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Edition No. 21   October 19, 2016  
Sharing the Joy of Religious Life
2016 Fall Assembly
Saint Joseph Villa — October 10, 2016
Sister Kathleen Anderson SSJ welcomed the sisters at Saint Joseph Villa, on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, as they gathered in the auditorium to participate in the 2016 Fall Assembly.

Sister Teresa Shaw SSJ, a member of the General Council, shared with the sisters the purpose of the Fall Assembly. “We hope to deepen the conversation about our SSJ Spirituality, to reflect on what it means to witness to the joy of religious life and to explore scenarios regarding a place for SSJ Ministry of Spirituality."

At the conclusion of the Assembly,  Sister Anne Myers SSJ, Congregational President, reflected on the importance and significance of this gathering: “We moved through this afternoon in a contemplative mode. We shared our thoughts about place — a place for spirituality and what God may be inviting us to consider in all of this. As we end this time together, let us pause in reverent gratitude, for that uniquely personal place within each of us, made holy by Jesus’ invitation, ‘Make your home in Me as I make Mine in you.’ (John 15:4) That’s our place, our home.

Recently, I heard a priest paraphrase a quote of the medieval mystic, Mechthild of Magdeburg: ‘A fish in water cannot drown because she is in her element. A bird in the air cannot fall from the sky because he is in his element. And a human being — when is she in her element? The person is in her element when she is loved.’ A Sister of Saint Joseph is in her element when she lives from that deep place — her home in God, where she is deeply loved.

As we participate in prayerful conversation from that individual place, my home in the Heart of God, God’s Home becomes more and more expansive; becoming our home in the Heart of God, the union of one another and ourselves — with and in God. Then we are truly in our element as a Congregation.

Author, Patricia Vinje, says of Saint Catherine of Siena, that her spirit was ‘wrapped in God and knit to the world.’ Although she lived well before our Congregation existed, she has taught me about contemplation and courageous action  and total double union—in her love of God and love of God through neighbor.
Sisters, we know our contemplation and spirituality are not for ourselves alone, they are for the world. As we live and move from that sacred place we call home, the Heart of God within our hearts, may it be said of us, as well, that we are women ‘wrapped in God and knit to the world.’ "
Celebrating Founders Day
Mount Saint Joseph Convent
October 14, 2016

The Motherhouse Chapel was filled on Friday, October 14, 2016, as Sisters, Associates, Joseph Workers and friends came together to celebrate Founders Day. Reverend Jack Timlin, C.M., a good friend of the SSJ’s, celebrated the special Liturgy.

Three hundred and sixty-six years ago, on October 15,1650, Bishop Henri de Maupas of Le Puy, France, received six young women — the first Sisters of Saint Joseph — who were ‘drawn by a desire to see with the eyes of God, to love inclusively…without limits.’

In her welcoming remarks, Sister Anne Myers SSJ recalled this significant moment in the history of the Congregation. “Our first six sisters and Father Jean-Pierre Médaille, SJ envisioned a new kind of religious life; our sisters were to be contemplatives in action, who were deeply transformed by the grace of God in prayer and the grace of God in their dear neighbor — in need. Their light was a unifying presence in a dark world. We rejoice that this mission of unity has been passed on to us, that we, too, may be light and hope and unifying love in our world today.”

In her reflection at Liturgy, Sister Rita Woehlcke SSJ spoke of these first six sisters and Father Médaille SJ: “As I looked at the readings for today, I began thinking of the original women and Father Médaille. I thought of the convergence of his preaching with all that was already aching in their hearts. For me, the image was fire — a mutual  kindling — that happens when love happens. These women would have heard him speak the gospel in a heartfelt way, informed by his Ignatian manner of prayer.

They would have heard him speak of Jesus, the one who not only spoke but also enacted, enfleshed the inclusive love we hear about in today’s readings. They would have heard God’s desires in Father Médaille's earnest invitation to say, ‘yes,’ to their call to be great in love and to follow Jesus in the care of the dear neighbor. The dear neighbor in Le Puy streets begged for a response from their hearts, broken by the ravages of war and plague, bodies that knew the pangs of hunger and minds inspired with thoughts of banding together to do what Jesus would do. In them, God’s Spirit was doing a new thing – beyond the conventions of French society and ecclesiastical imagination.

I sat with the question. How can we, sisters, associates, Partners in Mission, Joseph Workers and members of the 1650 society, be friends, together, friends of Earth and all the dear neighbors?

We can listen to today’s Isaiah reading, as an invitation — not an expectation or command – an invitation. Come be one with Me and remove the chains of injustice. Come, be one with Me, in relieving every burdensome yoke. Come be one with Me, in dispelling oppression, finger-pointing and malicious rumors. Give yourself, not your bread or your money — yourself — to the hungry and afflicted.

The Spirit says, you, individually, you, this gathered body, are all God has and exactly who God wants for this moment. Be the one thing you can be, the one God dreamed. Be that together. Strengthen one another. Set the shared intention now to do God’s will as God wills.’

If you are married, widowed, divorced, single, a sister — if you are finding your way to life’s call — let what you love be what you do. Let Love be who you are. Let Love, love through you.”

Let us call each other to a renewed commitment to live the mission of the Congregation of the Great Love of God. May we have the courage and vision, the wisdom and deep love of those on whose shoulders we stand.

115th Annual
Hallahan Communion Breakfast
October 16, 2016

The 115th Annual Hallahan Communion Breakfast was held at the Courtyard Marriott on Philadelphia City Avenue on Sunday, October 16, 2016 . Sister Jeannette Daily SSJ , a graduate of the Class of 1961, was the guest speaker.  

Jeannette shared that she was very honored to be asked to speak at the breakfast. “For me, this is a day to share memories of days gone by and some recent stories in our lives. Our stories are a great reminder to ourselves of how God has traveled with us throughout our lives, even when we have doubted. And, when God wants something to happen in our lives — there is no running away.”  

Jeannette spoke of the significance of a recent retreat experience and of her involvement with a group called Sandy Hook Promise . She was attracted to this group because it focused on children, allowing and encouraging them to change the world.  

In closing, Jeannette invited everyone to remember one thing: “This God of ours keeps on loving us to pieces each and every moment of our lives, through thick and thin, unconditionally through it all!”

"As we desire to walk with Jesus in poverty, we make the gift of our person, our time, our talents, our possessions, in union with him for others in love. We can thus further our mission of unity by sharing fully what we have and what we are with one another and with all persons."
                                                                                             — SSJ Constitutions #74 

Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | |