Holy Cross Associates marked their 35th anniversary with a tree planting. Pictured, left to right, are Antoinette Rene, Opelousas, Louisiana; Diana Maki, Woodruff; Freida Swanson, Suzanna Juon-Gilk and Mary Duginski, Merrill; Carol and Russ Mancl, Wausau; Ceil Bartelt, Merrill; Barbara Johnson, Ashland; and Celeste Gonder, Minocqua. (Submitted photo)

The Holy Cross Associates of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross USA Province, headquartered in Merrill, are celebrating their 35th anniversary. To mark the occasion, associates and sisters gathered during the Summer Assembly Days to plant and bless a Linden tree near the province office building.

The Holy Cross Associates are a group of Christian women and men who fulfill their baptismal call by following the charism of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross. Associates follow the Franciscan spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and the founders, Fr. Theodosius Florentini and Mother Theresa Scherer, by responding to the needs of the time with mercy and compassion, yet always seeking ways to create possibilities for the future.

In meeting the need of the times, they are drawn to working with the poor; feeding the hungry; caring for the earth; and living out a commitment of prayer and simplicity. They support the ministries of the Holy Cross Sisters and work together with them to accomplish works of mercy. Today, there are 28 Associates and three candidates in Wisconsin, Florida, Louisiana and Michigan. For information, visit www.holycrosssisters.org.