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Edition No. 218—November 1, 2022 

Celebrating Founders’ Day

October 15, 2022

McSherrystown, PA

Sisters in McSherrystown invited Village residents to celebrate our 372nd birthday by rolling up their sleeves to aid children, boys and girls, ages 3 to18 who are separated from their families. The children are cared for at the St. Vincent Center in Baltimore. Peg Staub and Sister Mary Unger SSJ created a lovely lunch at Cecilian Village and St. Joseph Village respectively, with the proceeds going to support our dear neighbors, the children at St. Vincent Center in Baltimore.

SSJ Neighborhood Center

The SSJ Neighborhood Center hosted a Prayer, Potluck Supper and Social on the eve of Founders’ Day. Sisters and Associates, along with the Novitiate community, and sisters from neighboring convents joined in the celebration.

Norwood-Fontbonne Academy

As a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Saint Joseph since 1920, Norwood-Fontbonne Academy has deep roots in the history of the sisters and their desire to creatively foster the formation of young women and men.

Norwood-Fontbonne Academy students and faculty gathered in The Fontbonne Commons on Friday, October 14th for a special prayer service to celebrate Founders Day. 

The SSJ Welcome Center

The SSJ Welcome Center Outreach celebrated the Sisters of Saint Joseph Founders' Day by treating our ‘dear neighbors’ to hot dogs, snacks and water—along with a little cheering for the Phillies.

Pictured from left: Maria Murcia-Garcia and Sister Kathleen McShane SSJ, Director of the Welcome Center

Mount Saint Joseph Academy

Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, PA celebrated Founders’ Day as a community on Friday, October 14. The traditional annual event honors the Mount’s rich history and the founding Sisters of Saint Joseph. Students gathered for an assembly in the morning and then embarked on the mindful walk, led by senior Student Leadership Council members, to the Motherhouse Chapel at Chestnut Hill College to attend a special Founders’ Day Mass. After returning to campus, students participated in a dance party and service activities that honored the Mount mission. 

Mount Saint Joseph Academy students with Sister Charlene Diorka SSJ, President of the Academy.

Saint Joseph Villa

The Founders' Day celebration began with liturgy at Saint Joseph Villa. Three Partners in Mission participated in the entrance procession. After a delicious lunch sisters and residents had the opportunity to engage in a number of mission related activities. 

Pictured from left: Rhonda Davis, Celeste Robinson and Leslie Rhames 

Chestnut Hill College

Chestnut Hill gathered as a college community in the Motherhouse Chapel for Fall Convocation and a Founder’s Day Prayer Service on October 17th. This ceremony was an opportunity to come together in a meaningful way, reconnect to the roots of our history, deepen our commitment to mission, and ask God’s blessing on our academic year. 

Faculty, staff and students were encouraged to participate in this rich opportunity of personal and communal reflection. Together, they listened to the story of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who founded Chestnut Hill College 98 years ago, and reflected on our core values of transformative holistic education, just relationships, innovative thinking, responsible action and an animated spiritual life.

As a sponsored work of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Philadelphia, we continue living the mission through a profound desire for union with God and the dear neighbor.   

Dr. William Latimer, President of Chestnut Hill College, welcomes faculty, staff and students.

Villa Zoom—One Vote Can Make a Difference

Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate in Mission

Last month a call went out for Villa residents to check their voting status, thus stirring a mix of reactions ranging from indifference to a positive response.

On the one hand, the belief that “my vote doesn’t really make a difference” or “I’m too old and the outcome doesn’t affect me now,” is countered by the more upbeat belief that we are ALL part of the time and place God intended for us; we should, therefore, take seriously the privilege of deciding how our time in life should be governed. Voting is a major part of doing that.  

The system of voting that we see in America today enjoys a long history of ancient tribal societies that elected their own leaders. By the middle of the 5th century, ancient Greece had also developed an early form of democracy and held popular elections in Sparta and Athens. By the end of the century, the Romans had devised their own intricate system of government and prided themselves on their free elections. In both Greece and Rome, women at that time could not own property, had no political rights, and were not eligible to vote. 

Modeled on these two great societies, America began its bold democratic experiment in the late 1700s. Despite their belief in the virtues of democracy, however, our founders placed severe limits on voting rights. Some of these restrictions eventually relaxed and by 1856 the requirement for property ownership was no longer a factor in voting eligibility. In 1870 African Americans obtained the right to vote, followed by women in 1920 and Native Americans four years later.

Today as we face another midterm election, we owe allegiance to the nineteenth-century Suffragettes who fought long and hard for women to have a voice. Committed forerunners of our democratic process, they risked insult, ostracism, and imprisonment to guarantee a voice in the way women live today and future generations live tomorrow. Pioneer struggles of the past—join our vote in the present—to make way for hope in the future.

Surely God smiles on our effort!

Time at a Monastery Retreat Makes All the Difference

by Dorothy Giloley SSJ

Reprinted by permission from Global Sisters Report

Read Sister Dorothy Giloley SSJ’s article in the Global Sisters Report:

Each year as sisters we have the opportunity and the privilege of making a retreat. My retreats in the past several years have been at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia—and these retreats have made a profound difference in my life. Perhaps sharing my retreat experiences at Holy Cross might interest others to venture forth also on this "road less traveled" retreat at a monastery.

Click here to read Sister Dorothy’s article

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                         — SSJ Constitutions #21
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