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Edition No. 194—December 22, 2021 
VILLA ZOOM: A Christmas Journey

by Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate

Through the ages journeys of one sort or another have played a role in the history of humankind. Old Testament journeys are perhaps the most familiar to us: Noah's descendants migrate from Mount Ararat to Babel. Abraham travels from Ur to the land of Canaan. Moses flees Midian; his successor, Joshua, leads the Israelites to the Promised Land. Examples of such journeys are numerous: Jacob, Saul, David—and it is from the House of David that Jesus is born.
For us, as Catholics, the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem and miraculous birth of Jesus are central to our Christian identity. We have grown up with stories of a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, of shepherds watching their sheep by night, angels glorifying God, and a star that guided Wisemen to a manger. As adults, we’ve come to realize that Joseph and Mary’s journey was actually no easy trek; that each step of the way was beset with hardship, doubt, and setbacks that demanded uncompromising faith.

So too, our own lives demand a similar uncompromising faith and trust. From birth to death our personal journeys require openness to an unseen Presence that guides us through changes from childhood to adulthood; through joys, doubts, and the constant ebb and flow of each day. These personal journeys mold us into the person we are. Each life experience demands that we respond with prayerful attention to God’s unfathomable ways. We are mystery—just as winds blow and stars shine. 

This second “Pandemic Christmas” underscores the pleasure of celebrating with family and friends. It heightens the comfort of a warm fire and the taste of good wine. It also urges us to soften the need of those who, like Joseph and Mary, search the winter nights of their journey for a safe place of respite. May we respond to their need with the courage to be living “Christmas gifts” for those most disadvantaged and alone.  
Mount Saint Joseph Convent
Heritage Tree
Christmas 2021
In 2005, Sisters Ellen Poist and Ann Moriarity came up with the idea of having a Heritage Tree at the Motherhouse for Christmas time. They sent out an invitation to the Congregation and asked for a symbol for each ministry in the form of a Christmas ornament, which would be placed on the Heritage Tree. The response from the sisters was wonderful! Over the years, ornaments representing new ministries were added to the tree. There are cross-stitched ornaments representing all the states where sisters were ministering, as well as ornaments for each of the Superior Generals. The tree also includes a chain of red paper links-one for each sister and the day she died. Sister Ellen continues to add sisters to the chain. 

We are so grateful to Sister Ellen for continuing this beautiful Christmas tradition!
Becoming a supporting character this Christmas

By Sister Colleen Gibson SSJ
Reprinted with permission from Global Sisters Report

Read Sister Colleen Gibson SSJ’s latest article in the Global Sisters Report: Becoming a supporting character this Christmas


As we reflect on the story of Christmas and prepare ourselves for Christ's coming in that moment, it's a good reminder that, like the shepherds, we are not the main character. We are not the Light. Jesus is.
Saint Joseph Villa
December 21, 2021
A Very Merry Lunch
Along with a delicious lunch, the sisters at the Villa were treated to a surprise on Tuesday, December 21th. The General Council visited Saint Joseph Villa to help serve lunch and spread some Christmas cheer!
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"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/