Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph

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Edition No. 42  May 24, 2017 
Seniors Make A Difference
Human Trafficking
Sister Kathleen Coll SSJ
By Eileen Dorothy Maguire SSJ
On May 11, 2017 Seniors Make a Difference gathered thirty sisters, associates and friends and welcomed guest speaker, Sister Kathleen Coll SSJ, Executive Director of Dawn’s Place, to continue the discussion on Human Trafficking that was introduced by Sister Colleen Dauerbach SSJ and Sister Eileen Dorothy Maguire SSJ in March. After this first presentation on the many facets of trafficking, it was clear the group needed a more in-depth presentation on this topic. This horrific oppression of people, known as a modern day form of slavery, ranks as the second largest criminal industry in the world. The consensus was to invite Sister Kathleen, one of the four founders of Dawn’s Place, who has an excellent background on human trafficking and its impact on a global scale.

Sister shared her experiences at Dawn’s Place: the founding, purpose, and goals of this special home for women seeking healing and a fresh start with their life. The group learned that the three story, nine bedroom house, set in a residential area of Philadelphia, was donated in 2007 by the Good Shepherd Sisters, which just happened to coincide with a search for a local house to meet the needs of trafficked women. Literally and figuratively, this opened the door to providing a safe place, where women could find rest, peace, security, comfort and healing from the atrocities they had experienced. What sets Dawn’s Place apart from other programs in the U.S. is its tending to the needs of foreign and domestically trafficked, prostituted and pimped women.

Sister Kathleen shared a video, Dawn’s Place: Taking on the World’s Oldest Oppression, which shows first-hand the true experiences of American women as victims of coercion and crimes of abuse, but also mentions solutions addressing the problem, such as Dawn’s Place. We were also reminded that human trafficking is often prevalent in the sex industry as well as in the domestic help sector, sweatshop factories, cleaning jobs, on construction sites, farms and in restaurants.

Dawn’s Place includes a three-prong mission: support women trafficked or sexed; make the public aware of the victims of this trauma and their plight; and advocate for a change in policy.

As a result of the care and guidance shared by those ministering at Dawn’s Place, many women have changed their lives because of educational opportunities that helped them find employment, and a few women became staff members who are now equipped to support and assist their peers.

The group left the meeting grateful to Sister Kathleen for all that she had shared, which made them eager to become advocates for addressing human trafficking issues, and determined to share the good news of Dawn’s Place with all those they know.
Photos courtesy Eileen Dorothy Maguire SSJ
Youngest Members Gather
Mount Saint Joseph Convent Auditorium
May 20, 2017
By Pat Mensing SSJ
15 members of the Youngest 10% of the Congregation met in the Mount Saint Joseph Convent Auditorium on Saturday, May 20, 2017, for a day of reflection, prayer, and the opportunity to grow in relationship with one another.

This day was in response to a survey sent out to this cohort of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia, which indicated that this group wished to know each other better, pray together, and to be able to share their thoughts and dreams about how we envision ourselves moving forward into the future, along with the Congregation as a whole. The core committee, which consists of Sisters Jackie Griffith , Donna Jo Loeper , Maureen MacElderry, Cathie McGowan , Pat Mensing and Celeste Mokrzycki worked on the planning of the day, and asked Rita Woehlcke SSJ to give input for prayer and reflection.

Rita’s morning input revolved around the characteristics of Jesus’ first disciples and the hopes and dreams of the pair on The Road to Emmaus . After personal prayer around these topics, the sisters shared with the other members at their small tables. Conversation continued with each other over lunch in the convent dining room before another presentation from Rita entitled, Living the Mystery : Accepting the invitation to Conversion . This input was followed by another period of prayer and small table sharing.

The day ended with a large group sharing around membership in the cohort, the desire to surface the deep questions needed to be unpacked as we as a whole move toward the next Chapter, and blessing those present who would be leaving on the trip to LePuy.
Donna noted that in addition to the 15 sisters who attended, there were still more who expressed a desire to come but were unable to do so because of prior commitments. A weekend event is planned for the group at the St. Raphaela Center in Haverford September 22-24.
Photos courtesy Pat Mensing SSJ
Celebration to Gather the Graces
Saint Joseph Villa — May 20, 2017
138 Years of Service in Bayonne, New Jersey
Sisters who entered from Bayonne, New Jersey, or who were missioned there were invited to a celebration to Gather the Graces at the 4 pm Liturgy at Saint Joseph Villa on Saturday, May 20, 2017, followed by Supper.  

