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Associate Program

Association is a way of sharing the spirit of Nano Nagle and the energy of Presentation women with the Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco. To learn more about the program including how to become an Associate please see the following sections or contact Kay Sweeney at (650) 738-9551 or Associates@pbvmsf.org.

Purpose and Mission

PBVMSF Associates LogoAs the life of the church and of the world changes so, too, does the number of vowed women religious. What does not change are the needs of the poor and marginalized. What remains is the need for justice and compassion as expressed through the unique gifts of communities of women religious. The purpose of Presentation Association is to provide opportunities for non-vowed persons to further the work of the Gospel in the Spirit of Nano Nagle and in light of the charism of the Sisters of the Presentation. We recognize that Jesus and Nano have modeled that "call" includes communal spiritual growth and outward action based on the Gospels. It is the long-term goal that the flame of Nano's lantern, which sought out the vulnerable and downtrodden in the darkest and desolate places and offered them hope to live fully, will be carried by these Associates and their Sister companions well into the future.

We, as Presentation Associates, stand in partnership with the Sisters of the Presentation, who share in the charism of their foundress, Nano Nagle. We reach out in faith in a spirit of hospitality, compassion and simplicity to all of creation. The cry of those made poor and the cry of the earth call us to continue the mission of Jesus to bring forth a sustainable society founded on respect for the earth, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace. We, too, commit ourselves as Presentation women and men to deepen our passion for those made poor and for all of creation. In our work for justice, we nurture a contemplative stance in keeping with our Presentation identity. Further we commit ourselves to strengthen the quality of our relationship to and partnership with other Presentation women and men to further Nano's vision.


Association provides opportunities for adult Christians to live out their Christian commitment in a more focused way in their daily circumstance. It enables them to participate in the spiritual, communal and ministerial life of the Sisters of the Presentation providing ways to share ideas and values and to collaborate in bringing the Good News to the poor and to work for justice and peace in the Spirit of Nano Nagle.


Who can be an Associate

Association is open to women and men of the Christian faith who seek a deeper experience of Jesus Christ and the Gospel and who wish to engage with the Sisters of the Presentation in a common search for spiritual growth and service to others.


Commitment & Responsibilities

PBVMSF_Sisters_Associates_JusticeAssociates are expected to participate in ministries that reflect the Presentation mission in the following ways:

  • Spiritual Growth
  • Education
  • Prayer
  • Action of justice, peace and creation

Associates are expected to participate in sponsored activities of both the Presentation Sisters and Associates.

Financial support is encouraged but not mandatory. Associates are financially independent and the congregation does not assume responsibility for their material welfare. In turn, the congregation does not financially depend upon the Associates.


Benefits for Sisters and Associates

PBVMSF_AssocPicnic_LNakota_MBarisone There is participation in spiritual gatherings, including prayer days and a yearly weekend retreat; reflection/prayer groups for mutual support and justice days. Associates are welcome and encouraged to participate in Congregational celebrations, Community days and some Chapter sessions. Associates give service at Presentation sponsored ministries, e.g. volunteer time at the Learning and Loving Education Center, The Lantern Center for Hospitality and Education, the Day Laborers Program and the Mother House.

Sisters deeply value the commitment and dedication of the Associates in their support of the mission of Nano Nagle. They appreciate the gifts and life experiences that Associates bring to the congregation, as well as to the entire Church. They feel especially blessed by the rich friendships that have grown out of this of being Presentation Family.


Becoming an Associate

The Associate program consists of an invitation process, orientation process, on-going formation and a yearly evaluation. Associates and vowed religious of the Congregation commit to invite their volunteers, former students, family members and anyone else to become associates. To begin the invitation process please send an inquiry stating your interest in the program to Associates@pbvmsf.org or call (650) 738-9551. Upon receipt of your inquiry,  the Associate team will:

  • Send Application Packet
  • Receive Application
  • Set Interview with Inquiry Committee
  • Inquiry Committee Chair/Committee will implement the year-long Orientation Process ending in a Discernment Retreat



Why I am an Associate of the Sisters of the Presentation…


People become Presentation associates for many reasons.  May Cooney Barisone, Presentation High School, San Francisco, Class of 1972, became an Associate of the Sisters of the Presentation because of her work with Sister Rita Jovick, Presentation High School, San Francisco, Class of 1954.  In 1988, while working on the planning of the Fiftieth (50th) anniversary of Epiphany School.  During one of their many conversations, she mentioned that she was missing something in her life.  That is when Sister Rita told her about Association and invited her to learn more about it.  She worked with Sister Rita on the alumnae association for about eight years.

May said, “I have never felt very religious and over the years have felt less and less connected to the Catholic Church.  Association has been the perfect connection for me.  The Sisters and Associates were, and continue to be, so welcoming.  They have taught me so much about social justice, living my life more fully and with so much more awareness than ever crossed my mind before.  During the inquiry process I learned about our foundress Nano Nagle, the ministries of the Sisters and Associates and how I could contribute to the program.  I am still amazed at the wonderful work the Sisters and Associates are doing for others and doing it with such love.  Association has given me a real spirituality.  It has helped me grow as a person.  It has taught me of the joy of doing for others in the charism of Nano.  Association has made me aware of life outside of myself and how I can use my gifts to benefit others.  It has been wonderful and really quite fun getting to know the Sisters and Associates over the past twenty-two years since I became an Associate.  They have become my Church and I love each and every one.”

If you would like to find out more about being an Associate, contact the Associate Team at associates@pbvmsf.org for more information.  May and the other Associates will welcome your inquiry.


May Cooney Barisone (right) Presentation High School,
San Francisco, Class of 1972, and Epiphany School, San
Francisco, Class of 1968, chats with her fourth grade teacher,
Sr. Helen Matosich, PBVM, (religious name Sr. Mary Alphonsus)
Presentation High School, San Francisco, Class of 1957.

International Network for Empowering Women,
A Presentation Associate making a difference

By Patricia Mathes Cane, Associate

Human Rights Defenders from Mexico and Central America at a Capacitar training.

Patricia Mathes Cane, Ph.D., is an Associate of the Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco, California, and an alumna of Our Lady of Loretto High School, Los Angeles, Class of 1958. She is the Founder and Director of Capacitar.

Capacitar is an international network of empowerment and solidarity whose mission is 'Healing Ourselves, Healing Our World'. Capacitar teaches simple practices of healing, team building and self-development to awaken people to their own source of strength and wisdom, so they can reach out to heal injustice, work for peace and transform themselves, their families and communities.

For the last five years, using a popular education approach, Capacitar has worked with grassroots people in over forty-two countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Capacitar is especially committed to people and communities impacted by poverty, war, violence and natural disasters. A significant value now being promoted by human rights organizations around the world is self-care for activists on the frontlines. There is greater consciousness of the trauma and burnout experienced by those working to bring peace and justice to places of war, violence and corruption.

A recent Capacitar training in Oaxaca, Mexico for the Mesoamerican Women’s Consortium of Human Rights Defenders involved fifty-three women from twelve states of Mexico, as well as from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The women were lawyers, psychologists, social workers, teachers, healers, grassroots leaders and activists representing a broad cross section of organizations involved in working for human rights for women, children, indigenous, land or water rights and gender violence.

Some of the women at the training conference had suffered death threats or threats to their families. Others had been imprisoned or threatened by police or authorities. All came to the training with some level of secondary trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or health problems. After three days, they left Oaxaca strengthened with the Capacitar practices and empowered to continue their courageous work with renewed energy and vision.

Capacitar has been named as a resource for self-care in different manuals for activists including, the Guidelines on Security of the Norwegian Human Rights Fund, Trocaire's Manual for Partners at Risk and the Women's Consortium. Capacitar is developing its own manual for persons working with human rights and with Families of the Disappeared, in collaboration with CEDEHM, the Chihuahua Mexico Office of Human Rights for Women.

At the US/Mexico border, Capacitar teams are working with refugees, undocumented persons, unaccompanied refugee minors, and with people who accompany them.  In the El Paso, Texas detention center, a Capacitar team, in collaboration with Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) under Homeland Security, facilitates regular trauma healing workshops for men and women in detention. JRS chaplains from six United States detention centers are currently in the Capacitar El Paso training.


practicing Tai Chi with CEDEHM,
The Chihuahua Mexico Office of Human Rights for Women.

Capacitar training for Palestinian teachers and counselors of
the Jenin Ministry of Education, which includes two
Presentation Sisters from India on the right, holding the world map.

A new Capacitar manual, Refugee Accompaniment, offers simple healing practices for use with refugees and for self-care for those working in border communities, in legal aid, in crisis response, in detention centers and in places of risk. A Capacitar Emergency Kit of Best Practices is available in twenty-two languages for download from the website: www.capacitar.org.

In 2017, new outreach for Capacitar includes work in Lebanon, the Philippines, and Alaska. In San Antonio, Texas, a new training will involve people who accompany refugees and detained persons. Capacitar trainings are also scheduled for Scotland, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Afghanistan (to work with the Afghan Peace Volunteers), Toronto, Canada, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Guatemala, Panama, Korea, Japan, Argentina and Mexico, along with trainings in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tucson, Arizona, and Santa Barbara, California. In Okinawa, Japan, Capacitar will start new work focused on healing sexual violence, as well as new outreach to schools with the publication of a Japanese manual for children and teachers. In Africa, Capacitar teams will work in South Sudan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya, among other areas.


In all of the places where Capacitar works there are so many people of hope and vision, committed to bringing justice, peace and healing to the world. When asked if Capacitar still has hope, Pat says, Just look around and see the many grassroots people, especially those who live and work in extreme poverty, violence and oppression. Their strength, courage and love in the face of it all—that’s what gives us hope!

In the words of the Capacitar prayer: We join with the earth and with each other to bring new life to the land, to recreate the human community, to provide justice and peace, to remember our children, to remember who we are. We join together as many and diverse expressions of one Loving Mystery, for the healing of the earth and the renewal of all life.

New Presentation Associates are always welcomed!
It is a wonderful way to keep connected and to work on justice issues with the Presentation Community.

If you think you would be interested in becoming a Presentation Associate,

in Southern California, contact:


          Rosalie Cabrera

at (818) 353-0015


in Northern California, contact:


          Kay Sweeney

at (650) 738-9551

or,   Associates@pbvmsf.org

Mayan health promoters from Quiche, Guatemala,
praying for the Capacitar groups in Afghanistan.


Presentation Associates Gerry Fagoaga (left)
with Rosalie Cabrera (right) enjoy a light moment.
Gerry received the lantern pendant
as a sign of her becoming an Associate.

San Francisco Welcomes Two New Associates

During the annual Commissioning of Sisters and Associates, two new Associates were welcomed into the congregation.  The ritual, during which all Sisters and Associates receive their ministry assignments for the coming year, was held at the Motherhouse on June 26, 2016.  This year, the ritual also included the Installation of the President and her Council.

The Associates participate in a yearlong formation program led by the Associates’ Leadership Team.  They are encouraged to reflect on the life of Nano Nagle, the charism as expressed today, and to discern their own call to Association. 

Pam Manick, a 1968 graduate of Presentation High School, San Francisco, lives in San Francisco.  As her ministry commitment, she is a volunteer at The Lantern Center, a literacy center for immigrant men and women, in the Mission District. 

Gerry Fagoaga, a 1956 graduate of Our Lady of Loretto High School, Los Angeles, lives in Alhambra.  As her ministry commitment, she is Marriage and Family Therapist in the Southern California area.

2016 Presentation Associates Epiphany Mass and Brunch

By Associate Christine Panelli

Presentation Associate Earlene Dutton’s
good nature shining through
at an earlier event at the Motherhouse.

Nearly fifty Associates and Sisters gathered at the San Francisco Motherhouse on Sunday, January 3rd for the Annual Associates Epiphany Mass and Brunch, sponsored by the Associates.  Father Tony McGuire of Saint Patrick's Church and longtime friend of the Sisters of the Presentation was our Presider. 

The custom is that an Associate gives the homily and this year Associate Earlene Dutton gave a wonderful homily about what Jesus' growing up as a child might have been like and she mirrored it to her own childhood.  It was touching and funny...there were plenty of chuckles! 

After Mass the Sisters and Associates had an amazing brunch prepared by the equally amazing chefs in the Motherhouse kitchen.  We then proceeded into the Community Room for our always funny 'right/left' gift exchange.  Everyone picks a gift then Associate Cathy Pickerel tells a delightful story that features left/right sometimes phonetic prompts.  With each prompt the gifts either move to the right or to the left in the circle thus mixing-up both the participants and the gifts.  The laughter and glee are always a perfect way to end our gathering. Thanks Cathy!  A great time was had by all!


Associate Calendar of Events 2017-18

Meet the Associates

Association Responsibilities and Mission Statement

We as Presentation Associates stand in partnership with Sisters of the Presentation who share in the charism of their foundress, Nano Nagle.
We reach out in faith, in a spirit of hospitality, compassion and simplicity to all of creation.

So begins the Presentation Association Responsibility and Mission Statement. Partnership.  Hospitality and compassion.  Faith and simplicity.  The charism of Nano.   These qualities are at the heart of what our Association is all about.

