Associate Donna Schwarz dates her introduction to the Viatorians back to 1995, when she began working with the Office of Viatorian Missions, as an administrative assistant.

The second group of associates gathered in 2000, including Kay Dowling, left, and Tim and Donna Schwarz, right, with Fr. Charles Bolser and Fr. Thomas von Behren

A little more than five years later she would be promoted to work as administrative assistant to the provincial, and she hasn’t looked back. Over the years, Donna has worked closely with Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, and Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV.

Through working with Viatorians, Donna and her husband, Tim, discerned a calling to join the community as lay associates. In fact, the were among the second group to become Viatorian associates.

They made their first commitment in 2000 and ultimately made their definitive commitments in 2010. Both were acknowledged at the Provincial assembly in 2015, for reaching the 15th anniversary of their commitments.

Associate Donna Schwarz and Fr. Thomas von Behren attend one of the plenary sessions during the General Assembly in 2011 in Colombia

Over her more than 20 years of partnering with Viatorians, Donna has played a lead role in animating the spiritual and social life of the community.

She has served on both the regional committee and Viatorian Community Council, that plan and carry out important spiritual dates within the community, as well as the Provincial assembly. In 2011, she was elected to serve as part of the U.S. delegation to the Viatorians’ General Assembly in Bogotá, Colombia.

In 2019, Donna retired after having served as the right hand assistant for four successive provincials during her 24-year career.

All of these opportunities to deepen her faith came to mind, when Donna and her husband attended a day of reflection. They and other Viatorian associates gathered with lay members of other religious communities to consider the impact of being an associate — and of their impact on their respective communities.

“This retreat,” Donna said at the time, “reaffirmed why I am an associate.”