Latest News from the Sisters of Saint Joseph

SSJ E-NEWS is available for viewing on the SSJ website.

Edition No. 87 —January 18, 2019 
Saint Joseph Villa
Postcard Project
End Detention and Deportation
At the end of December,  Sisters Colleen Dauerbach SSJ and  Cynthia Ludwick SSJ  sponsored a social justice project at Saint Joseph Villa. They invited the sisters to sign a postcard, which would then be sent to President Trump.

The request on the postcard read:

As U.S. citizens we demand:
·       The U.S. government respect the human right to migrant and seek asylum

·       An end to border militarization. Listen to border communities; revitalize, not militarize their communities.

·       An immediate end to the immoral detention and deportation of over 40,000 immigrants
Fly Eagles Fly
Saint Joseph Villa
January 13, 2019
We were ready for the big game! Although disappointed with the outcome, we are proud of our Eagles and forever fans!
We were delightfully surprised by a visit from our own Chestnut Hill College mascot, Big Griff!
Click here to watch video; Fly Eagles Fly
Moving Vocation Ministry into the Future
Mt. St. Joseph Convent Scholasticate
January 13, 2019
We believe that this is a
new moment for
our Congregation
and for the ministry
and we need your
Vocation Director, Sister  Celeste Mokrzycki SSJ and Formation Director, Sister  Michelle Lesher SSJ invited sisters to a gathering on Sunday, January 13th to share an update on current trends in Vocation Ministry and the highlights of their experience in that ministry.

Sister Eileen Marnien SSJ , Council Liason for Vocation Ministry, welcomed 36 sisters in the Scholasticate: “Today’s gathering is all about hope and planning for the future. Over the last few years we have made a few major shifts in this ministry. Celeste and Michelle continue to be flexible and open to respond to both grace and the needs of the congregation. This afternoon, as they share information about this ministry, our hope is that your thoughts, insights and suggestions might help us, the Council and the Vocation/FormationTeam, consider the best next steps for this ministry.” 

With information from the CARA STUDY on Entrants into RELIGIOUS LIFE, Celeste shared some interesting findings:

·      In 2017, 524 women and men from 182 Institutes entered Congregations; in 2015 it was 411 women and men—slightly higher entrance rate for CMSWR and for male congregations.
·      Average Age for Discernment is 19 and for entrance is 28.
·      Most entrants are highly educated with undergraduate and graduate degrees. 62% of discerners have attended a Catholic school.
·      53% participated in college campus ministry; 46% in high school ministry; 40% in young adult ministry and 36% in volunteer service programs.

                          EMERGING YOUNG ADULT TRENDS

·      Desiring to deepen their spirituality and prayer with the community.
·      The Spirituality of the congregation and the lived experience of their members is significant.
·      Communal prayer is very important to them.
·      Seeking a sense of belonging to a community and service that is larger than themselves.
·      Serving with other congregational members in the same ministry is valued.
·      Attracted to a radical following of Jesus. Young adults are choosing communities that require some sacrifice or ‘cost’ (simple lifestyle, communal living, prophetic public stands, clothes, freedom, etc.)

After an opportunity for reflection, conversation and brainstorming about possibilities for the future, Michelle shared: “As a Congregation, we have to talk more about vocations – make it a priority and communicate more often than we have done in recent times.
·      Vocation Ministry is up to everyone – it is about cultivating relationships; relationships are key and being invested takes time and multiple invitations. 
·      Expand the current Vocation Ambassadors experience to include more sisters.
·      In terms of next steps, some see a Team approach as a good and practical idea. 
·      We also need to be more consistent about follow-up. We have great one-time experiences, but then who/how do we follow-up and stay connected with people.
·      As a congregation we need to have the courage to invite women to consider life with us. We may need to be taught or “trained” how to best do this.
·      We recognize that the college is important for vocation ministry but so too is the Villa, where young people have the opportunity to interact with so many of our sisters in such positive ways. We need to connect at our other sponsored works as well."

May today’s conversation enhance the deeper conversation and planning for the future of Vocation Ministry.
VIP Program Award Ceremony
Saint Joseph Villa
January 16, 2019
Sister Dorothy Apprich SSJ , Executive Director, welcomed the first  Villa VIPs and all those gathered to support them, on Wednesday afternoon, January 16 th , in the chapel at Saint Joseph Villa. 

Sister Dorothy explained: “2018 was a special year for the Villa—our Golden Jubilee Year in which we celebrated the Villa's 50 years of life as a healing presence! It was a year in which we re-committed ourselves to live the values of the Villa ever more fully—that the Villa dream might live on for years to come!

As part of the celebration, we wanted to honor our partners in mission who help keep the Villa true to its mission. To this end, we initiated the  VIP Program , so that we could honor those co-workers who live our Villa Values in their work each day. VIP means a  Very Important Person , but for us at the Villa, a VIP means a person who puts our  Values Into Practice.

We invited our residents, families and the leadership team of Saint Joseph Villa to nominate those who put our values into practice. I am deeply grateful to all those who nominated someone. There were 155 who were nominated—eventually naming 50 VIPs for this anniversary year. 
It is an honor given to you, our honorees, because others experience you as striving to put our values into practice as articulated in the  Portrait of the Villa Team : Spirit of Unity and Teamwork, Spirit of Hospitality and Relationship Building, Responsibility, Stewardship, a Sense of Ownership, Respect, Communication, and Compassionate Care and Service.  You are truly partners in mission with us! We thank you for your dedication to Saint Joseph Villa and to our residents. Congratulations!”

The Program ended with a blessing and then everyone was invited to Maguire Lounge for refreshments, where each honoree had his/her picture taken for a VIP Program Display.
Villa VIPs stand as they receive a blessing.
"Rooted in the mission of Christ, ours is the same mission which continually unfolds in the Church, 'That all may be one as you, Father, are in me, and I in you. I pray that they may be one in us.' (Jn 17:21)."
                                        — SSJ Constitutions #17
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | |