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Edition No. 115 — December 20, 2019 
Sister Ellen Poist SSJ
Creating a Spirit of Christmas Joy & Tradition
Mount Saint Joseph Convent
Sister Ellen Poist SSJ  has been missioned at Mount Saint Joseph Convent since 1998. Her responsibilities include coordinating the social events—primarily those that take place in the dining room. Decorating the dining room is a part of that too, and she creates beautiful table centerpieces for each season and holiday.

When Ellen was teaching 5 th  & 6 th  grades in Severna Park, her parents gave her the family Christmas tree for her classroom. Ellen used the tree to teach the children about the Jesse Tree in religion class. She also made angel ornaments out of yarn and hung them on the tree for each student—the beginning of a now much loved tradition at the Motherhouse. When she came to the Motherhouse in 1998, Ellen brought the tree with her and placed it in the Convent dining room.

As her first Christmas was approaching, Ellen wanted everyone to have something to take home after the annual Christmas luncheon. She decided to make an angel ornament for each person who lived and worked at the Motherhouse and lovingly placed them on ‘her tree’.

The next year Ellen added a tag, with the name of each person on the ornament. She has done that every year since—this year making 126 ornaments—and she has this huge task down to quite a system, with the help of  Sister John Christopher Tate SSJ . On the day of the luncheon, everyone looks forward to finding ‘his’ or ‘her’ ornament on the tree.

Over the years Ellen gradually added more and more places to her decoration responsibilities: window candles in offices and bedrooms, wreathes on all the main outside doors, common areas in the Convent (corridors, parlors, hospitality area, front entry)—all beautifully decorated.

In 2005, Ellen and  Sister Ann Moriarty SSJ  came up with the idea of having a Heritage Tree at the Motherhouse at Christmas time. They sent out an invitation to the Congregation and asked for a symbol of 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. In addition, Ann cross-stitched ornaments representing all the states where sisters were ministering. Ellen designed an ornament for each of the Superior Generals. 

They also created a garland/chain of red paper links—one for each sister and the day she died, beginning with the year 1853. As you can imagine, this garland/chain is very long and Ellen puts the chain representing the last three years on the Heritage Tree each year.

We are so grateful to Ellen, for once again, transforming the Motherhouse, through her generosity and care, into a place of tradition, light, and joy at Christmastime.
She decided to make angel ornaments for each person who lived and worked at the Motherhouse and lovingly placed them on ‘her tree’.
On the day of the luncheon, everyone looks forward to finding ‘his’ or ‘her’ ornament on the tree.
Ellen puts the chain representing the last three years on the Heritage Tree each year.
Thank You to WSFS and the Beneficial Foundation
Mount Saint Joseph Convent
December 18, 2019
By Kathleen Pales SSJ
On Wednesday, December 18, 2019 we were happy to welcome Robert Juliano and Maryann Sweriduk of WSFS Bank who presented us with a grant for $15,000 from The Beneficial Foundation. Since 2008, we have received over $190,000 in grants, donations and sponsorships from The Beneficial/WSFS Foundation. Today’s generous gift will support both Saint Joseph Villa and the SSJ Welcome Center.

Bob and Maryann spoke of knowing Sisters of Saint Joseph from their elementary and high school days, and now being able to support us and our ministries in different ways. Bob, Vice President and Director of Corporate Giving, has served on the Advisory Board of the Welcome Center. Maryann, Retail Office Manager, Rosemore Campus, now provides support to all the local community treasurers.

It was a delight to show Bob and Maryann around the Motherhouse, and to spend some time with them admiring the recently renovated Chapel. 

Thank you, Bob and Maryann, for all your support of our sisters and our ministries!
Pictured from left: Jean Laurich SSJ, Kathleen Pales SSJ, Robert Juliano
and Maryann Sweriduk
Advent Retreat Day
Mount Saint Joseph Convent
December 18, 2019
The SSJ Spirituality Committee invited sisters, associates in mission and partners in mission to an Advent Retreat Day on December 18, 2019 at the Motherhouse.

Sister Mary Carboy SSJ  guided the participants through communal prayer, reflection and quiet prayer.
"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/