Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph

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Edition No.8   May 25, 2016
Sister Anne Myers SSJ
Travels to Rome for
2016 USIG Conference

At the beginning of May, Congregational President,          Sister Anne Myers SSJ, joined more than 900 women Religious leaders at a meeting of the Union of International Superiors General, (USIG) held at the Ergife Hotel in Rome. The theme of this year’s gathering was Weaving Global Solidarity for Life. Each day included prayer, formal presentations, reflection, discussion, Mass and, often, panel presentations.

For Anne, this was an experience of an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and grace. She shared some of the highlights. “As I walked into the meeting room on the first day, I had a felt sense of being one among sisters from around the entire planet. The world became an intimate, embraceable world, and that was so wonderful. At my table, there were sisters from four out of five continents: India, Africa. Australia, Ireland, England and United States. Here was the world, to see, and interact with. At the Offertory Procession during Mass one person from each continent carried the gifts. I thought, here is what the face of the world looks like. This is the global sisterhood and it was very powerful.”

Other parts of the conference dealt with discussing the various worldwide projects being done through USIG. The progress that has been made through Talitha Kum, which looks at trafficking throughout the world, was shared and discussed. Anne continued, “USIG has just started another inter-congregational project in Sicily helping to deal with the needs of the huge numbers of refugees coming from Syria. Another project focuses on the education of sisters in theological formation around the world. Another powerful moment was listening to a sister from Lebanon speak of the situation in the Middle Eastern countries, where there is serious persecution of the Christians. A group of eight younger sisters from all over the world talked about their experience of religious life. They were articulate, hopeful and committed to Jesus Christ and the Gospel.”

Another highlight for Anne was the opportunity to share about ASEC (African Sisters Educational Collaborative) with the entire group. “I shared how ASEC began and all the wonderful programs that are happening now. This has been a wonderful experience of collaboration for us in the United States with the sisters of Africa. They receive an education and are able to enhance the life of the people of Africa, in a systemic way, to create change in Africa. I felt as if I was speaking for the sisters in Africa about such a worthwhile project and a concrete experience of the global sisterhood.”

The sisters were thrilled to have a private audience with Pope Francis, who was open, relaxed, animated and energized as he discussed issues and answered questions.

Anne continues, “Saint Catherine of Siena said, 'Be who God called you to be and you will set the world on fire.' As I reflect on this time of overwhelming grace, I think, what do we need to do to totally be who God calls us to be? Because we can set the world on fire – each of us, individually and as a group. The Global aspect of this experience captured my heart in a different and deeper way. It was surely a great grace and I am so grateful to the Congregation that I was able to go.”

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Pictured from top:

Pope Francis enters Paul VI Auditorium to address the USIG

Anne Myers SSJ with sisters at USIG

Anne Myers SSJ with ASEC members

Anne Myers SSJ addresses the USIG about the ASEC Program
SSJ Associate
Welcoming Ritual
Francis House of Prayer
On Pentecost Sunday at the Eucharistic Celebration, in the outside chapel at Francis House of Prayer in Rancocas, New Jersey, 21 new SSJ Associates in Mission were welcomed: Jill Snyder, Wilma Rossi, Maria Dillon, Margie Sells, Judy Aiello, Ginger Coon, Lisa Welsh, Sandy Roth, Lynda Roberts, Tom Bartolomei, Sue Ziegler, Mary McCandless, Stephen Corandan, Ida Nagy, Mary Tumasz, Lynn Kosek-Walker, Celeste Bonfanti, Ruth Badyrka, Rosemarie Constable, Donna Scott and Cynthia Welsh.
Father Bill Lago, from the Trenton Diocese, presided at the 2 PM Mass, attended by sisters, family and friends and accompanied by a rushing wind. 
Sister Marcy Springer SSJ, Director of Francis House of Prayer, knew many of the new associates from their faithful attendance at the programs offered at the Retreat. As with all our SSJ Associates’ groups, God had planted the charism in the hearts of the people. Association is a way to claim and name what God has been doing all along, and to come together in an intentional community, rooted in the mission of Jesus — that all may be one.

Pictured  from left:
Rita Woehlcke SSJ, Ruth Badyrka, Rosemarie Constable and Donna Scott
Photos: Bernadette McMenamin SSJ
Gathering of Friends 
Brick, New Jersey
On Sunday, May 15, 2016, a group of new and old friends gathered at the beautiful home of SSJ Associate, Betty Kilkenny, in Brick, New Jersey to celebrate the good works of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

After some time for meeting, greeting, cocktails and hors d¹oeuvres, everyone gathered to hear Congregational President, Sister Anne Myers SSJ  speak about the sponsored works of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. “As with all congregations," Sister Anne began, “we have a special charism and mission. Our mission is that ‘we live and work so that all people may be united with God and one another.’ There are currently 756 sisters in our Congregation and every sister, in all of our various ministries, seeks to live out this mission with a heart full of love.  

Sister Anne gave an update on the progress of the Saint Joseph Villa Renewal and Revitalization Project, and invited those present to help us bring the project to completion with a financial contribution. “We have a lovely retirement home, Saint Joseph Villa, in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, where about 200 of our sisters and 80 lay residents live. Our sisters continue to be engaged in ministry even in their retirement, the ministry of prayer and presence. They pray very specially for your needs and intentions and embrace this ministry with great love and care. Our Villa is almost 50 years old. For the past year and a half, we have been involved in a Renewal and Revitalization Project that will transform our Villa from a medical model facility to a place that is a warm and welcoming home. We are very excited about this and are grateful for any support that you can offer us with this project.” 
In closing, Sister Anne expressed her deep gratitude for the opportunity to gather with these friends and dear neighbors . “On this feast of Pentecost, we are grateful for the many gifts that the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon each and every one of us. We are so appreciative of the gifts that you share so beautifully with your family, friends, and with us. Thank you for your goodness and your care. Please stay with us!”

