Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph

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Edition No. 121 — April 9, 2020 
A Prayer by Mary Catherine Walton SSJ
Jesus was butchered at the hands of anger, jealousy, and fear.
He entered the deep sleep of stilled life.
But, Death could not hold him captive in a tomb.
He was there in darkness, in quiet, but he was not alone.
Love stirred around him as angels watched.
His Father leaned over him, breathed over him,
and kissed him with the life of Resurrection.
He stood, embraced his Father, 
and came back to be with us saying:
“PEACE be with you.”

Let us receive his peace as we pray for healing of the virus
that has stilled our world. May Peace be with us.
May we embrace that peace as we pray for one another and our world.
An Invitation to Turn from Anxiety to Hope
By Ellie Stratton, MDiv,
SSJ Associate in Mission

The Pennsylvania Governor’s order to stay at home has given me the unexpected opportunity to do more reading. Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity by Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I., has spoken a consoling message to me during these uncertain times in which we find ourselves. In a chapter on simplifying our spiritual vocabulary, he proposes ten practices that invite the reader to “a higher place, a deeper maturity and a more intimate relationship with God and one another (245). ” While all the invitations are wise, the tenth one is most meaningful to me right now. Rolheiser encourages his readers to “stand where you are supposed to be standing and let God provide the rest (273).”

He uses a personal story to explain his advice. One of his cousins died in an industrial accident when a cable broke while he was loading railway cars at a grain elevator in western Canada. As tragic as his death was at an early age, his last days had been filled with “warm touches”—a lunchtime visit with his aging mother, a ball game with his younger brother, and peaceful relationships with everyone he knew. Loading grain elevators was his job and when the cable snapped and killed him, he was standing where he was supposed to be standing at that moment, faithfully at his post. Rolheiser says, “ Ultimately, that is all we can try to assure for ourselves, to be standing where we are supposed to be standing, in warmth, love, duty and enjoyment (275).”

Ronald Rolheiser’s counsel fell on me like a kind and gentle blessing. First of all, because it is simple. The place where we are standing (or sitting) right now is the only place we can be. We are standing in a unique moment of modern history that is calling forth from us solidarity with fellow human beings. Secondly, his words reassured me because they relieved me of any guessing that there might be someplace else I would rather be or should be. Right now, “my post” is southeastern Pennsylvania under lockdown with millions of other men and women doing the same. Finally, Rolheiser’s words are profoundly grounded in trust. “Stand where you are supposed to be standing and let God provide the rest.” Our God is in relationship with us. We are not alone. We surely are vulnerable human beings, AND we are created, loved, and provided for by our tender God.

The confident words of faith written by Ronald Rolheiser invite me once again to turn from anxiety to hope and to remember the firm foundation on which I stand — God’s everlasting love—and to trust it. God is with us. God loves us. God is for us. What a blessing to be reminded of that truth in these times!
Norwood—Fontbonne Academy
Stations of the Cross
April 9, 2020
Ryan Killeen, Ed.D.

Holy Week at NFA would not be complete without our annual tradition of the Stations of the Cross. Although a different presentation than in past years, our reverence remains for this, the holiest week of the year, in which we remember the sacrifice of Jesus in his last days on Earth.

Our sixth grade students, who in previous years would perform the beautiful Shadow Stations, have created a video.

Sixth grade teacher Ms. Ally Monteiro has provided directions below for completing a Stations of the Cross Prayer Box,  filled with tangible items representing each station, if you choose to create one. This can be especially beneficial when bringing younger children into prayer and conversation around Stations. Below you will find the order of the Stations of the Cross along with the object that can be placed inside your Prayer Box.
Station 1 – Jesus is condemned to death
Object: Piece of string representing the binding of Jesus’ hands
Station 2 – Jesus carries his cross
Object: Popsicle sticks cut down with scissors and glued into a cross shape
Station 3 – Jesus falls the first time.
Object: A band-aid
Station 4 – Jesus meets his mother
Object: A Miraculous Medal, which has Mary on it, or a picture of Mary
Station 5 – Simon helps Jesus carry his cross
Object: A hand shape cut out from paper
Station 6 – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Object: Scrap fabric with Jesus’ face sketched on it
Station 7 – Jesus falls a second time
Object: A band-aid
Station 8 – Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Object: A tissue to dry their tears
Station 9 – Jesus falls a third time
Object: A band-aid
Station 10 – Jesus is stripped of his garments
Object: A square piece of felt or fabric representing Jesus’ clothes, with a string tied around it
Station 11 – Jesus is nailed to the cross
Object: A nail
Station 12 – Jesus dies on the cross
Object: A small crucifix, or rosary
Station 13 – Jesus is taken down from the cross
Object: A picture of Michelangelo’s Pieta
Station 14 – Jesus is buried
Object: A rock to represent the sealing of the tomb
CLICK HERE to view the video
Mount Saint Joseph Academy
Virtual Stations of the Cross
Lent 2020
Mount Saint Joseph Academy hosted a virtual Stations of the Cross for students and colleagues. 

They extend to all their prayers during Holy Week and wish everyone  a peaceful Easter.
CLICK HERE to view the video
The Welcome Center
Chalk Talk
March 2020
Pat Madden SSJ

On a bright sunny Saturday in March, the Welcome Center Staff and friends asked passersby to stop and write positive messages on the pavement during this time of fear and pain. Some people said  Yes  right away. Others said  No  but returned later to scribble some ‘chalk talk’ on the sidewalk. Some words were in English and others in Spanish. As people passed by our house we could see them stop and read the words that were written in colored chalk. These messages were written to inspire and lift up our neighbors’ spirits. It helped us at the Welcome Center too! Write on!
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Sister Carol Jean Vale SSJ has shared a "daily word" with the College community. The reflections can be found on Chestnut Hill College's Facebook page.
The College's Office of Mission and Ministry has also been very active during this Lenten season on their Instagram and Facebook pages . The Office recently shared a "Prayer for This Time" adapted from Larry Duffy, Bishop Clogher, Northern Ireland, s poken from the hearts of member from the College community.
CLICK HERE to view the video
Sister Rita Woehlcke SSJ
Holy Week Reflections
Click here to view S. Rita's Holy Thursday Reflection
Click here to view S. Rita's Good Friday Reflection
Click here to view S. Rita's Holy Saturday Reflection
"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 | |