates stay connected to SSMO in multiple ways. 

All Associates:

  • Receive regular email messages and letters 
  • Are able to renew their commitment each Founders Day
  • Are able to attend Bethany Center events
  • Are able to participate in SSMO and associate retreats
  • Pray with and for other associates and the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon
  • Communicate with their appointed Sister

Annual Gathering: 

Each March, associates gather at our Motherhouse in Beaverton for the Covenant Ceremony. During this event, we celebrate Mass, renew commitments, remember our deceased associates, eat lunch, and gather for prayer and discussion. Send a note to [email protected] to learn more about the SSMO Associate Program.

Sister Elma Heesacker with Associates Catalina Huidor and Gabriel Franco.