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Edition No. 213—July 29, 2022 
Villa Zoom—Full Circle of Hope

by Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate in Mission
These are hard times. Hard because they are as uncertain as the promise of tomorrow’s wake-up call. We weave an unknown path through COVID, climate change, political unrest, hunger; war, rising prices, child abuse, and random killing–all serious threats to the world’s wellbeing. Add to this shark attacks, lantern flies, murder hornets, and a rash of other pestilences and dismal takes on new dimensions. Though these issues undoubtedly concern us, our inability to personally provide solutions looms dark in the far corners of our mind. 

When we think back to generations born throughout the 1900s, however, we realize that they faced equally hard, though different, times. They weathered two World Wars, Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and lessor skirmishes in between. They survived the Great Depression and the rash of financial upheavals that followed it. When Polio crippled America’s youth, they came up with the Salk vaccine; discovered drugs to prevent Diphtheria, Measles, Chicken Pox, and AIDS.
 
Today as accounts of January 6th stir the airways and rumors of National Global Collapse threaten our security, it is normal for us to fear the future. Add to that the breakdown of the world’s weather patterns and the outlook is even more alarming. Extreme heat throughout the U.S., raging fires in California, and surging floods throughout Missouri have taken their toll on Mother Earth and frightened us in the process. 

Therefore, it is essential to believe that we are not alone in this; that just as things got better in the past, so too will they come full circle in the future. It is important, especially now, that we take to heart the belief that “God comes to us disguised as our life” (anonymous)—that He constantly reveals Himself in every evolving circumstance of our days.
Philadelphia Sisters of Saint Joseph and Associates in Mission gathered at the 2022 Federation Event in Saint Louis. Wonderful to be together!
Saint Joseph Villa
Phillies Game Fun
Sisters had a wonderful time at the Phillies game recently. 
Everyone enjoyed a day of good weather, good friends and good seats!
Sisters of Saint Joseph Associates in Mission
Giving Heart to the SSJ Mission

By Mary Vanderhoof, Associate in Mission
Associate in Mission, Mary Vanderhoof, from Cape May, New Jersey, shares how she is living the Mission and sharing the charism with the dear neighbor.

As Associates in Mission, we are called to love God and our dear neighbor, without distinction. In general, I had come to think of the dear neighbor as people in need right in my own community. Then, three years ago, inspired by seeing SSJ sisters travel to the border in service, as the numbers of desperate migrants crossing our southern border grew to crisis proportions, I felt strongly called to join them. 

I made two trips to the border in May and November of 2019, but the pandemic forced a pause. This past May I was finally able to return. While conditions and policies constantly change there, the numbers of men, women and children forced to leave their homes because of violence, death threats from gangs, and fear of being abducted for ransom or sold into trafficking continues to grow. The biggest differences I observed was where the migrants come from (now there are many Cuban, Haitian, African and Venezuelan migrants in addition to the Central American migrants) and where they are staying. Most are stuck in crowded, squalid shelters in Mexico due to American policy (Title 42) that prohibits them from coming to seek legal asylum.
Along with my seven companions from The Center for Faith and Justice, I served at two shelters in Reynosa and Matamoros, Mexico, as well as at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX. We also assisted recently released detainees at the Brownsville bus station and got to celebrate Mass with young (some as young as 5 years old) unaccompanied minor children being held in US detention centers. Their desperate parents sent them alone across the bridge into Texas as a last-ditch effort to give them a chance for a better life. Unfortunately, now they are being held by ICE in juvenile detention centers with no idea where their parents are or when they might be released or deported.

The stories I heard from the asylum seekers are now imprinted forever on my heart. Stories of fear, desperation, violence, and loss. But also indelibly imprinted on my heart, are their smiles, their gratitude, their tremendous faith, and their hope. They are truly my dear, beloved neighbors who I cannot forget nor turn away from. They have expanded my understanding of the dear neighbor forever, and I will do my best to continue to advocate for them however I can.
Pictured center: MaryVanderhoof
In praise of a snail’s pace

By Colleen Gibson SSJ
Reprinted by permission from Global Sisters Report
Read Sister Colleen Gibson SSJ’s latest article in the Global Sisters Report:

How long can this war, this drought, this virus, this suffering, this dissension go on? If we continue at this pace, will we ever make the turn? That is, will we find our direction
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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/