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Edition No. 123 — April 30, 2020 
Thinking Outside the Box:
Saint Joseph Villa Jubilee Celebration During the COVID-19 Pandemic                                 
Although it was a very different celebration than we could have imagined, Saturday, April 25 th  was a day of  joy and  inspiration. Father Terry Odien, the members of the General Council and several Villa staff members gathered in the Chapel as the Jubilee Liturgy was live streamed throughout the Villa. We prayed in thanksgiving for 18 Sisters of Saint Joseph celebrating 85, 80, 75 and 60 years of vowed commitment and faithful love as Sisters of Saint Joseph.
S. Marie Cecile Iwetz

S. Ignatia Maria Smith

S. Kathleen Bernadette Moss
S. Elizabeth Anne Kerridge
S. Catherine Reimer
S. Agnes Leona Arnold
S. Mary Dolores Sneeringer
S. Anne B. Towey
S. Mary Patricia Watson
S. Saint Urban O’Donnell

S. Eleanor McNichol
S. Alma Rose Schlosser
S. Therese Michele Destefano
S. Joan Clare Royal
S. Joseph Andre Intrieri
S. Jeanne Giunco
S. Mary William Herron
S. Nora Fox
Congregational President,  Sister Maureen G. Erdlen SSJ  warmly welcomed everyone. “Sisters believe it or not: THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE! And we are rejoicing.

We rejoice in the mystery, the grace, and the challenge of the call our loving God has placed in each of our hearts—and especially in the hearts of our 18 Jubilarians who celebrate a total 1,245 years of vowed commitment. 

This is certainly not the celebration we had planned. I do believe, though, that many of us can look back over our lives and recall times which we could not have imagined, never planned for, and maybe even thought we could not survive. And in those times, we were most dependent on our faithful God—to guide us, to sustain and nourish us, to hold us up—even if it did not always feel that God was near.

Our Constitutions say,  In our day we recognize with particular clarity the miseries of people throughout the world on both the local and global level.  That has new meaning for us today as we recognize our own vulnerability and are united with all those suffering. As we gather we hold in our hearts all the sick, grieving families, our own families, the unemployed, the lonely, those who continue to serve while risking their own health and all of our dedicated staff here at the Villa.

To our Jubilarians we say: we will soon celebrate you in the way which you deserve! We are deeply grateful for your 1,245 years of life as Sisters of Saint Joseph, the lives you have touched and the passion and energy with which you have lived our Mission. Let us rejoice in God’s love and your faithful response!”
Father Terry Odien thanked the Jubilarians for their incredible generosity. “As Christians we are people of the story. And as we gather today, we thank God for you our Jubilarians and the story of your lives. All those years ago, you joined your life, your story, to the story of Jesus. You responded to a call all those years ago. It only took a few seconds, or perhaps a few minutes, to utter your religious vows but it has been a lifetime of living out those vows. 

Thank you dear Sister Jubilarians—happy Jubilee. We all long for the day when we are not physically distant from one another and we can all give you a great big hug. Now feel our virtual hug for each and every one of you that you so deserve. We love you and we give you thanks for your overwhelming response to God’s invitation to arise my Beloved and come. You are truly God’s beloved.”
Saint Joseph Villa
Pastoral Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sister Mary Skopal SSJ , Pastoral Care Director shares some of the many wonderful efforts the Staff has been providing for the Sisters at the Villa as they are quarantined during this unprecedented time. “During the Pandemic, Pastoral Care has been offering assistance in many areas as the needs arise. The prayer experiences are offered and the heart of Pastoral Care continues to be the listening that is available to staff and residents in this challenging time.”
Some of the needs have been:

  •     Delivering food trays
  •     Collecting and distributing the mail
  •      Providing ZOOM or Facetime calls with residents to help residents connect with      friends, family, or other residents.
  •      Each Pastoral Care Representative is working on his/her floor to provide one-to-      one visits and a listening presence to give residents a chance to talk about the      effects of the isolation and self-distancing and to provide encouragement and      support.
  •      A form is being provided for residents to submit prayer requests to be posted on      Channel 2 so the community can pray with and for them.
  •      We have created some (outstanding) prayer services for special occasions      which are provided on TV for all residents. During Holy Week, on Monday,      Tuesday and Wednesday, Tenebrae was provided. We got very positive      feedback. 
  •      Mass is livestreamed every morning at 10:30. 
  •      Prayer in the Chapel is provided by someone from the department at 9AM.
  •      Since no resident is allowed out of his/her room, there are many requests that      are met to provide supplies, books—whatever someone requests! Supporting      staff who are in need of “a listening ear “or TLC. 
  •      Some sisters who are finding the confinement especially hard are read to each      day and/or taken for a walk to the porch on their floor. PC is helping staff to      create projects in a constant effort to keep residents involved in activities as far      as possible.
  •      During this time, some staff are coping with everything here AND their personal      problems so PC is sometimes approached to assist.  
Sisters Share How They Are Living and Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sister Lisa Breslin SSJ — Philadelphia, PA
Saint Mary's Residence in Philadelphia is a former convent. Under the auspices of Catholic Social Services Division of Housing and Homelessness, we house 38 low-income elderly women. Because of COVID-19, the residents are now confined to their rooms. We prepare and deliver three meals a day, clean and disinfect the building, including communal bathrooms and showers. I am the assistant director and I do whatever needs to be done... ready for any good work ! Prayers are greatly appreciated
Sister Anne Francine Mead SSJ — Flourtown, PA
I spend my day in my bedroom at our Villa. I have my meals, snacks, tender-loving care, my prayers and mass on TV. This is what I looked like for therapy until I began wearing my MASK! I love our staff, our administrators and our therapists. We are so blessed! God bless our Villa.
Sister Julie Fertsch SSJ — Los Angeles, California

I've been working at the LA Food Bank two or three times a week, as well as donating platelets every other week!

On Sunday, 24 cars visited Carondelet Center to bring some life and smiles to the sisters living there!
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"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 | |