Historical Perspective

As early as the third and fourth centuries, laypersons sought the spiritual guidance of monks and nuns in their monasteries in order to share in their spiritual life and to witness Christian values. In the twelfth century, secular third orders became common. The 1983 Code of Canon Law granted the right of the faithful to form and direct associations of the faithful, and for religious institutes to have associations of the faithful under their direction—sharing in their spirit. By 1987, more than six thousand associates were joined to religious institutes in the United States.

Our History

Jeanne Chézard de Matel, foundress of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, envisioned a means for laity and diocesan clergy to share in the charism of the Order. A Confraternity of the Incarnate Word was first founded by Monseigneur de Neauville in 1669 and approved by Pope Clement X in 1670. Later that same year Jeanne Chézard died. Her vision of a confraternity was not realized until 1980, when the Sisters in Mexico City petitioned the Holy Father and were given permission to reactivate the Associates of the Incarnate Word.

Guided by Jeanne Chézard’s original intentions and encouraged by Vatican Council II’s recognition of the laity’s role as witnesses in the world, the Incarnate Word Associates of Corpus Christi was initiated in 1983. The founding members—from Corpus Christi, Brownsville and Kingsville--made their first commitment as Associates in 1985. Today members meet in Brownsville, Corpus Christi and the Upper Valley.

The Larger Associate Community

Other Incarnate Word Associates are active within the many Incarnate Word congregations: Cleveland, Ohio; in the Texas cities of Houston and Victoria; groups in Mexico include Gomez Palacio, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Gomez Palacio, Mixcoac and Teziutlan.

“I will provide you with what is required . . .
to bring to completion the work of your Lord and your God.”
(words spoken by the Incarnate Word to Jeanne, recorded in her Autobiography)



The Association provides a means for members to gather regularly in community to strengthen, support, and challenge one another toward growth in relationship with the Incarnate Word and to witness to God’s presence in their lives.