The history of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Washington state is ending this month with the departure of Sisters Esther Polacci, CSJ and Mary Williams, CSJ from Pasco.
Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Pasco in September of 1916, traveling from Lewiston, Idaho to found a much-needed hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes.
Over the years, many Sisters maintained our presence there and expanded our ministry through the area to St. Patrick’s School in Pasco, St. Joseph’s School in Kennewick and Lourdes Counseling Center in Richland.
Administrators at Lourdes Health have planned a special dinner in Pasco on May 22 to celebrate and honor the presence of our Sisters in the state for 102½ years!
“Ministry in this dear part of the Northwest has been a privilege and a pleasure that many of us have shared,” said Sister Mary. “As we say goodbye, let’s join in prayer for the assured future of our mission and charism here for years to come.”
We recently welcomed our newest candidate into our formation process. Get to know her
Name: Kristina DeNeve
Entered: I began candidacy January 4, 2019.
Hometown: Moline, Illinois (part of the Quad Cities)
Current home: the Motherhouse at Carondelet – lucky me!!
Education: B.A. in Psychology and Theology from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA; M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from University of Missouri-Columbia; Certificate in Retreat and Spiritual Direction and M.A. in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University
Occupation: I’ve been a university professor and administrator and then worked in adult faith formation and evangelization for two different dioceses. As a candidate, I am responsible for my own finances/job so I am continuing to teach online with the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University. In addition, I am volunteering three days a week at Fontbonne University in campus ministry.
Favorite place you’ve lived: I’ve lived in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Waco, Omaha, Green Bay, and Oahu. There has been something to love that is my “favorite” in each place I’ve lived.
Favorite movie or book:The Holy Longing by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser
Favorite quote: Currently, one of my favorite things to say is “I love growth; it’s just change that I hate!”
What brings you to religious life right now? I really want to grow in holiness, grow to become more the person God created me to be. And, at this age and stage of life, I believe that living as part of a religious community might help me to do that more “effectively” than if I continued living as a single lay woman.
What attracted you to our congregation? First and foremost, because the CSJs were founded by a Jesuit, and Ignatian spirituality undergirds this congregation. Beyond that, the way that CSJs live out the Gospel re: justice and loving God and neighbor without distinction matches my own desires re: how I might live as a follower of Jesus.
In your time with us, what has been your greatest delight? The Sisters! I love living in the Motherhouse and getting to know all of the Sisters better.
What do you think will be your greatest challenge? I kinda doubt that my biggest challenge will be something I foresee, but it is likely to be something that I thought I had “all figured out” or that otherwise would not be an issue. If I had to guess now, I would guess my biggest challenge might be to accept a decision made by others that directly impacts me if I don’t feel like I understand and/or agree with the decision. Also, in the short term, I can say that giving up my kitty and especially my dog to begin candidacy has been tough.
What do you hope for? I hope to continue to grow closer to God, self, and others while I am a candidate and beyond!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kim Westerman
updated December 16, 2018
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet confirm that an investigation is underway by the Torrance, California Police Department regarding misappropriation of funds by Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang. The Sisters will cooperate fully with the police in this matter. As a religious community we will not defend the actions of our Sisters. What happened is wrong. Our Sisters take full responsibility for the choices they made and are subject to the law.
The Sisters of St. Joseph are committed to work with the Archdiocese to discover the amount taken. We are unable to confirm any sum until the discovery phase is completed. We intend to make restitution to St. James School as soon as a total is known. Justice demands this of us.
Canonical Restrictions have been imposed. The two Sisters are removed from all public ministry. They have been removed from their residence, placed in a religious house under the supervision of community leadership, and their freedom of movement is confined.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any pain this has caused many in our Church, especially the families connected to St. James School. We hold the sorrow of our Sisters’ actions deep in our community hearts.
God granted me a 24-hour trip to San Diego and Tijuana on December 4. I was met on the San Diego side of the border by Amanda and Carly of American Refugee Committee from Minnesota. They were on “assignment” to find religious sisters working with the Caravan and refugees in Tijuana. With them, I was able to visit both Casa de los Pobres, run by Sister Armida and Instituto Madre Asunta, run by Sister Adelia. Their ministries were similar to what we would know as St. Joseph Center and Alexandria House in Los Angeles; both are inspiring women on a MISSION of service with hungry and lost adults and children in the border town of Tijuana. Because of the upsurge in refugees since the arrival of the Caravan, Sister Adelia has noticed that the “light in the women’s eyes has gone out,” for those at her shelter. Once hopeful to seek asylum, they now wait for their ICE number to come up with fear and trembling. One had #1326 and another #1531.
Later in the day, we visited the new site of the 5,000 people in the Caravan, 11 miles east of downtown Tijuana. It’s a stadium-type area with a covered space for the families. Others, mostly young men, had camping tents scattered all over the concrete public area. As three white women, we entered the area freely, talked with adults and played with children. We met 21-year-old Nelson, who wants to come to the USA, as do all. He was raised Catholic. He shared how monjas/nuns accompanied them all through Guatemala, sharing that they did so in case anyone fell along the wayside. “No one should die alone,” said the nuns.
Some international service agencies appeared to be available under tents, like the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, World Vision, Red Cross, and UNICEF, but the lines were more prominent as cars drove up offering blankets or clothes. There was a hot food distribution area with a very long line. We left around 5 pm as the clouds were coming in for the night storm. Where is hope in a foreign land when returning home means death? Their hope lies in God, who will not abandon them. We heard that over and over.
The next morning we met at a San Diego shelter, former retreat center, with 100+ cots in the gym area. The San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), part of the PICO National Network, runs this new emergency shelter where 30 to 50 people arrive each day from a bus sent by ICE. Soon they will run out of room, but their “command central” is key! It is a room filled with computers and transportation volunteers helping each arrival get to their designated U.S. location for their immigration or asylum court hearing. In the meantime, they need to be fed and cared for. Volunteers are needed for everything, including driving to bus station or airport. Spanish speakers inquire within!!!
Our St. Joseph Workers are going this weekend to do “all that woman is capable” and Sister Patrice Coolick is planning on a month-long stay over the holidays where her nursing and bilingual abilities will be invaluable! My admiration for San Diego Organizing Project went way up when I learned that our Sister Maureen Evelyn Brown is its Co-Chairperson. We are everywhere!
May people of faith and hope respond to this emergency with full hearts!
As part of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, we echo their call for an end to antisemitism.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and countless groups and individuals across the country and in Pittsburgh to condemn the slaughter of our brothers and sisters at Tree of Life Congregation in the community of Squirrel Hill. ¶ Our hearts are heavy and our souls are pained at the intrusion of anti-Semitism and violence in God’s sacred space. We join with LCWR and Catholic sisters across the nation to extend our sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives. We will mourn with you. We will pray with you. We will walk with you in the spirit of God’s love. ¶ We recognize that shootings at synagogues and schools, churches and mosques, in our homes and on our streets have become all too common. The current political climate and growing polarization of our communities feed hate and spawn violence.