becoming an associate
I had a good retreat and was received as an associate of the Order of St. Helena. The friend with whom I first went to the convent came, which was special.
From the first time I went to the convent, one of the things that struck me was that when the retreat was over instead of everyone dispersing, the sisters were still there, still singing the same services four times a day. It is that sense of being part of an ongoing community that led me to decide to make a formal connection.