The Consensus Statement

a treasured summary statement of the Charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Stimulated by the Holy Spirit of Love and receptive to those inspirations

The Sister of Saint Joseph moves always towards
profound love of God
and
love of neighbor without distinction
from whom she does not separate herself
and
for whom, in the following of Christ
she works in order to achieve unity
of neighbor with neighbor
and neighbor with God
directly in this apostolate
and
indirectly through works of charity
in humility – the spirit of the Incarnate Word
(Philippians 2:5-8)

In sincere charity (cordiale charité)
– the manner of Saint Joseph whose name she bears

In an Ignatian-Salesian climate: that is, with an
orientation towards excellence
(Le dépassement, le plus)
tempered by gentleness (douceur), peace, joy.

Songs for Prayer and Discernment

Recently, on our Giving Voice Facebook page someone asked for friends to share songs from any genre that speak to God, discernment, and vocations.  (For those of you who aren’t familiar, Giving Voice is an organization within which sisters under the age of 50 come together for networking, prayer, support, action, and fun.)  I thought I’d share some current favorites of my own and some songs from the list for your own prayer and listening pleasure.

  • God Help Me, Plumb
  • How Sweet It Is, James Taylor
  • You’re the Inspiration, Chicago
  • Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls
  • Braver Still, JJ Heller
  • Abide, Carrie Newcomer and Parker J. Palmer
  • Dwell Among Us, Salt of the Sound
  • It’s Going to Be Alright; Sara Groves
  • Home, Philip Phillips
  • Find Love, Clem Snide
  • Top of the World, the Carpenters
  • The Call, Regina Spektor
  • Joyful, Joyful, Sister Act 2
  • Lift My Life Up, Unspoken
  • Crash and Burn, Savage Garden
  • Help Me Find It, Sidewalk Prophets
  • Caught in Love, Belle and Sebastian
  • You Get What You Give, New Radicals
  • Good Riddance, Green Day
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
  • One Foot, Building 429
  • Shake It Off, Taylor Swift
  • This Is Home, Switchfoot
  • A Place in the Sun, Stevie Wonder
  • I Bet My Life, Imagine Dragons
  • We Are Here, Alicia Keys
  • Don’t Stop Believing, Journey
  • Beautiful Things, Gungor
  • Ordinary Miracle, Sarah McLaughlin
  • All of Me, John Legend

With what songs are you praying these days?  Leave them in our comments.

–Sarah

Gentleness and Strength

My ministry brings me into contact with many religious men and women from many different communities. It is a real privilege to get to know so many committed people. They do amazing works. Their hearts are so expansive. They have been ministers of Loving-Kindness for so long that they become echoes of the Heart of God.

Recently, I began working with a community that describes their charism as working in Gentleness and Strength. That is so lovely. I believe that their charism is a message for me at this time in my life. I am dealing with my aging parents. They are lovely people, and at the same time, they are dealing with their own diminishment and one with dementia. This community, with their charism of Gentleness and Strength is for me a reservoir that I can tap into as I help my parents and my family address the challenges of aging.

This is an example of one of the key lessons I have learned: we are evangelized by those we serve. This community has asked for my assistance. At the same time, getting to know them I receive from them the gifts I need in another aspect of my life. And I’m sure that in working with my aging parents, I’m deepening the gentleness and strength that will help me to grow and to serve another in the circle of life, the circle of grace.

–Amy

What Gives Me Hope?

We begin our  MORE weekend – our annual summer discernment retreat. We focus on Community, Spirituality and Justice. Each element of our weekend will focus on one of these components. We will pray together. we will share life and stories and laughter in community, we will do justice by rolling up our sleeves for a painting project. I invite everyone to pray with and for us this weekend.

‘I Am with You Always…’

After celebrating 50 days of Easter and the explosion of the Spirit at Pentecost, we return to Ordinary Time. But today’s feast – Trinity Sunday – is anything but ordinary. It is more than just a mystery. As Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ, writes, “The Trinity is central to our faith. If we lose it, we lose all we are.” Who is this Trinitarian God? And who are we in this God?

Father, Son and Spirit are the familiar names we use for the Trinity. But the descriptions of God in today’s readings offer us much more. In today’s first reading, Moses describes an all-mighty God who creates a wondrous world. But that is not enough. God is also a personal God who speaks to his chosen people, acts on their behalf, and desires their prosperity forever.

In the second reading, Paul goes even further. He speaks of an intimacy with God, made possible by the Spirit, who gives us voice to speak the beloved name, “Abba.” Finding ourselves in this intimate relationship, we realize we are children of God, siblings of Jesus – heirs of our Father, if we accept and share in our Brother’s fullness of life.

