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Edition No. 98 — June 13, 2019 
Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Center
Camden, New Jersey
Dedication & Blessing 
June 1, 2019
By Colleen Gibson SSJ
“This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice!” Sister Bonnie McMenamin declared as the sun shined and people from near and far gathered to celebrate and experience the new Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Center in Camden, New Jersey. And what a glorious day it was!

The afternoon of June 1, 2019 marked a monumental step in the progress of the Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Center as sisters, associates, neighbors, benefactors, and friends gathered to officially dedicate and bless the SSJ Neighborhood Center in the Cramer Hill section of Camden. After years of planning and preparation and months of renovations, the Center opened its doors to those who have been present and engaged throughout the establishment of this new ministry.

The day’s festivities began with words of gratitude from Sister Anne Myers, Congregational President, as she welcomed the crowd, spoke of the mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph alive in the Neighborhood Center, and thanked the many people who brought the project to this moment in time. “It is so wonderful that we could all be here for this great celebration,” Sister Anne shared as she thanked Sisters Bonnie McMenamin, Colleen Gibson, and Mary Berryman, who are missioned at the center, as well as Sister Ron Roche who has coordinated the Center’s English classes over the last year. Thanks was also given to the faith community at Christus Lutheran Church, which owns the former preschool building the Neighborhood Center has given new life to, as well as the countless SSJ Associates, volunteers, workers, and neighbors who have brought the center to fruition. “We look forward to many, many years of being here in this neighborhood and working together on behalf of people in need.” Sister Anne happily declared. 
 
The Neighborhood Center adds to the historic presence of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in the city of Camden, where the congregation has served since 1874 and currently serves in a variety of ministries including the Catholic Partnership Schools and Guadalupe Family Services. Sister Regina Bell, Council Liaison for Ministry, spoke to this legacy and the long road that lead to the foundation of the Neighborhood Center. Stemming from the directives of the 2014 General Chapter, a committee to identify a site and develop a process for needs assessment in the city was formed in January 2016.  When the current site was selected the Congregation found a faith community at Christus that was warm and welcoming.

“They embraced us from the very beginning,” Sister Regina said, “They were welcoming, open to us and really wanted us to come.”  From those beginnings and with much hard work, the Center developed and, with joy, Sister Regina exclaimed, “Today we celebrate the ministry of the Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Center that is now underway and ready for any good work!” 

After a brief ceremony and prayer of blessing, led by the Neighborhood Center’s director, Sister Bonnie, Pastor Jesse Brown sprinkled the building with holy water and those in attendance stretched out their hands to bless the space as the center’s mission statement was read. Following this blessing, a specially selected group of neighbors, associates and sisters cut the ribbon on the space and welcomed all in attendance to bless themselves with holy water and to explore the newly renovated space, as well as the Center’s community garden and food pantry.

Inside the Center, a spirit of gratitude and joy permeated the space. “What a wonderful gathering space and blessed community!” one benefactor remarked. “I can’t stop smiling,” said another, “I’m just so proud and amazed by this great undertaking!”

Furnished with donated furniture and artwork and featuring stained glass from the renovations of the Mount Saint Joseph Convent Chapel, the Neighborhood Center merges history and mission as it undertakes this new ministry in Cramer Hill. With pictures of the renovation scattered throughout the space, as well as photos of people involved in the project, the space was filled with the gift of community and the zeal of new beginnings. “We’ve found the face of Jesus in each one of the people we’ve encountered,” Sister Bonnie remarked as she greeted those present, “And we are so very grateful!” 

Gratitude is a gift and as this new ministry takes form and continues to foster relationships, the SSJ Neighborhood Center will undoubtedly become an even greater gift to the community in Cramer Hill, Camden, and beyond.
Pictured from left: Sisters Mary Berryman, Bonnie McMenamin and Colleen Gibson
Photos courtesy Colleen Gibson
Commissioning Ceremony
Mrs. Katrina Wise, Executive Director
Saint Joseph Villa
June 7, 2019
We extend a warm welcome to Mrs. Katrina Wise, the new Executive Director of Saint Joseph Villa.

Katrina Wise was raised in Chestnut Hill where she attended Our Mother of Consolation Grade School and Philadelphia High School for Girls. She graduated from Gwynedd Mercy College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a focus on Health Care Administration. She has an MBA from DeSales University. She is a licensed nursing home administrator. 

Katrina is recognized in the industry as an advocate for culture change and employee engagement. She has had great success in developing the household model where resident directed care is of the utmost importance. She also has a commitment to the employees she works with to ensure they are treated with the respect and dignity. She is seen as an employee engagement expert and loves knowing the staff she works with. In each organization she has worked, she was charged with improving the overall culture of the organizations and has been very successful, including having received Top Work Place honors several years. Most recently, she was honored to receive the Reverend Lawrence M. Reese award at Paul’s Run, which is presented to one staff member that exemplifies devotion, dedication, loyalty and selflessness in the performance of their service to residents and staff.

Katrina currently is on the Board of Director’s for Leading Age PA and was the past treasurer for Leading Age SEPA Chapter. She also was on Governor Wolf’s transition team for aging. She was a volunteer for the Run for the Hill of It, which supported special needs children and, as time permits, she volunteers at Saint Francis Inn in Kensington to feed the homeless. 

Sister Anne Myers SSJ , Congregational President, welcomed everyone gathered in the Villa Chapel on Friday afternoon to welcome and commission the new Executive Director. “We are so happy that you are with us, Katrina. And we are so grateful to Sister Dorothy who has paved the way for Katrina and Sister Irene who will work closely with her. 

As I thought about Katrina, I couldn’t help but reflect on the Epiphany story! The Three Kings, also known as the  Wise Men, followed the star that led them to Jesus. In a similar way, Katrina, also known as the  Wise Woman,  followed the star in her heart, a light that led her here to us—here to Saint Joseph Villa, where, surely, she will find Jesus in so many ways.
 
We are so grateful that our mission resonates with Katrina’s. She already carries a deep desire to unite people with God and one another. Now let us join in loving, prayerful support of Mrs. Katrina Wise, that God’s own wisdom and peace will guide her.” 

Following the prayer service Katrina was warmly greeted by sisters and staff.

Welcome, Katrina!
Pictured from left: Mrs. Katrina Wise, Dorothy Apprich SSJ and Anne Myers SSJ
Saint Joseph Villa
June 7, 2019
Friday, June 7 th , was National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Our sisters at Saint Joseph Villa celebrated with a special treat from Mr. Softee!
"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/