Following some time for questions and answers, everyone enjoyed delicious desserts that were prepared and served by Betty and Sister Christine Iacobacci SSJ .
Pictured from left: Hostess Betty Kilkenny, Kathleen Pales SSJ and Eileen Marnien SSJ
Photos: Christine Iacobacci SSJ
Eating for Energy
On Monday, May 16, 2016, Janelle Lacey, Dietitian from Williamson’s visited Mount Saint Joseph Convent to give a presentation to the sisters and staff entitled, Eating for Energy

Janelle shared much informative and valuable information about diet, nutrition and lifestyle and how they interact. She emphasized foods that boost energy.

  • To get your metabolism going in the morning, eat bananas, eggs, berries, quinoa or spinach. 
  • Good sources of energy and nutrition, and better to eat later in the day, are leafy greens, fish, lentils, and sweet potatoes. 
  • Drinking water is a simple and inexpensive way to increase energy. 
  • Greens, a good source of iron, are best absorbed with Vitamin C; add some strawberries to your spinach salad. 
  • The new super food — Avocado!

Some additional tips to achieve a balanced and healthy life.

  • Caffeine, sugar, lack of sleep and lack of   exercise are energy zappers.
  • Don’t skip a meal. 
  • Pay attention to the number of servings on the box or can.
  • Consider the source of food: did it come in a box (processed) or grow in the ground (natural)? Processed foods that have additives and preservatives in them have chemicals added as well; your body has to work harder to break them down resulting in less energy. 

And finally, Janelle spoke of the energy secret: whole foods in their purest form, because these foods have the greatest amount of nutrients and create a balance in your system. “We eat for
energy so we can greet each day with the energy we need to do all that we want to accomplish.”

Pictured, seated from left:
Patricia Looney SSJ, Joanne Fehrenbach SSJ and
Anne Quirk SSJ.
Pictured standing, from left:
Harry Williamson, Francis Christi Beck SSJ and
Janelle Lacey
Mayor's 16th Annual Centenarian Celebration —
Sister Marie Cecile Iwetz SSJ
For the past 15 years the mayor of Philadelphia has hosted a special birthday celebration in honor of those Philadelphians who become Centenarians this year and those already ages 100 or older. Sister Marie Cecile Iwetz SSJ was among those Centenarians who attended a special luncheon on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

Accompanied by Sister Anna Louise SSJ and Sister Mary Regina Steffe SSJ, Sister Marie joined the other Centenarians at The Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall in Philadelphia for an afternoon of great food and good company, in celebration of this momentous event.

Sister Margie Duncan SSJ, Unit Clerk on the fifth floor of Saint Joseph Villa, where Sister Marie resides, commented. “Every morning when I greet Sister Marie, I ask her how she is feeling. She replies, ‘Fair to Middlin.’ ” Sister Marie, although you would never guess it, will turn 100 years on December 29, 2016. ‘Fair to Middlin’ must be working! 
Pictured from top:
From left, Anna Louise SSJ and Marie Cecile Iwetz SSJ

From left:  Mary Regina Steffe SSJ and
Marie Cecile Iwetz SSJ
Associates Gathering
St. Peter Convent
Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

by Jeanne Morgan SSJ
The monthly gatherings at St. Peter Convent in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, during this Year of Mercy, centered on the principles presented by Marc Tumeinski in his article, Proclaim the
Jubilee, in the December 7-14 2015 issue of America magazine. We shared around the questions posed by the writer and discussed how we, as an Associate group, could respond. At an earlier gathering, we asked ourselves this question: Is there a struggling parish, nearby or far away, to which we can provide help and resources? As a result, we collected supplies for the Aftercare Program at Saint Joan of Arc in Philadelphia, run by Sister Linda Lukiewski SSJ.

We then turned our attention closer to home to Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Asbury Park, New Jersey, whose principal is Sister Jude Catherine Boyce SSJ. The successful result: a collection of toys, games and sports equipment for their new playground.

We are sure that all the gifts brought many happy smiles to adults and children alike.
Pictured from top:
SSJ Associate Pat Dunn

Pictured from left:
Pat McClure SSJ, Joan Carey SSJ, Jeanne
Morgan SSJ and Jude Catherine Boyce SSJ.

Photos: Anne Francine Mead SSJ
Making History
And Having a Little Fun
Some of our sisters, who are residents of the Villa, will now have the opportunity to drive. Through the collaborative effort of The Council and the Villa Administration, sisters who wish to drive have successfully acquired the necessary approvals and completed a Driving Test.

On Monday, May 23, 2016, four cars, with colorful balloons streaming from the windows, were delivered to Saint Joseph Villa. Sister Dorothy Apprich SSJ led all gathered in a prayer and each car was blessed.

These cars are exclusively for the use of the sisters. Now, sisters may begin signing out a car to visit family or friends or to go to the mall or the movies. We hope that this new development will enhance our sisters’ Golden Years.

Click to watch a video of the arrival of the cars.
“We are called to love one another since we are united, not only by the same faith, but also by the same vows and manner of life. We are formed into one body in the same Congregation in order that, like the early Christians, we may have but one heart and one mind, one vision in God.”

— SSJ Constitutions #48
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | |