Sister Clare Bass, who entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 2010, made her perpetual vows on March 30 at a Mass at the St. Louis province motherhouse.
Originally from Biloxi, Mississippi, Sister Clare is a graduate of Mississippi State University with both a bachelor’s degree in political science a master’s in public policy and administration. She is currently working on a master’s in social work at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and hopes to be a child and family therapist.
Clare is passionate about social justice and is a member of our community’s Racial and Cultural Justice Committee.
“I am humbled by the great love and support of God, my family and the Sisters of St. Joseph, and friends along the way who have all helped me reach this momentous life occasion of professing final vows,” Clare says. “My heart is filled with gratitude for all of life as I take this next step.”
#CSJlife is our vocation outreach website. It’s intended to engage those who may be interested in learning more about the Sisters of St. Joseph and in exploring a vocation to the Sisters of St. Joseph. While this site is focused on this journey, it’s also important to take a look at our larger community. So with this post, I would like to invite you to our main community website which we recently renovated.
To learn a little more about who we are, https://www.csjsl.org/about-us/who-we-are – will give you information about who we are, our fundamental values, our vision, our hopes and dreams. Then I would suggest you head on over to News and Events
Enjoy your visit! And feel free to reach out to us to visit, to chat, and to get to know us better.
In January, 2019, I responded to a request from our Province Leadership to help out at the border in El Paso. As you are aware, there has been a lot of news coverage about what is going on there. I would like to share with you about my experience there. One might think that everyone who goes to volunteer works at Annunciation House. Actually, Annunciation House is the administration center which began as a shelter for homeless and immigrants in 1978. Ruben Garcia is the administrator. Our Sr. Ida is a member of the Board.
At present, this house has expanded into 15 centers in El Paso. The Bishop of El Paso has turned the seminary over for immigrants; also many churches and convents have opened their doors. The shelter I was assigned to was a former nursing home for the Loreto Sisters. We had about 18 rooms which were filled every evening. Sometimes these 15 shelters aren’t enough so rooms in hotels are rented. It is important to note that no government assistance is received.
When I was there, the majority of immigrants were coming from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. A few also came from Cuba, Brazil and 1 from Africa. The Central American immigrants contract with large trucks or semi to get them to the border. One lady with 2 children told me she paid $6000 just to get to the border.
Once they cross the border, they are placed in detention centers in El Paso (large warehouses divided in sections by chicken wire) until they can meet with a lawyer. This could take 3-10 days. They sleep on mats on the floor with thermal blankets, receiving very little to eat while in detention, sometimes a frozen burrito once a day or a cup of soup.
Eventually they meet with a lawyer who fills in 3 forms:
The first form is filled with personal data and their number. The second contains the name and phone number of the receiving family – brother, sister, uncle or friend and information on what they must do when they arrive at their destination. Most of them were headed for FL, CA, NC, NY, WA or TX. The third form has information on the ICE office they will have to report to within 10 days on arriving at their destination. They are also given a list of pro-bono lawyers who can help them plead their case for asylum. All those who are coming in through El Paso have papers and are seeking asylum from the violence and gangs in their countries.
Before they leave from detention, a heavy GPS tracker is placed on the ankle of the head of the family (father or mother) – most of them are now coming as families. Once they have their papers and ankle bracelet, they are put on a bus and brought to one of the 15 shelters in El Paso, tired, hungry, sad and bedraggled. Between 500-600 are released daily. On arrival at a shelter, they get off the bus, line up, are counted by the ICE officers and turned over to us.
We immediately get to work with intake. We make a phone call to the receiving family assuring them that their family members are safe and can stay with us as long as necessary.
The receiving family is asked to buy their ticket on the bus or plane and inform us when transportation is arranged. We then give the immigrants clean clothes, sheets and towels, and give them an opportunity to shower. Rooms are assigned; most of the time two families shared a room. They are served three delicious meals a day that are provided and served by parishes and other groups in El Paso.
When confirmation of transportation is received, we take the immigrants to the airport or bus and say goodbye with many hugs, kisses and expressions of gratitude.
Soon another bus load arrives!I have often been asked what most impressed me. Many things!
-The number that comes in daily – a bus filled with 40-60 people daily at each of the 15 centers.
-The solidarity, graciousness and generosity of the people of El Paso – churches of many denominations and other groups such as the Boy Scouts bring in and serve 3 meals a day
-The gratitude shown in many ways by the immigrants – helping us with the cleaning after meals and scrubbing the floors before they leave; their appreciation for being treated with dignity and respect. Several told me it was like “Paradise” being in the shelter.
–Sister Pat Vanden Bergh
“God’s holiness is an expanding force, and we beg that it quickly shatters barriers of our world,” he said, adding that this holiness “spreads in concentric circles, like when throwing a stone into a pond.”
Pope Francis explained that “prayer drives away all fear. The Father loves us, the Son raises his arms side by side with ours, the Spirit works in secret for the redemption of the world.”
As you begin your Lenten journey, consider joining us for a weekend discernment retreat:
One with God and Neighbor
Reflection and Prayer
Many blessings in your discernment,
Brothers and Sisters preparing for final vows share their reflections and hopes.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN OF THE GREAT LOVE OF GOD FOR WE WILL BE UNITED.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN MOVING TO WHOLENESS FOR WE WILL EXPERIENCE FREEDOM OF SPIRIT.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN EMPTYING OF SELF FOR WE WILL BE FILLED WITH GOD’S GREAT DESIRES FOR US.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN LOVING WITHOUT DISTINCTION FOR WE LIVE LIFE FROM THE HEART OF GOD.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN OF ZEALOUS PRESENCE FOR WE REVEAL GOD WITH ENTHUSIASM.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN FAITHFUL IN LISTENING, FOR WE ATTEND AND ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN LIFE.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN FILLED WITH CORDIAL CHARITY, FOR WE REVERENCE AND WELCOME WHAT GOD IS DOING IN AND FOR OTHERS.
BLESSED ARE WE WOMEN AND MEN OF MISSION, FOR WE WILL IMAGE GOD BY OUR ACTIVE INCLUSIVE LOVE IN ALL OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS.
By- S. MARIANNE KEENA, CSJ
I believe that what distinguishes me as a vowed member in the St. Joseph Family is the fact that I pronounce public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and share a common life in the congregation with other vowed members.
I try to see the vows as integral to what it means to be a human person, opportunities to get a hold on life in all of its aspects.
Poverty means I have everything and yet paradoxically I have nothing. It means accepting all of creation into my life without owning anything. Poverty calls me to unselfishness, to sharing, and to using only that which I need. It lets me know that our natural resources have limits. When I recycle, I am faithful to my vow of poverty. When I consider my needs versus my wants, I am being faithful to poverty. Poverty calls me to simplicity, which I define as a single focused vision. Of all the vows, poverty helps me to keep my priorities straight and ultimately creates in me a reverence for all of creation.
It’s the vow of chastity that I believe is at the very heart of what it means to be a vowed religious. It touches the core of my life. If lived fully, chastity speaks to the centrality of God and God’s love in all of one’s life. Rather than loving someone exclusively, I am called to love inclusively. It means listening to someone I may not naturally want to listen to. It means not giving up on people. It means letting others touch me and change me. It means loving others because God is at work in all of us, loving us and helping us to discover our goodness together.
Obedience means to be a good listener, especially a listener in the Spirit. This vow challenges me to look at who I am with my particular set of gifts and limitations; the vow of obedience also has me looking at priorities both the province and the congregation set before me and then matching all of that with the needs of God’s people. Obedience also leads me to take the opportunity to learn so that I can serve better. If one has the gift of organization and leadership as an educator, for example, obedience would have her get certified and stay updated so that she could be a good principal. Obedience nudge me always to be alert to the touch of God and to how God would have me act as a Sister of St. Joseph.
These vows are really not separated. They make up a lifestyle that cannot be compartmentalized. They overlap and fit together and join me to others in the congregation who share the charism with me.
~Sister Rita Huebner
The original Eucharistic Letter was written by Fr. Medaille, SJ in 1660 in Le Puy, France to the first Sisters of St. Joseph. This is a contemporary presentation of The Eucharistic Letter inviting viewers to revisit it and begin living the Little Design way of life.
An interesting story of the always, ever-present call of God in our lives….