Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph

SSJ E-NEWS is available for viewing on the SSJ website.

Edition No. 46  June 22, 2017 
Step Away for a Day
June 13, 2017
By Mary Elizabeth Clark SSJ
Sister Georgette Gavioli SSJ extended an invitation to seven women from Jersey City, New Jersey, to attend Step Away for a Day Program on June 13, 2017.

As it turned out, we picked the hottest day of the week! What we had hoped would be a day outdoors in nature, became an inside one because of the severe heat. However, the women were so intent on their artistic creations, they hardly felt the heat!

The day included a demonstration by Jimmy Clark, clay artist and brother of Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark SSJ . Jimmy explained the living bacteria within clay that gives it a mind of its own . So, instead of manipulating the clay and deciding what it would become, one needs to listen to what the clay is telling you it wants to become. Thus, a lesson in Earth’s organic nature.

Maryanne Williams lead a yoga session and Mary Kurtz, former Art Instructor at Norwood Fontbonne Academy, presented a lesson in succulent plants. The women created a dish garden that will need very little water but provide beauty and life inside.

The women enjoyed lunch in the Mount Saint Joseph Convent dining room. A visit to the Motherhouse chapel was a highlight.

In the closing circle, the women received a Pope Francis rosary and case, along with a brochure about the rosary and ideas about care for creation. Maryanne gave them a Mandala coloring book with colored pencils, as a take home remembrance. Instruction by Sister Mary Elizabeth on Pope Francis ‘ Laudato Si, on Care for Our Common Home concluded the day.

As they shared their thoughts about the day, the women expressed their desire to return. Everyone left with a marigold plant, a copy of Sister Mary Elizabeth’s book of prayers, a mug and a cloth napkin.
Thank You
Sister Dolores Egner SSJ
Visitation Catholic School — Philadelphia
After serving as Teacher and Principal of Visitation Catholic School in Philadelphia for a combined total of 30 years, Sister Dolores Egner SSJ discerned it was time to retire.

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the end-of-the-year Liturgy, the students, faculty, staff and families of Visitation Parish thanked Sister Dolores for her dedication, service and love. With flowers, gifts, hugs and a beautiful farewell song, they expressed their appreciation for her — with assurance that she will always hold a special place in their hearts.

Below is an excerpt from her farewell letter:

  In 1993, with the closing of many Catholic schools, I became the Principal of Visitation School and thus began my journey of a lifetime.

Our families, alums, and friends rallied to build Visitation up so that now there are over 460 students in our school. Our graduates continue to make us proud by going to great colleges, serving our country and others in many ways and by being good parents. Our graduates come home to Vis regularly and we are always excited to see them and share their stories.

Thank you to the families, the children, the faculty and staff, Ed and Erin for taking on the responsibility of administrators, the parishioners, the Redemptorists, the Sisters of Saint Joseph, our Board, the Office of Catholic Education, the Connelly Foundation and all of our friends.

Without you I could never have led Visitation to where it is today. THANK YOU. I will always hold Visitation and all of you in prayer and I ask you to do the same for me.
God’s Blessings, Sister Dolores Egner, SSJ
Saint Joseph Villa
Celebrating 49 Years
June 20, 2017
In the chapel at Saint Joseph Villa, on the morning of June 20, 2017, Sister Dorothy Apprich SSJ, Director of Saint Joseph Villa, addressed the sisters. “Today we are celebrating a special day — the 49th birthday of Saint Joseph Villa. And, we are also going to begin the celebration of the 50th year today — in house.

As we begin our Liturgy today, in celebration of this special birthday, we will begin with a trumpet fanfare and proclamation of the Anniversary Year. And as part of that proclamation, we are going to invite everyone here to pray together the anniversary prayer for our 50th year.

This afternoon in culmination of the birthday, Mr. Softie Ice Cream Truck will be here — also an important part of the celebration!”    

Today, the 20th day of June, in the year 2017,

  • 367 years since the birth of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Le Puy, France;

  • 170 years since the establishment of the Philadelphia foundation of the
            Sisters of Saint Joseph;
  • And, 49 years since the doors of Saint Joseph Villa opened to welcome the first Sister-residents to their new home;

We proclaim a Year of Jubilee for Saint Joseph Villa in Flourtown, PA,
a time of renewal and revitalization leading up to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Villa in 2018!

As we begin this Jubilee Year, we promise to honor our past by being faithful to the legacy that has been handed down to us over these past years: “to be a healing presence.”

We promise, as far as we are able, to pass on to future generations our call to be a healing presence — that our mission of unioning love may live on for years to come!
St. Joseph Worker Program
Going Forth Ceremony
Saint Joseph Villa
June 20, 2017
Pictured from left: Alicia Garamy, Jessica Perham and Theresa Vencill
By Julie Fertsch SSJ
On Tuesday, June 20th at Saint Joseph Villa, we gathered to celebrate, bless and send forth Alicia Garamy, Jessica Perham and Theresa Vencill as they conclude their year of service with the St. Joseph Worker Program. 

This year has been filled with new experiences, tons of growth, and plenty of graces, blessings and challenges. We are grateful for these three young women and for the many gifts they have contributed to their service sites: LaSalle Academy, St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral Child Development Center and Saint Joseph Villa, and, to our Congregation, our neighborhoods and our world. Their commitment, depth, passion, enthusiasm and magnanimity are incredibly inspiring!  We pray that they will always know of our gratitude and love and of their special place in the Family of Saint Joseph.

In her welcome remarks, Sister Anne Myers SSJ, Congregational President, thanked the young women. “What an inspiration you have been for all of us!  As St. Joseph Workers, you chose to partner with us in a special way through learning and living our mission of unity as you formed an intentional community, with a focus on spirituality, justice, leadership and simple living. You have served the needs of our dear neighbor with love, devotion and compassion — and have made a difference! Jessica, Theresa and Alicia thank you. We hope that you have been transformed by your experience, as well.

Pope Francis (2013 adapted) once said at a meeting of youth, and we now say to Theresa, Alicia and Jessica, “You, dear young people, have been joyful witnesses of His love, courageous witnesses of His Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of His light.”  Thank you. May you keep on shining!      
Pictured from left: Julie Fertsch SSJ, Alicia Garamy, Jessica Perham, Marian Beems, Theresa Vencill
and Teresa Diamond
"We model our lives together on the life of the Trinity: by desiring always to respond to the Father's gift of life; by seeking to imitate the Son's humility and self-emptying love; by trying to know and express God's love in our lives through the action of the Holy Spirit. "
                                                                                — SSJ Constitutions #9

Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | |