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Edition No. 107 — October 22, 2019 
Fall Assembly 2019
Martino Hall, Chestnut Hill College
October 12, 2019
Sisters and Associates in Mission gathered on October 12, 2019 to celebrate Chapter 2019 and the Associate Consultation Process. Many others joined in the celebration via livestreaming. Together, we shared our hopes for living the SSJ Mission into the future with enthusiasm, zeal and joy.

Sister Maureen G. Erdlen SSJ , Congregational President, welcomed everyone: “It is a great day to be together and to affirm the action of the Spirit in our lives throughout the past two years. Through our preparation, discussion, and most of all, through our communal reflection and discernment, I believe Chapter 2019 was a life-changing moment for us as a Congregation and for those who join us in Mission, our Associates.” 

Sister Maureen continued: “We have committed ourselves to be joyful. Many of us were attracted to this life because we experienced the joy of the women before us. It seems that we are once again in a major shift that invites us to balance a healthy individualism with that relational type of living which we call community

I have great hope for the future. I have great hope because our youngest members are committed to the vowed life and what it means to our 21 st  century world and they are ready to take on the challenges ahead. I have great hope because our most senior members continue to live the vowed life in fidelity to God and to us, those who are following them. For those of us in the middle, the most uncertainty is ours. We are being drawn into this future, but even as we are, we must make a choice. We can go “kicking and screaming,” holding on to whatever is close and comfortable, or we can go “with eyes open, ears attentive, spirits alert.” I have great hope because our Associates are passionate about our mission and desire to bring it to many new places with courage and compassion.  And I have great hope because we belong to a God who is always faithful and whose heart longs for the healing of our Earth and all who dwell on it.

You called us to elected leadership and have extended to us a loving invitation—an invitation to “dig deeper” every day, to be more open and less judgmental, more prayerful and less busy, more vulnerable and less grasping at security, more forgiving and less clinging to past hurts. If you hear nothing else today, please hear that we are all in this together.

So, I extend the invitation right back to you. Let us together be more open, more prayerful, more vulnerable, and more forgiving so that together we will create a space for all that God intends for the future of religious life- for the sake of the earth and all who dwell on it.”

The day closed with the celebration of Liturgy in the Motherhouse Chapel.
Celebrating Founders' Day
Mount Saint Joseph Convent
October 15, 2019
Founders’ Day, October 15 th , was once again a joyful celebration of the gift of our founders and an opportunity to give thanks for their example. We are inspired anew by their love, courage, passion and commitment to serve our dear neighbors without distinction.

Sisters and staff gathered in the Mount Saint Joseph Convent dining room to begin the day with a prayer service, prepared by  Sister Jean Laurich SSJ,  and breakfast.
Following lunch, Sisters Jean Laurich and Margaret Mary Smith presented a glimpse into the experience of the 1918 Influenza epidemic and the SSJ experience of those extraordinary days. On display were copies of newspaper clippings and correspondence regarding the Sisters' work as well as other materials in the Heritage Room.
At the celebration of the Eucharist in the afternoon,  Sister Maria McCoy SSJ  shared a reflection: “Over three hundred and fifty years ago, Divine Spirit found a home in the heart of Jean Fontbonne and her friends. Within that home Spirit wove the web of Trinity’s all inclusive, relational love. Spirit’s creative action is not contained to Jean and our founding sisters. Rather down through the centuries the Holy Spirit webbed this unique charism of Divine Active, Inclusive Love into the hearts of thousands of women and men.  

God calls each of us, with our unique personalities, gifts, and vocations to incarnate God’s great love in the multiplicity of our relationships. Every kind word and act of love, every effort toward reconciliation, each time we seek to understand another ‘s view and accept someone’s difference, every dream envisioned and creative effort to alleviate the suffering of others, weaves another thread into Her pattern.  

Collectively, we Sisters of Saint Joseph and Associates gathered to seek Divine Spirit’s movement in us at this time in history.  We sorted out, through discernment, God’s call to us into the future. Our time together in Chapter, Associate’s Consultation Meeting, drew us deeper and closer to one another.   

As we encounter the realities of our global community today, and as we learn contemporary Theological, scientific, and psychological research, it is astounding to note the relevance and necessity of the vision and grace given to Jean Pierre Medaille, Jean Fontbonne, and our founding sisters over three and a half centuries ago. Our world hungers for connection, communion, and compassion.

With Divine Spirit, lets draw forth what lies within us, God’s great gift of Unioning Love. Then, fully conscious of who we are, and of what we’ve been given, let us move boldly into the future creatively weaving the silk of active inclusive love into the wounds of our world." 
Eucharistic Celebration
Saint Joseph Villa
October 15, 2019
At the celebration of the Eucharist at Saint Joseph Villa,  Sister Anna Louise Schuck SSJ reflected: “Our first reading from Isaiah brings us to the Holy Mountain of God. The mountain where God will give a feast and will care for all and comfort all. 

My thoughts and my prayer went to another mountain—the mountain of Le Puy, where God called six wonderful women to come and to heal and to comfort. Who was to know this was to evolve into many, many women who would go to different parts of the world doing this.

Peter tells us to love one another. Though not always easy, your love makes the world filled with love. Sometimes we forget that—my love  can  change the world.

As I look out at you, I see all the wonderful gifts that all of us, all of you, brought to God’s world: teaching, directing, managing, nursing. Rejoice in what you have been able to do for the honor and for the glory of God. And we still have gifts to give! Jesus tells us, I am the Light of the World— and  you  are the light of the world. Your light is in your eyes. Your light is in who you are. You/we are never too old to shine.

As we continue this Liturgy let us rejoice and celebrate and give thanks for all that we have; for all our wonderful sisters before us have given us. This sacred place is filled with the spirit of those who have gone before us. So, let us celebrate and give thanks. And let us look forward to the future that Christ Jesus calls us to.”
"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/