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An Unchanging Charism in a Changing World

 Kim Westerman

The Sisters of St. Joseph have a long history of adapting to the signs of the times. Adaptation will help our charism continue long into the future.

Light streams through the rainbow colored stained glass windows into the Albany chapel with a mosaic of the risen Christ in the background

The Sisters of St. Joseph have gone through many organizational changes since our founding in 1650, while never wavering from our mission and charism. Today, guided by the Spirit, our congregation continues to discern the best way to govern ourselves.

The French sisters who would eventually become the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet came to the United States in 1836. In 1877, we were recognized by the Vatican as a new congregation separate from the ones in France. Since then our sisters have gone out to serve the dear neighbor around the world. As we established large enough communities in various areas, we created governance and administrative structures to meet the needs of our members and their ministries.

As you read in the pages of our 2022 Carondelet magazine, our sisters continue to adapt and respond to the needs of the world today. The congregation must also discern and respond to the ways its own needs are changing.

At our most recent congregational chapter in 2019, our sisters called themselves to simplify. How can we best use the time and talent of our sisters and staff? What are the most effective ways to use the resources with which we have been entrusted? What can we let go of or entrust to others? How can we reduce consumption and be better stewards of the Earth? How can we innovate and do things in new and better ways?

While everyone in the congregation is considering those questions, the sisters have undertaken a formal discernment process to examine our province and vice province structures.

Those structures have changed over time. Though we have always been and will always be one congregation, we currently have four provinces in St. Louis, St. Paul, Albany and Los Angeles and a Vice Province in Peru. At one point in our history, there were two additional vice provinces in Japan and Hawaii. In recent years, our sisters in Japan and Hawaii determined they could better serve the dear neighbor if they handed off administrative management of the vice provinces, and they joined the Los Angeles Province. Their local communities and ministries remained the same.

As our discernment proceeds, you will hear about some changes to our province structures.

The Sisters of St. Joseph have a long history of adapting to the signs of the times. Adaptation will help our charism continue long into the future.

This story appeared in the 2022 issue of Carondelet magazine. Join our mailing list

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About us

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.


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