The tremendous growth of the Church after the Second Vatican Council made a call to associate Lay people in our religious institutions. Not every community, for example, has a sister who is trained in development work. So we hire someone who is willing to enter into our vision and work with us in that capacity. So congregations have for a long time now relied on the expertise and gifts of lay people. Associates/affiliates are lay people who formally choose to associate with us. They may already be our coworkers, alumna/us from our schools, relatives, former sisters, or simply innocent bystanders who somehow came in contact with us and are attracted to our mission and life.