Sister Anne Myers SSJ warmly greeted all those assembled in the chapel. “Today, in a special way, we remember and celebrate the presence of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Bayonne, New Jersey from 1879-2017. We celebrate a long and graced relationship with the people and with one another
— all united in God. It is a place where our mission was truly alive! We honor this living legacy with a joy that is laced with a tinge of sadness in our hearts as we end an era.

Thank you to all who are here today, especially our sisters who are part of the 119 vocations from Bayonne or the 900 sisters who were missioned there. Thank you to our celebrant, Reverend Anthony Azzarto, SJ, friend of our Bayonne sisters.

The beautiful flowering dipladenia plant in front of the altar is being nourished by authentic soil from Bayonne. In the next few days, it will be planted here on the grounds of Saint Joseph Villa, marked with a commemorative plaque, where it will grow and flourish — a sign of the new life that continues to blossom through our Bayonne relationships, including Sister Kay Coll’s ESL program. May this plant ever symbolize the many connections cultivated in Bayonne that attest to our mission of unity, and are rich in faith, trust, joy and God’s great love. May these relationships remain alive in the garden of our hearts, and continue to blossom with new life!”

In her beautiful reflection after communion, Sister Patricia Kelly SSJ spoke in the name of the Bayonne Bridge. “I am the Bayonne Bridge — and a steadfast witness of your life and mission. Your Bayonne presence is a touchstone in your own history, and in the history of the city of Bayonne: a presence in four convents, three elementary schools, and a high school that you cherished as your own, all within a peninsula of 5.8 square miles! You sent forth over 100 generous and spirited women and men to the SSJs, to other orders of consecrated life and to the priesthood.

Your Bayonne graces remain tangible in the lives of those present here today, and in all the world: The SSJ mission, a bridge in itself, to education, spirituality, employment, music, drama, committed lives, partners in mission, friendship — lives in those gathered here and is passed on by those gathered here, as well as by countless others. And you’ve rejoiced in the good news that the economic development of families will continue through education and caring on the school and convent property of your former Holy Family Academy. 

Finally, dear Sisters, some of you know, that I, the Bayonne Bridge, was literally raised up this year. So, too, are you raised up, always, at the Eucharistic table that you just shared.

I shall remain here over the Kill Van Kull, but you are walking through life with the Risen Jesus, the eternal bridge, who has enabled your transcendence to whatever is future. With God’s spirit, with your bridge of charism and mission, and its sacred arch, the Communion of Saints of your Sisters—you shall, each day and always, ‘make a new beginning in your little institute.’ (#26)

Praise be to you, my Sisters, and thank you from Bayonne.”
Development Office
Hosts Open House for Benefactors
May 21, 2017
By Kathleen Pales SSJ
In gratitude for our donors’ generosity, the Development Office welcomed our supporters from the Glenside area to an Open House at the sisters’ residence in Saint Luke Parish on Sunday, May 21, 2017, after the 9:30 AM Mass. Many gathered for conversation, coffee, pastry and a tour of the sisters’ house.

“It’s good to be able to welcome these generous benefactors into our home and let them know how much they mean to us,” said Sister Kathleen Pales SSJ , Development Director. 

“I’m grateful, too, to the sisters who live in Saint Luke Parish for extending hospitality to our donors and helping us make this event so successful,” noted Nicole Schlein, Events Coordinator.
Pictured from left: Rose Topper and
Kathleen Moriarty SSJ    
Pictured from left: Joe Broderick,
Sandy Kessler SSJ and Pat Broderick 
Photos courtesy Kathleen Pales SSJ
Pictured from left: Rose Topper,
Marjorie Keenan SSJ and Jane Turk    
Pictured from left: John Rilling, Maureen Rilling and Kathleen Duffy SSJ 
"Our spirituality is a basic gospel call to love of God and neighbor. It is characterized by a deep and vital relationship with the persons of the Blessed Trinity and with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as a human community of love. "
                                                                                — SSJ Constitutions #8

Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | |