Associates are women and men from various faith traditions, married and single, who extend the mission and share the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph without becoming vowed members. Associate Pat Hunt wrote the following tribute after the death of her dear friend and fellow member of the “Four Pats from Syracuse” Associate Pat Race on March 19.
Although I was saddened to learn of the death of my dear associate companion on the journey Pat Race, I found it heart-warming to learn that her passing occurred on the Feast of St. Joseph! What a fitting acknowledgment of her many faithful years with the Albany associate community, and particularly the community in Syracuse.
Pat has a first commitment story that’s hard to beat. In June of 2000, she was driving to the Dominican Retreat House for the first part of the annual Associate Commitment Weekend. Sharing the ride was another first commitment candidate Jane Dommett and associate Pat John. Almost there after a long trip through driving rain, the front passenger tire got caught in the mud on an unpaved shoulder. Pat Race tried to correct, but unfortunately, she couldn’t, and the car started twisting and turning until it came to rest upside-down at the bottom of a hill. Thank God that help arrived in minutes, and all three were taken to the hospital. Pat John was able to join the rest of the associates later that night, but Jane and Pat Race went back home when they were released. Thankfully, they recovered in time to make their first commitment at the first Syracuse associate meeting the following September.
You could tell by the twinkle in her eye that Pat always enjoyed the interaction in our group, especially the annual special occasions: Syracuse Mission Day, our Epiphany parties, our annual Winter Retreat at Alverna Heights, St. Joseph’s Day, our Commitment Weekend in Latham, and our annual June Picnic.
Unfortunately, Pat began experiencing a slow but steady downward curve in both physical and mental health a few years ago. In those early years of symptoms, the Syracuse associates met several times in her home parish of St. James in Cazenovia, where she would join us with her forever Irish charm. Although she wouldn’t have been able to join us last June, even if it we had been able to celebrate in Latham, it would have been her 20th commitment.
Pat John remembers fondly that Pat Race and Sister Joan Killoran would get together with Sister Carolyn Chmielewski and herself for lunch and cards on occasion, especially at the cottage on Tuscarora Lake. “It would be teams—the sisters versus the associates—and our favorite game was nine-card pitch. I can’t remember who won, but I do remember laughing a lot and a good time had by all.”
Our newest Syracuse associate, LuAnn Sims, regrets that she only got to interact with Pat a few times. Despite the few encounters, she says: “What I remember is that she was a lovely woman who had a kind soul and a loving heart.”
Associate Monica James has many wonderful memories of Pat’s influence on her not only becoming an associate but also a Catholic! Monica remembers many deep faith conversations through the RCIA process, which Monica says she found encouraging and full of wisdom. “Pat is the best…she will surely be missed.”
Pat Pilon laments the fact that the famous “Four Pats from Syracuse” are now down to three. We always kidded at associate gatherings about that. It seems like we were always in pretty close vicinity to each other at gatherings. We told them that if they needed a certain Pat, they were either close by or we probably knew where the Pat that they were looking for could be found. Outside the church after Pat’s funeral Mass, Monica brought a friend up to introduce her to us. As usual, we said that Pat Race was one of the four—and we realized that once again, the three of us were standing next to each other! We will miss our D’Artagnan.
Finally, as well as Pat’s passing from this life to Eternity on the Feast of St. Joseph, I am equally heartened by her funeral being held on the Feast of the Annunciation. Having completed her earthly efforts on God’s behalf, Pat followed Mary’s example and willingly surrendered to God’s last call: “Be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).
On March 3, 2021 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act. Over the last several weeks 67 sisters and friends sent letters to their representatives urging them to co-sponsor the bill. We are grateful to all who supported our efforts.
Our next step as we journey farther is to support S.1, the For the People Act, the companion bill in the Senate. This bill addresses election reform, making it easier, not harder to vote; ending the dominance of big money in our politics and ensuring public officials work for the public interest. For more information, download our two-page position paper on S.1.
We are promoting three action items to support S.1:
We have prayed for peace and justice. Now it is time for us to act to address the systemic racism and injustice that have so negatively impacted our election laws. Together we can make a difference!
The first action is to contact your Senator in the United States Congress and ask them to support S.1’s rapid movement through the Senate committee process. We have prepared a sample letter that you can edit and submit. Just fill out the form below, make any changes to the letter and click “Send My Email” to send your email to your Senators.
Our second action is to increase public awareness of this bill by getting as many letters to the editor published as possible. Often receiving 10-12 letters from different people having similar concerns about an issue will be enough for editors to publish a single letter. We have prepared a sample letter to the editor for you to customize. Adding a response to an article in their paper helps them know you are a reader. Right now, there are many articles being published related to election reform, so this is a timely topic. Please fill out the brief form, and choose an appropriate paper.