Associates aren’t “nuns in training.” They aren’t even members of a modern day sodality. Associates are mothers and grandmothers, nurses and teachers, working women and retirees, all of whom have been captivated by Nano’s charism as expressed by the Sisters. Some of us are graduates of Presentation schools. Others met Sisters of the Presentation in their parishes. Some came to experience Presentation at the invitation of another Associate. Whatever the starting point, once our path led to Presentation and Nano’s story, we were hooked!

Our connection to Presentation can be experienced in retreats at our Center in Los Gatos and prayer days at the Presentation High School, San Jose, or the Motherhouse in San Francisco, some led by Presentation women, some by invited speakers.

Associates also join Sisters in programs designed to educate about justice issues – the trafficking of women and children, the control of water and the death penalty come to mind.  Joining the Sisters at vigils and rallies associated with these causes ensures that we are not just about words, but also deeds. Associates work with the Sisters on key congregational committees including the Justice and Vocations Committees. “Family” events like our summer picnic, the recent Epiphany Party and various dinners throughout the year provide lots of opportunities for learning and praying, fun and laughter.

If you are interested in exploring justice, community and Nano’s charism with Sisters of the Presentation by way of Association with them, contact the following for more information:


Meet the Associates


The following is the reflection given by Jane Hetherington, an Associate, after the Gospel reading.

Good morning and welcome to our third annual Associates' Epiphany celebration.  The feast of the Epiphany offers us three wonderful themes for reflection:  journey, stars that guide us and gifts.  Of these three, the theme I am focusing on today is that of gift, specifically the gift of Association.  What calls women to become Presentation Associates?  What is the gift that Presentation offers its Associates?  What gift can Associates bring to Presentation?  Naturally, I will answer these questions from my own experience as a Presentation Associate.  And, while I would never presume to speak for ALL the Associates, I know I am not alone in feeling as I do about Presentation.

As part of the chaplain training program in which I am presently involved, I was asked to identify and discuss major life events, relationships and cultural contexts that influence my personal identity as expressed in pastoral functioning.  After I figured out what all that meant, I wrote:  "I realize that probably the major influence on my personal identity as expressed in pastoral functioning is my experience with nuns.  As I think back on my life, I know that the influence of nuns on me has been HUGE."  And, without question, it is my twenty-year relationship with Sisters of the Presentation that has had the greatest influence on me.

Becoming a woman of justice is the greatest challenge that Presentation has offered to me during these years.  How can I continue to look the other way when this community I cherish and these women I revere are relentless in their efforts to serve the poor and to right the wrongs of the world?  How can I not care when they care so much?  Twenty years of being challenged and stretched:  the first of Presentation's gifts to me.



Community is the second gift.  To be a member of the Presentation Community is a most precious gift.  Support, caring, love:  that has been my experience of being a part of this community.  When I have needed it the most, Presentation has been there for me.  It is the spirit of this community that has inspired and strengthened me for so many years.  I really do count on you - and you haven't failed me yet.

Certainly the gifts of fun and laughter must be mentioned.  There is nothing like a Presentation celebration.  Once I mentioned to a Sister that my favorite Presentation event was our commissioning in June.  "Oh," she said.  "You enjoy the commissioning service?"  "Well," I replied.  "I certainly do enjoy the commissioning service but it is the party after that I really love."  Probably not the spiritually correct answer - but the truth.  Presentation women know how to have fun!

But the greatest of gifts I have received as an Associate - and on this point I am sure all Associates would agree - is the privilege and opportunity of knowing Sisters of the Presentation.  I have said to Sisters often:  "It is not what you do that inspires us - although it is pretty inspirational - but who you are."  And who are you?  I see you as women of prayer, of faith and of commitment.  Women who can truly sing the words “Because we love God, we are who we are and we do what we do...” For twenty years you have inspired me, guided me and helped me as I have struggled to be the same.  What greater gift could there be?

Gratitude is the appropriate response to receiving a wonderful gift - and I am very grateful for all the gifts I have received as a Presentation Associate.  The gift I offer in return is to do all I can to live as a Presentation woman:  bringing the Presentation charism to life in my ministry, living a life committed to the Gospel, loving and following Nano the best I can, striving always to be ready and willing to go one pace beyond and doing all that I can to keep the lantern burning bright.  Like the Wise Men, I will not be traveling alone on this journey.  Many wise women - Presentation women, will accompany me.  And that gives me peace and joy.

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