Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph

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Edition No. 60 — December 14, 2017 
SSJ Neighborhood Center
Camden, New Jersey
The SSJ Neighborhood Center has begun the work of accessing the needs of those in the Cramer Hill neighborhood of Camden and collaborating with community partners on preliminary projects to make the center a reality. 

Thanksgiving allowed the opportunity for Center staff to work with volunteers from Christus Lutheran Church’s Food Pantry to pack and distribute meals with all the fixings to neighborhood families in need. 
Pictured below: Mary Berryman SSJ gathers packages; Center staff and parish volunteers, along with Pastor Jesse Brown, pause for a picture.
Answering the call to share our SSJ Spirituality and to offer opportunities for spiritual growth, the Center started a weekly neighborhood prayer group. Open to all, the group helps to build community through faith sharing around scripture and allows for the opportunity to pray for the special intentions of participants, the neighborhood and our world. 
Pictured below: A sampling of the groups that have gathered for prayer.
With the start of Advent, Sisters have also taken part in collaboration with local youth to explore the meaning of the Advent season and make Advent wreaths so that they and their families can prayerfully prepare for Christmas. 
Pictured below: Making advent wreaths out of salt dough. 
The Center has also begun to partner with groups willing to offer service toward the preliminary renovations of the physical building. Volunteers from Christ Our Light Parish Community helped to clear debris outside Christus House, creating a beautiful backyard for the house. Students from Lancaster Catholic High School working with DeSales Service Works helped to clean the Center’s lower hall in preparation for the Chestnut Hill College Men’s Lacrosse Team, who painted the hall in its entirety. 
Pictured below: Group photos of each group; action shots of volunteers.
Meanwhile, in preparation for further work on the interior of the Center, outdoor repairs and the laying of new sidewalks were completed by A-1 Contractors. These repairs have helped to provide a safe environment in the neighborhood and will allow for work on the interior of the Center to proceed as plans are finalized. 
Pictured below: Sidewalk repairs
Photos courtesy Colleen Gibson SSJ
A Surprise Visit
Sister Ruth Eisenhauer SSJ
Happy 90 th Birthday
December 5, 2017
Sister Ruth Eisenhauer SSJ celebrated her 90 th birthday on December 5, 2017, at Saint Joseph Villa. The party actually began on Saturday, December 2nd when she celebrated with her family—complete with a Mummer’s Band!

Sister Ruth’s former student and long-time friend, Lawrence Biscontini, could not make the celebration on December 2nd, and so, in true Lawrence fashion he planned something just as special.

On December 5, 2017, Lawrence traveled from New York City, with his beloved dog, Biscuit, and surprised Sister Ruth with flowers, gifts and her favorite candy, Hershey kisses.

Sister Ruth taught Lawrence in the eighth grade at Saint Mary School in Lebanon, PA. More than 40 years later, they are still dear friends. His SSJ friends also include residents Sisters Agnes Leona Arnold and Helen Steinmetz who were present for the surprise visit.

Sister Ruth was surprised and delighted to see Lawrence. After all these years, she is proud and inspired by the man he has become. She recalls, “As a boy he was enthusiastic and a gifted student. He was always so thoughtful and generous. And that is true today. He always seems to find those in need and reach out to them. I am so grateful to him for his presence in my life.”
Pictured from left: Agnes Leona Arnold SSJ, Helen Steinmetz SSJ, Lawrence Biscontini
and Ruth Eisenhauer SSJ.
Click to view Sister Ruth's Birthday Surprise
National Religious Vocation Conference
Delaware Valley Region
Telling Our Stories
December 6, 2017
The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) Delaware Valley Region sponsored a hands-on workshop at Mount Saint Joseph Convent Auditorium on December 6, 2017. The presenter was Cynthia Krohn, Marketing Communications Manager for Christian Brothers Services in Chicago, Illinois.

Vocation Directors, Communicators, Leadership and members of approximately 11 congregations from New Jersey and Pennsylvania attended the workshop entitled, Telling Our Stories .

The workshop was designed to help anyone involved in congregational communications. Cynthia engaged the group to reflect on the language used and the story of each one’s congregation (ministry, mission, or school) and how to share that effectively.

“As vocation directors, we share the mission and charism of our congregations to a wide and varied audience,” says Sister Celeste Mokrzycki SSJ, Co-director of Vocations for the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Philadelphia, and Co-coordinator of the Delaware Valley Member Area. “Sometimes we use religious jargon that is not easily understood or effective. Cynthia helped us to refine our key messages, so that our story would be appealing and touch the hearts of others.”
Pictured from left: Celeste Mokrzycki SSJ and Cynthia Krohn
Our Lady of Mercy Regional School
Children’s Christmas Choir
Saint Joseph Villa
December 7, 2017
On Tuesday, December 7, 2017, sisters, residents and staff gathered in the Villa Auditorium for an annual treat — a performance by the Children’s Christmas Choir from Our Lady of Mercy Regional School in Maple Glen, PA.

After a warm welcome from Sister Fran Hart SSJ , Mrs. Laura Demkovitz, music teacher, introduced the students. “Our students are from Our Lady of Mercy Regional School in Maple Glen, PA, and they range from grade three through grade seven. Mrs. Morano will accompany us on the flute. We would like to begin with two songs you can sing along with us: O Christmas Tree and Jingle Bells.

The students performed for about 45 minutes singing favorites such as Blue Christmas , A Child is Born to Us , Silent Night , O Holy Night and Joy to the World . Also in their repertoire was a song in Spanish and a Byzantine Hymn.

Their voices were absolutely angelic and their stage presence delightful. The children truly brought the Christmas Spirit to everyone gathered.
Sister Maria Raphaela Patrone SSJ joins in with a little conducting of her own!
A Very Special Visitor
Saint Joseph Villa
December 9, 2017
Kate Rock shared some special memories she captured at the Christmas Celebration at Saint Joseph Villa on Saturday, December 9 th .

Kate said, “It would not have been complete without the Real Santa whom we have grown to know and love. My grandmother, Catherine MacFarland, (sister of Joan Alminde SSJ ), has spent the last 11 years at Saint Joseph Villa. Thank you so much for your continued support and love of our loved ones! “
Catherine MacFarland and Santa
Photos courtesy Kate Rock
"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 | |