What is an Associate to the Sisters of St. Margaret?
Associates are men and women from all walks of life who want to have a close link with the life and work of the Sisters of St. Margaret. Associates are for most part members of the Episcopal Church, but may be members of other Christian denominations.
Associates are people of faith whose sense of vocation draws them to be related to the Sisters of the Society of St. Margaret. After a period of mutual discernment between the prospective Associate and the Sisters, this connection with the Society is formalized at a Service of Commitment.
The desire to share in the life of the Society leads one to enter into an intentional way of living the Christian life. Each potential Associate crafts a Rule of Life based on the core Rule for Associates. Thus each person’s rule is both unique and yet shares common aspects with all the other Associates of the Society. This Rule of Life is intended to be an aid to living the Christian life, and it resonates with the spirit of the Community. Associates share in the life of the Community through prayer, retreat, ministry, and personal contact.
At present there are 450 Associates. They live all across the USA, as well as in Canada, Haiti and Europe.
Each Associate is a witness to the committed Christian life and whenever possible, testifies to the existence of Religious Orders in the Episcopal Church, and to the life and ministry of the Sisters of St. Margaret in particular.
If you are interested in learning more or wish to explore membership as an Associate, please contact us at 781 934 9477 x 701 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by snail mail.
From time to time Associates gather for Conferences. Please check this page often for updated information.
Current Associates, please send any changes to your contact information to:
781 934 9477 x 701 or by email email@example.com, or by snail mail.
This past year we held an event for those interested in learning more about Associates of the Society of St. Margaret. There were many great questions asked, and several who attend have begun the process of becoming an Associate.
We will be scheduling more prospective Associate events soon and if you or someone you know is interested, please contact us at: 781 934 9477 x 701 or by email Sisters@ssmbos.org, or by snail mail.
Becoming an Associate
If you have questions or would like additional information about becoming an Associate of the Society of St. Margaret, please contact us at:
It has recently come to our attention that Deaconess and Missionary (1875-1969) Harriet Bedell was an associate with the Sisters of St. Margaret! We have celebrated her faithful, prayerful service since her addition to Lesser Feasts and Fasts2006. What none of the currently living Sisters knew until this fall was that she was an Associate of the Society of St. Margaret. This was discovered by chance while our new Director of Associates was perusing the binders with the pages for our departed Associates and came upon this:
Name: Deaconess Harriet Mary Bedell [sic]
Address: St. Andrews Mission, Stephens Village Alaska
Place [received]: St. Margaret’s Chapel, Boston
Received by: The Rev. William F. Chesney (?)
Recommended by : Mrs. John Sturch (?)
I promise, by God’s help, faithfully to observe all the Rules binding on me as an Associate of the Society of St. Margaret, as witness my hand this day,
Signed, Harriet Mary Bedell
Date: February 21st 1927
“Deaconess Harriet Bedell” jumped out from the page not only due to the yearly celebration of her feast day on January 8, but also because she had nearly won Lent Madness in 2014, edged out by only 200 votes by Charles Wesley. Naturally, had we known she was an Associate, we would have promoted her shamelessly (though individual votes for her surely count for something). The biographical details offered by Heidi Shott[i] had given us a much fuller picture of her life than the short biography in Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and so we were already suitably impressed. You can find those posts here:
Following her training as a deaconess, Harriet Bedell was first posted to Oklahoma as a teacher, her original profession, in the Cheyenne community, working alongside David Pendleton Oakerhater, another saint celebrated in Lesser Feasts and Fasts.[ii] After nine years, she was called to Alaska to work among the Gw’ichin people, which she continued until funding ran dry during the Depression. She is best known and loved, however, for three decades of work among the Miccosukee-Seminole people in the Everglades in Florida. From them she earned the name “Woman Who Prays.” It is reported that she was indomitable, persistent, and tireless, not only in teaching but also in fundraising and in encouraging and promoting traditional crafts, among other things even after she had technically “retired.” Only the arrival of Hurricane Donna in 1960 and the insistence of the bishop forced her to take a step back from her work at the age of 85. She died on January 8, 1969.
Perhaps we should start campaigning for her to receive a silver halo?
The Collect for Harriet Bedell, Deaconess and Missionary, January 8
Holy God, fill us with compassion and respect for all people, and empower us for the work of ministry whether near or far away; that like your servant Harriet Bedell, we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, and by giving up ourselves to your service. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
To learn more about her:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7B3h-rw1Fw – a video with lots of good photos
[i] Heidi Shott on Harriet Bedell: https://www.lentmadness.org/2014/03/joseph-schereschewsky-vs-harriet-bedell/ and ensuing posts – full set of links above.