Associates and oblates of religious communities are, obviously, dedicated to their own spiritual journey and, particularly, drawn to a group/a community to share that journey. Some are former members, if not of the community with whom they associate, with another community earlier in their life. Others often speak of their interest in religious life when they were young, and still others either admire the life and works of the religious group, know members personally, or through a particular event or experience, come to feel "at home" with a community's philosophy and charism and wish to be closer to them through an association.
These women (and men) will be especially interested, as we are, in a weeklong series that the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is running January 4-8 on the life of women religious in this country, by one of the premier writers in the field: Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHM. Their site already has a pre-interview with Sandra on why she took on this latest reflection and the positions she posits in it. I have read a lot by Sandra and find her thoughts and reflections compelling, encouraging and inspiring.
I think all of us that are in any way associated with religious life in the Catholic Church will benefit from her ideas. Here's a link to the NCR--use the Search in the upper right for "Schneiders" if it doesn't come right up.