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Edition No. 72 — June 22, 2018 
The Pilgrimage to Le Puy and Lyon
A Graced Journey
June 2018
By Dolores Clerico SSJ
With great excitement and anticipation, sixteen pilgrims departed Philadelphia on June 6th to walk in the footsteps of our founders. We returned home June 15th as a communion of hearts, overflowing with gratitude and awe. 

True to our tradition as Sisters of Saint Joseph, we moved through our days together with “eyes open, ears attentive, and spirit alert”. We walked steep and winding cobblestone streets as we imagined the surroundings of the 17 th Century. The presence of our first sisters was palpable as we stood on the same kitchen floor that they did. We could almost hear Jean Pierre Medaille SJ preaching in the former Jesuit parish church. We marveled at the stamina of our early sisters as we traced their steps up to the Cathedral and to St. Michel. We stood in silence, then prayed our community prayer at the spot, where many years later, two sisters were led to the guillotine. Throughout all our days, we prayed, shared the state of our hearts, laughed, cried, ate new foods, watched threatening skies give way to warm sunshine and carried with us the needs of family, friends, congregation and world. 

When our time in LePuy came to an end, we traveled in the footsteps of Mother Saint John Fontbonne, stopping at Bas-en-Basset and Monistrol, two places of significance in her life. Once in Lyon, we prayed for her guidance as we stood in her bedroom and at her gravesite. Before bringing our pilgrimage to an end, we briefly reflected on the French origins and life of Mother Saint John Fournier. What a fitting way for us to connect our French roots with our own Philadelphia story!

We return home more deeply inspired by our graced tradition and confident in our unfolding future. Standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, we embrace the Divine Mystery that continues weaving us together for a great love. May the grace of our pilgrimage experience “liberate us to a radical sense of mission”!
 Mother Saint John Fontbonne’s bedroom
 Group on the patio of the International Centre
 View of LePuy
 Fourviere—Basilica in Lyon
From bedroom window in International Centre
Words seem inadequate to explain our pilgrimage to Le Puy and Lyon. We walked on holy ground… ground that experienced the courage, prayerfulness and ministries of our early sisters. What an example for me/us to follow at this time in our history! It is with great gratitude that I hold all of this in my heart.
Sister Vickie Fanino


This pilgrimage was more than I could ever have imagined! Walking in the footsteps of our first sisters in Le Puy, being in their kitchen, spending time in Lyon with Mother Saint John Fontbonne — what overwhelming moments of grace and connection!
         Sister Connie Trainor


This pilgrimage renewed and deepened my vocation and belief in the future of the Congregation. As our early sisters experienced great challenges and change, so will we. But like them, with the help of God, we will carry the mission into the future.
         Sister Dolores Egner


What joy — pure delight to walk the cobblestone streets of our first six sisters in LePuy. I’m filled with deep gratitude for this gift!  Je suis plein . . .
         Sister Donna Minster


The privilege of being on the 2018 Pilgrimage to Le Puy with sixteen of our sisters was graced beyond words. Our time together connected me to the awesomeness of our beginnings and the true wonder of this present moment in our SSJ history. It gave me renewed hope in our living and loving together as SSJs into the future. Knowing the strength of our roots, gives me faith in our continued fruitfulness in the world! I know the Pilgrimage will be with me the rest of my life! Please consider going next year if you ca n!
         Sister Marcy Springer
Photos courtesy Dolores Clerico SSJ and Jane Field SSJ
Please visit the blog for the International Centre to see more about our days
in Le Puy:
SSJ Associates in Mission Commitment Ceremony
Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
June 13, 2018
Pictured from left: Pat Torraco, Sue Moleti, Carla Hummel and Vita Pizzo 
We extend a warm welcome to our new SSJ Associates in Mission who made commitment during a ceremony at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, on Wednesday, June 13 th

We pray that we may be supportive and effective, bringing to life all the best in one another so that together we might help others to see God in themselves.
Time for Ice Cream
Mr. Softie Visits Saint Joseph Villa
June 19, 2018
St. Joseph Worker Program
Going Forth Ceremony
Saint Joseph Villa
June 19, 2018
On Tuesday, June 19th at Saint Joseph Villa, many gathered to celebrate, bless and send forth Julie Oeste and Lauren Schwartz as they conclude their year of service with the St. Joseph Worker Program.

We are grateful for the many gifts that Lauren and Julie have contributed to their service sites. Julie served at the Villa on the 4 th floor with Marian Beems as her mentor; Lauren served at LaSalle Academy, working primarily with 3 rd graders, with Bridget Joram as her mentor.

Sister Anne Myers SSJ , Congregational President, welcomed all gathered in the chapel for the ceremony. “What an inspiration Julie and Lauren have been for all of us! As St. Joseph Workers, they chose to partner with us in a special way through learning and living our mission and charism of unity as they formed an intentional community with a focus on spirituality, justice, leadership and simple living. They have served the needs of our dear neighbor with love, devotion and compassion—and they have made a difference! Julie and Lauren, thank you. We hope that this experience has been transformative for you, as well.”

Sister Julie Fertsch SSJ , Director, St. Joseph Worker Program, expressed her gratitude and appreciation. “Well done good and faithful ones! No doubt, God is unbelievably pleased with you and is rejoicing in the gift of your loving service. Lauren and Julie, we celebrate you as you conclude your year with the St. Joseph Worker Program. You certainly have been  ready for any good work this year! We send you forth with great gratitude and love! Thanks for your life, thanks for your love, thanks for YOU!”
Pictured from left: Julie Oeste, Marian Beems, Julie Fertsch SSJ, Lauren Schwartz
and Bridget Joram
Pictured from left: Anne Myers SSJ, Marian Beems, Julie Oeste, Julie Fertsch SSJ, Lauren Schwartz, Bridget Joram and Regina Bell SSJ.
Shut Down Berks Vigil
June 17, 2018
Sister Colleen Dauerbach SSJ attended the  Shut Down Berks Vigil on Sunday, June 17, 2018. This monthly vigil was led by Shut Down Berks Interfaith Witness with the ANNA Crusis Choir. This campaign is a grassroots coalition fighting to shut down the Berks County Detention Center immediately and end family detention.

Sister Colleen spoke to the gathering of various faith groups about the Sisters of Saint Joseph from Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia and their commitment to standing with our dear neighbors wherever we are, as we work to advance the rights and dignity of all people, especially women and children. We welcome our neighbors who come to our country seeking safety and a new home for their families.

The Berks County Detention Center, known officially as the Berks County Residential Center, is a prison for immigrant families, where children as young as two-weeks-old have been incarcerated. The PA Department of Human Services (PA DHS) is responsible for erroneously licensing the facility to operate, despite their mission to “provide and promote safety and permanency for children and youth at risk of abuse, neglect and delinquency”. Berks is currently operating in direct violation of the license according to Pennsylvania law. DHS Secretary Ted Dallas needs to immediately issue an Emergency Removal Order, so the families can be released.

PA DHS has publicly recognized that the center is in violation of the license and as of Monday, February 22, BCRC has been operating without a license. Given the record of inhumane conditions and that operation of BCRC is against state and federal law, we demand that BCRC be immediately shut down. PA DHS should order an Emergency Removal of families while the appeal is in process, the County Commissioners should drop their appeal and stop participating in this painful and inhumane practice, and ICE should end their policy of family detention and be held accountable for their violation of Federal law.
Pictured from left: Colleen Dauerbach SSJ and Suzanne Gallagher RSM
"Rooted in the mission of Christ, ours is the same mission which continually unfolds in the Church, 'That all may be one as you, Father, are in me, and I in you. I pray that they may be one in us.' (Jn 17:21)."
                                        — SSJ Constitutions #17
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | cpollock@ssjphila.org | http://ssjphila.org/home/