Associate welcomed into 'network of relationships that include all FSPA'
by Beth Saner, FSPA
On March 31, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration welcomed Michele Pettit as she begins the process of integration into the FSPA. During the simple evening prayer service, Michele articulated her “desire to relate more closely to FSPA as an associate member, sharing in the living community, identifying with our charism and spirit and engaging in mutual love and support.” Michele was presented with a Tau cross “as a reminder of her desire to discern her call to Gospel living within FSPA.”
Ritual of Welcome
The purpose of the associate phase of incorporation is to assure an informed choice for religious life by providing an experience of life in community (“Unity in Diversity, #19”). As part of that process, an associate:
lives in community.
engages in study: theology, Scripture, Franciscanism and FSPA history and Constitutions.
participates in community service.
integrates past experiences while entering into FSPA spirit and charism.
attends to a holistic life.
participates in the Inter-congregational Pre-novitiate Program.
engages in ministry.
In keeping with these goals, Michele moved into the Main St. house, La Crosse, Wisconsin, where she lives with Sisters Blanche Klein, Silvana Panza and Kristin Peters. She continued to teach full time at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse through May. This fall, she will modify her teaching load to make time for other incorporation activities under the guidance of Sister Corrina Thomas, incorporation minister.
A woman new to community enters into a network of relationships that include all FSPA. We invited Michele to introduce herself to the FSPA community and share her words with you:
I was born and reared in a small town in northeast Missouri. I come from a family of educators. My father, Joe, retired as director of adult education for the Hannibal Public School System in 2010. My mother, Phyllis, a former physical education teacher and homemaker, currently works as a teaching assistant at Hannibal High School helping teens with special needs. My older sister, Anne, resides in Moberly, Missouri, with her husband and three daughters, and serves as an elementary school principal. My younger sister, Meredith, resides in Hannibal with her husband and teaches freshmen health at Hannibal High School. Meredith also coaches the seventh grade girls’ basketball team.
I am in my eighth year of teaching in the department of Health Education and Health Promotion at UW-L. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in mental and emotional health, violence and injury prevention, foundations of health education, and emerging issues in public health. I have a bachelor’s degree in health science/community health from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a Ph.D. in health education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
I became aware of FSPA after attending the Franciscan Spirituality Center annual conference in 2013 (at which Michael Morewood spoke). In my spare time I enjoy reading, watching movies, listening to music, being outdoors, exercising and spending time with friends and family. I also enjoy good food.
We invite FSPA and affiliates to introduce themselves to Michele and get to know her during her year as an associate.