Our third action is to encourage you to set up an online visit with your Senators or their aides to discuss the support of the bill. Sometimes, we have gathered a group to attend this meeting. We have prepared a two-page position paper that will help you to be prepared for this visit. Sister Patty Johnson is available to help any group that feels like they need a subject matter specialist to help them be prepared to meet with their Senators. She can even attend your meeting if it gives you more confidence.
The U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph stands against the racism and misogyny directed towards the Asian-American and Pacific Island communities. As members of the Federation, we join them in this public statement.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in condemning racism and sexism in all their harmful forms — whether the violent acts of white supremacists and misogynists or the daily acts of hate and discrimination that diminish us all.
We grieve with the citizens of Atlanta and the Asian-American and Pacific Island communities. We mourn with those who have lost loved ones to hateful acts of violence, with all who live in fear, and with all whose dignity is threatened by xenophobia and chauvinism. We lament the racism and sexism that continue to afflict our communities, threaten neighbors, and denigrate all we hold dear.
We acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism and sexism. We vow to use our Gospel Charism and mission of unifying love for the healing and transformation of the world to commit ourselves to cleanse our hearts and rid our land of these twin evils. We promise to continue to use our collective voice and energy to build God’s beloved community where all are one.
by Therese Sherlock, CSJ
No one tells the stories of the family of Joseph better than Mary McGlone, CSJ. There isn’t a sister-founder or foundation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States that you can’t find engagingly described in Mary’s two-volume history. Because this project was commissioned and published by the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Mary’s research goes beyond Carondelet and shows how far the charism has taken all Sisters of St. Joseph who have roots in Father Medaille’s Little Design.
Anything of Which a Woman Is Capable: A History of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States, Volume I, published in 2017, dashes through every foundation the sisters made from 1836 to 1920. Mary’s new book, Called Forth by the Dear Neighbor: Volume II of the History of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States, hot off the press in January 2021, is its sequel. In this new volume, Mary profiles congregations more fully, exploring their history through the lens of a distinguishing ministry, a founder or a location, an irreconcilable conflict or an opportunity too good to pass up. The reader meets many “characters,” as the old nuns used to call them, women unstoppable in their desire to see their visions fulfilled.
As an example of how foundations quickly branched out, Mary tells the story of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brooklyn (later Brentwood) who were founded in 1856 by sisters from Philadelphia and Buffalo, one of whom hailed from Carondelet. Brooklyn grew quickly, and they were able to send sisters to Boston in 1869, and a few years later other sisters went to Rutland, Vermont, and Baden, Pennsylvania. These three communities became diocesan, a regular occurrence in this period when American bishops were judged by the number of Catholic schools and other institutions they had in their dioceses. The drama of sisters vs. bishop in Boston could easily be a miniseries on Netflix.
Mary describes vividly how the Buffalo congregation continued our foundational ministry to people who are deaf. Orange, California, founded from La Grange, became known for health care. The four Carondelet provinces each established one or more colleges. Many CSSJ congregations sent sisters to serve outside the continental United States—Japan, China, Peru, Hawai’i, Australia, to name a few.
Bringing the story into the late 20th and 21st centuries, Mary chronicles the rise of the sister formation program, the post-Vatican II period which challenged everything we thought was immutable in religious life, the gathering together in the Federation, the merging of congregations and the foundation of the Congregation of St. Joseph, the emergence of new ministries, a growing awareness of our unity in our diversity. The last sections of this book bring us back to LePuy and to our sisters in the global community.
This is such a good read, you will want to get your own copy. It is now available for order online.
In collaboration with the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to permanently withdraw the permit allowing Formosa Plastics to build a large petrochemical complex that will double air pollution in St James Parish, Louisiana. Learn more about Rise St. James and UN efforts to end environmental racism in Cancer Alley below.
We invite you to take action by sending an email to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking them to revoke the permits for Formosa Plastics with this form.
Meet our dear neighbor Sharon Lavigne and her neighbors in Cancer Alley in Louisiana. Sharon and her neighbors in the St. James Parish are at the center of a critical intersection of racial injustice and climate change. Sharon will be our speaker at our celebration of Earth Day this year.
Recently, United Nations Human Rights experts have raised serious concerns about the further industrialization of Cancer Alley, clearly calling this concentration of petrochemical complexes a form of environmental racism. The experts call on the U.S. Government to deliver environmental justice in communities all across America, starting with St. James Parish. To read about the UN perspective, visit the UN Report or the UN News announcement.
“This form of environmental racism poses serious and disproportionate threats to the enjoyment of several human rights of its largely African American residents, including the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to life, the right to health, right to an adequate standard of living and cultural rights,” they said.
Federal environmental regulations have failed to protect people residing in “Cancer Alley,” the experts said.