If this seems too much to believe, the Gospel brings us back to reality. We find ourselves with the disciples – worshipping, yet doubting this Jesus who has died, yet is risen. Amid our doubts and disbelief, he calls us to “make disciples of all nations,” in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. In the name of this relationship of wonder, love and sustenance.

If Trinity’s names for God are too traditional for us, the 14th-century mystic, Julian of Norwich offers us three other names for God. She writes that God has revealed Godself as Maker, Lover and Keeper. God, the Maker and Origin of the universe and of us, calls us to be people of wonder and of gratitude, who take nothing for granted. God the Lover, who is known to us in the divine humanity of Jesus, invites us to love in return. God the Keeper will never abandon us. With such assurance, how can we be anything but people of hope!

Yes, it is a mystery why God would invite us imperfect creatures into relationship. It is a mystery why God should care for us so. It is a mystery why God should offer such personal, unconditional, eternal presence to us. But this is who God is. And if we believe, if we enter into this relationship with God, we are promised an inheritance beyond price: We will never be alone. “I am with you always,” Jesus assures us, “until the end of the age.”

–Mary Flick, CSJ

GENTLENESS AND STRENGTH

My ministry brings me into contact with many religious men and women from many different communities. It is a real privilege to get to know so many committed people. They do amazing works. Their hearts are so expansive. They have been ministers of Loving-Kindness for so long that they become echoes of the Heart of God.

Recently, I began working with a community that describes their charism as working in Gentleness and Strength. That is so lovely. I believe that their charism is a message for me at this time in my life. I am dealing with my aging parents. They are lovely people, and at the same time, they are dealing with their own diminishment and one with dementia. This community, with their charism of Gentleness and Strength is for me a reservoir that I can tap into as I help my parents and my family address the challenges of aging.
This is an example of one of the key lessons I have learned: we are evangelized by those we serve. This community has asked for my assistance. At the same time, getting to know them I receive from them the gifts I need in another aspect of my life. And I’m sure that in working with my aging parents, I’m deepening the gentleness and strength that will help me to grow and to serve another in the circle of life, the circle of grace.
–Amy Hereford

Fourth Sunday of Easter: ‘I Know Mine and Mine Know Me’

There’s an old cliche that says, “To know me is to love me.” Most of us believe if other people really knew us, they couldn’t help but love us. In today’s gospel on this Good Shepherd Sunday, Jesus makes the same connection – and helps us find both. His shepherd imagery may be lost on us 21st-century Christians, but the truth remains. Pope Francis used the image five years ago when he counseled his priests to “be shepherds with the smell of the sheep.”

The shepherd Jesus models himself after was common in first century Palestine. Born to his task, a shepherd grew into his calling by being a shepherd. It was a 24/7 vocation, providing protection and care for his flock as it wandered the Judean landscape, searching for grass and water, and avoiding the attack of wolves and thieves. The sheep became the shepherd’s friends and he, literally, knew them by the name he gave each. The shepherd became the symbol of constant vigilance, fearless courage and patient love.

This “knowledge” between shepherd and sheep – and knowledge for the first-century Israelites – was not the head knowledge of Greek philosophers. It was a heart knowledge. For the Judeans, to know was to experience. To know was to feel for and with the other. To know was to accept the other. And so we hear Jesus cite not only the mutual knowing of he and his sheep. He also speaks of that same mutual relationship with his Father. Knowing and love grow together; they mutually enrich each other. This knowing-loving relationship elicits a total surrender of life to and for the one he loves. This Good Shepherd will lay down his very life to protect his sheep from those who wish to steal them or do them harm. And he will call other sheep who will hear in his voice an attractiveness, a goodness worthy of following. Then this Good Shepherd will know the fulfillment of his only desire, and the Father’s, too: there will be one flock.

This heart knowledge is what Peter, in the first reading, desires for all of Israel, when they see the healing done “in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean.” It is this heart knowledge – this mutual knowing-loving – that John confirms for his readers in today’s second reading. We are God’s children now; the more we know God, the more we will be like the One we love.

We belong to our Good Shepherd who knows us by heart, and loves us. Dare we say the same of Him?

— Mary Flick, CSJ

SUMMER SISTERS 2018

Once again this year, I would like to extend the invitation for Sisters to join in building community with me here in St. Louis, for a period of time during the summer. It can be the experience you seek: Retreat. Sabbath Time. Vacation. R&R. Embodied Commitment to Sustainability. Emersion in an Urban Ecovillage. Nurturing body, spirit, the future of religious life.
We’ll have to work around the house schedule which is a little crazy this year – but then when is life not crazy. Let’s do what we can.
Here’s a link to a prior invitation. If you’re interested, drop me a line and we’ll talk more.
ALSO – if any women discerning religious life would like to spend several weeks in a live-in experience, let me know and we will see what we can arrange for that too. We have several houses where you might be able to join us.
Amy
http://www.ahereford.org