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Edition No. 189—October 15, 2021 
VILLA ZOOM—And Still the Earth Weeps 

by Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate
The last Villa Zoom article suggested that our world was “in a muddle”--a predicament that it can’t seem to get its arms around. As Zoomers gathered this week, the situation remained dire.

“Space junk’ still swirled through the stratosphere and threatened to disrupt our climate. Plastic debris clogged our oceans while trash, tossed carelessly on our beaches and highways, packed our landfills. Mother Earth wept in torrents as she watched acres of prime California real estate turn to ash. Volcanoes belched in Fukutoku, Japan, and the earth quaked violently in Pahala, Hawaii. What is the message here?

All this is bad enough—until you consider the human disruption that plagues our world. COVID-19 remains a political issue as “fake news” continues to spread distrust and discontent. Political bickering stifles restoration of our infrastructure, while the environment remains in limbo. In the past year alone over four hundred Philadelphians lost their lives to gun violence, yet gun control legislation languishes on the steps of Congress. Then, there are the immigrants, the “tired and poor” who journeyed thousands of miles to find respite in America, only to be turned back to poverty and desperation.

How are we to process these situations? What message should we take to our hearts?

These are complex questions for which simple answers elude us. To be sure, belief in an all-knowing God is the bedrock for our efforts; yet, what specific actions can we as individuals take? Each of us must answer this question according to our age and circumstances. ALL of us, however, can find within our hearts some small action to supplement our prayer. For example: Read the newspaper or select an article on social justice to reinforce your awareness; write or phone your congressman to support/oppose a political action; discuss timely issues with a friend; follow one of the many social justice sites found on the internet; use your iPad to search for topics that inform and educate.

We, as caring women of Faith, have a golden opportunity to witness how even the smallest efforts can help change our world. Consider: What would Jesus do? 
The SSJ Refugee Ministry Project
October 2021
Fahim Sekandari and his family are pictured in a supply area where Afghan families can come and receive needed bedding, kitchen supplies, diapers and other household items. The SSJ Refugee Ministry Project oversees the supplies and distributes them to families that Fahim and his family are helping to settle in the Oxford Circle area of Philadelphia.
Celebrating Founders’ Day
October 15, 2021
On October 15, 1650, in the chapel of the orphanage in Le Puy, France, Bishop de Maupas gave official existence to the first six Sisters of Saint Joseph, giving them a holy rule to follow and placing them under the protection of Saint Joseph, whose name they adopted. Clothed in the inconspicuous dress of the widows of that time, these six women launched a work that continues to the present day. Bishop de Maupas and Father Jean-Pierre Medaille, S.J. were the spiritual directors who understood the need for a religious congregation of women who would combine features of the contemplative and active life, and who would work for people who were poor and forgotten.

Three hundred seventy one years later, we asked some Sisters and SSJ Associates in Mission "what would we look like if we were founded today?"
Today, to celebrate Founders’ Day, sisters and staff gathered in the Mount Saint Joseph dining room to begin the day with a prayer service, led by Sister Jean Laurich SSJ, and breakfast. Two of our Partners in Mission, Ernestine Hunter and John Prendergast, shared what it means to them to be a Partner in Mission. John and Ernestine's reflections, in part, are shown below.
I have been here now almost 6 years. Getting to know the sisters and understanding their Mission of Unity has been a continuous journey. One of their core values is a listening heart. I’m a fast paced guy so it reminds me to slow down, listen to God and listen to those around you.

  Maxim 69 -  Never think of tomorrow unless it has some necessary link to today.
  Maxim 84 – Never run ahead of grace by being over-eager, but quietly await its
movements.

Joy—just one word to describe the Sisters; being around that joy does energize you. Chapel renovation; celebrating mass with the Sisters—that joy is truly contagious. 

—John Prendergast
For me, being a Partner in Mission means to take what I have learned of the mission and values of the Sisters of Saint Joseph to share with others, and to be a motivation in my personal ministry to be of greater service to those in need. It means to encourage others, clergy and lay, to embrace and serve the dear neighbor by truly being the hands and feet of Jesus.
                                                        
—Ernestine Hunter
Pictured from top: John Prendergast and Ernestine Hunter
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/