Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph


SSJ E-NEWS is available for viewing on the SSJ website.

Edition No. 184—August 24, 2021 
Villa Jubilarians Celebrate 70 Years!
It was a joyous celebration for our sisters celebrating 70 years of vowed commitment and faithful love as Sisters of Saint Joseph at Saint Joseph Villa. On Saturday, August 14, 2021, 15 Jubilarians gathered with sisters, family and friends to celebrate their faithful service to God and God's people.

Celebrating 70 years: Sisters Clare Di Gregorio, Peg O'Connor, Mary Theresa Duffy, Marie Albert Hetzel, Catherine Dolorine Fitzpatrick, Anne Jose Campbell, Mary Corbett, Leonissa O'Brien, Ellen McCarthy, Marie Fatima Kretschman, Grace D. Pino, Patricia McClure, Ann C. Hilla, Patricia Cashman and Jean L. Holtz.

The Jubilarians were greeted in the Maguire Lounge by the General Council, who presented them with corsages and participated in Morning Prayer before the celebration.
Seated: Sisters Marie Albert Hetzel, Ellen McCarthy and Patricia McClure
Standing, from left: Sisters Owen Patricia Bonner, Maureen G. Erdlen,
Catherine Dolorine Fitzpatrick, Teresa Shaw, Ann C. Hilla, Karen Dietrich,
Grace D. Pino, Mary Teresa Duffy, Clare Di Gregorio and Eileen Marnien
Seated: Sisters Leonissa O'Brien and Jean L. Holtz
Standing, from left: Sisters Owen Patricia Bonner, Peg O'Connor, Karen Dietrich, Teresa Shaw, Marie Fatima Kretschman, Maureen G. Erdlen, Patricia Cashman,
and Eileen Marnien
In Chapel, Congregational President, Sister Maureen G. Erdlen SSJ, welcomed all present, recalling with gratitude the lives of the Jubilarians, lived for God in service to the Church. "We gather with gratitude for you and for the generosity with which you have shared your life, your gifts and your graces with so many, including us, your sisters, your families and your friends. Never doubt that what you have given of yourself has impacted and formed the lives of others. I recently read a note to one of our sisters from her former student. She said, 'Sister you were pivotal for me — and transformative as well. I didn't realize it at the time…My mother taught me prayers but you modeled how to pray…You were the first sign of God for me outside my family…I am so grateful.'

Sisters, your lives continue to point all of us toward our loving, creative God. No matter what changes, this is our constant: to make Christ visible in our world — not until we retire or as long as we are young and healthy — but until we take our last breath! You inspire us by your mature zeal and grace-filled Fidelity. So let us continue to 'become by God's grace the congregation of the great love of God so that whatever we do our lives may proclaim the love we profess."
In his homily at the Liturgy, Bishop Frances I. Malone, from the Diocese of Shreveport in Louisiana, expressed the joy he had for being able to be at Saint Joseph Villa to celebrate with the Jubilarians as well as having the opportunity to meet with some former teachers. Two sisters present were Bishop Malone’s teachers, Sister Mary Rose Dugan SSJ was his first-grade teacher and Sister Leonissa O’Brien SSJ was his second-grade teacher. Bishop Malone also had two members of the family who were sisters. "I have this great affection for the Sisters of Saint Joseph, with all my years having been taught by them at Nativity BVM School in Port Richmond, being here today is such an honor. I think I speak for everyone here when I say how much we love you, how grateful we are for your 'yes' and how you’ve served God so faithfully all these years."

"I come here as a guest of my second-grade teacher, but I represent all of you and your friends and family here when I say thank you, thank you so much for what you've done. When people ask about my vocation, I always mention the Sisters of Saint Joseph and how wonderful of a community they were at Nativity. I would not be who I am today or do what I do had it not been for you…you are all living examples of Jesus Christ to people like me. God bless you sisters, thank you so much, we love you and we so are grateful to God that at some point in your life you heard His call, followed through and are here 70 years later."
Sister Mary Rose Dugan SSJ and her first-grade student Bishop Malone
Bishop Malone with his second-grade teacher Sister Leonissa O'Brien SSJ
Villa Zoom: Recognizing Jubilee in our Lives
by Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate
There's something about a Jubilee. It allows us to affirm the accomplishments of a life well-lived; enables us to renew old friendships and celebrate the new. It recognizes that even our smallest successes underscore that we have done a pretty good job of struggling through this thing called life. It reminds us that, when push comes to shove, our inadequacies do not define who we are. Jubilees are our chance to celebrate personhood in a very special way.

The word "Jubilee" is rooted in Jewish history and refers to a sabbatical year that included forgiveness of debt as well as the liberation of slaves. Though many orthodox Jews still observe strict biblical laws, "Jubilee" regulations that impacted land ownership and stewardship have not been observed for many centuries. Today, "Jubilee" generally occurs every 25 years and is a season of rejoicing and festivity. The word itself comes from the Hebrew meaning "ram’s horn trumpet," an instrument often played to mark the solemn Jewish New Year. In the Catholic Church, Pope Francis designated December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021, as a year of Jubilee in honor of Saint Joseph. 

During Zoom meetings at the Villa this summer, we've talked about injustices that are a direct antithesis to forces that build a spirit of Jubilee. Fratelli Tutti has shown us time and again how important it is to reconcile with peoples of all races and beliefs, and using that encyclical we have discussed ways to bridge gaps that exist in our society. Most practical for us at the Villa is that we continue to take a stand on social issues through prayer, advocacy, and educating ourselves on current societal issues.

Jubilee is built on the give and take of ordinary living, lived out in extraordinary ways. We all play a part in this. All of us have reason to celebrate friendship, the existence of small successes and the goodness of God in our lives.
Looking for Inspiration?
You can find it by clicking on images below!
"With the help of God's grace and in fidelity to our founder's expressed wish, we live and work lovingly among all persons with a special preference for those who are poor, which calls us wherever we are to be in union with them."
                         — SSJ Constitutions #21
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | cpollock@ssjphila.org |http://ssjphila.org/home/