Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph

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Edition No. 45  June 14, 2017 
A New Feature for E-NEWS
We are including a new feature article in SSJ E-NEWS to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Saint Joseph Villa.

We are calling the feature A Day In the Life . Several times a month we will get to know a sister resident, as she shares about her life at Saint Joseph Villa.

In our first entry, Sister Maria Teresa Griffin SSJ shares about her life at the Villa.
My Word This Year is Joy
Sister Maria Teresa Griffin SSJ

A Day in the Life
Five years ago, Sister Maria Teresa Griffin SSJ was facing a significant decision in her life. Sister Maria explains, “My convent was closing. Aging and cancer had impacted my life and this played an important part in my decision. Where could I go while continuing to contribute to life in community? What were my options?  As Sisters of Saint Joseph, we are so fortunate to have Saint Joseph Villa, such a beautiful home. As I realized this, I knew my prayers were answered and I chose the Villa.

There are many things she loves about living at the Villa: Daily Mass, community, lovely bedroom and bathroom, health care and reading the newspaper as she has her coffee each morning in the dining room. Sister Maria enjoys the birthday celebrations, activities and quiet time to solve crossword puzzles, which she buys at the Dollar Store, and the Jumble from the daily paper.

“If you have company, and it is around dinnertime,” she explains, “you can bring them into dinner as your guest. It is just wonderful to be able to do that and feel at home.

I like to be of help and be part of what is going on and here I can do that. Some people like to be more involved than others — there is no pressure. Physically I cannot do what I used to do. That is a difficult thing for me — diminishment. I cope with that every day as I still continue to give back.

My main activity is collecting clothes for the poor. I helped Sister Margaret Mary McLaughlin SSJ on the fifth floor where I helped sisters clean out, organize their rooms and move in. We would send extra clothes to Impact, The Welcome Center and a Soup Kitchen in West Philly. One day Sister Jean Faustman SSJ gave a talk and told us about Dawn’s Place and I started to send clothes there. Some of the women write letters to me. They are so sweet. One woman wrote, I just got to Dawn’s Place and I had nothing . That is such a joy for me.

I noticed the libraries on each floor needed some organization, so I did that.” Sister Maria is looking forward to using her organizational skills to arrange the books in the new Community Room on the Lobby Floor. She says with excitement, “There are bookcases on either side of the fireplace and I already have been putting books away for those shelves.”

Sister Maria considers writing another apostolate. She explains, “I think it is important to keep in touch. I do a lot of writing. I send a card each month to any of my cousins who are in college, birthday cards to my family and cards to some cousins who are elderly. I still keep in touch monthly with some students I taught. I remember my angel house and send a card every month.”

To any sister considering a move to the villa, Sister Maria says, “My key word for this year is Joy.  I am 89 years old, feel so fortunate and just so happy to be here. So, what are your options? At Saint Joseph Villa we say — Welcome Home!” 
Step Away for a Day
SSJ Earth Center
June 8, 2017
By Mary Elizabeth Clark SSJ
On Thursday, June 8, 2017, a sunny day after many rainy ones, six women and their counselor from Wilmington, DE spent a day with us for Step Away for a Day Program sponsored by the Earth Center. We spent most of the day outdoors in the beauty of sunshine and greenery.

Dr. Dawn Cute, Dr. Fatima, Marie Loonstyn and Rebecca DePasquale, from Shock Fitness, presented Proper Posture’ Reflexology Basics , and simple exercises that help to keep one in balance and wellness. Jimmy Clark presented the living nature of clay and instructed them in the art of pinch potting. The drumming circle was led by Marion Bruce Minick, using an array of drums and musical instruments.

Maryanne Williams and Eleanor Matthews assisted in leading the women around the beautiful grounds of Mount Saint Joseph.

Some remarks from the participants include, “Everything was amazing. I just wish it were longer.” “I didn’t know I had an artist inside of me.”

The participants went home laden with gifts of a flowering plant, Lisa’s Comfort Care bags, two hand made clay mugs or bowls, a cloth napkin and materials to make a card to cheer a cancer patient.

A highlight of the day was enjoying and eating lunch together in the Motherhouse dining room. The women left with grateful hearts.
Faith In New Jersey
Sanctuary Congregation Training
June 9, 2017
On Friday, June 9, 2017, from 10 AM to 12 noon, Richard Morales, a lawyer with the PICO National Network, of which Faith in New Jersey is a member, gave a Training on Sanctuary. Faith in New Jersey includes more than 1,000 member institutions representing one million families in 150 cities and 22 states, as well as a growing international effort; PICO is one of the largest community-based efforts in the United States.

This training is not only for congregations who provide physical shelter but also for those who are willing to be in a network of support to those congregations providing food, financial support, visiting the families, etc. 

The training was held at Gracious Center of Learning and Enrichment Activities in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

The Sisters pictured below attended the training.
Pictured seated, from left: Sharon White SSJ and Marie Albert Hetzel SSJ
Pictured standing, from left: Ron Roche SSJ, Joannie Cassidy SSJ, Eileen McNally SSJ, Nancy Roche SSJ, Peg Boyle SSJ, Donna Minster SSJ, Mary Elizabeth Farrell SSJ and Bernadette McMenamin SSJ
"We model our lives together on the life of the Trinity: by desiring always to respond to the Father's gift of life; by seeking to imitate the Son's humility and self-emptying love; by trying to know and express God's love in our lives through the action of the Holy Spirit. "
                                                                                — SSJ Constitutions #9

Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | |