In June, women interested in exploring the agrégée relationship met for their 2019 annual retreat in St. Paul. From left: Barbara McIlquham (SP), Mary Craven (A), Nancy Koltko (A), Megan Bender (SP), Mary Kaye Medinger (SP), Louise Hiniker (SP), Alexandra Guliano (SL), Lois Mineau (SP), Mary Louise Menikheim (SP), Jennifer Tacheny (SP). Present in spirit: Mary Beckfeld (SP), Gayle Buschle (A), Kileen Stone (A).

By Mary Kaye Medinger, Consociate

Ten individuals from three provinces who feel called to live into relationship within the Carondelet congregation as agrégées met for our third annual retreat from June 21-23, 2019 at the St. Paul Provincial House. Three others joined us in spirit. The total group includes four individuals from the Albany province, one from the St. Louis province, and eight from the St. Paul province.  The two previous retreats were faciliated by Sisters, and the 2019 retreat was facilitated by members of the group ourselves. At the invitation of the group, Jean Wincek, CSJ attended to share observations and reflections along the way. Susan Hames CSJ, a member of the St. Paul Province Leadership Team, also attended part of the weekend on behalf of the hosting province.

The days of reflection reminded us of the purpose of our coming together in our own words: “Just as six unique and most diverse women who felt called to serve came together in LePuy, we respond today in our individual calls of the Spirit to serve. It is an experiential time of a spacious grassroots call to community as Agrégées.” The times of prayer, reflection, song, storytelling, laughter, meals shared and memories made deepened the bonding begun in past years.

Friday evening began with Table Prayer composed by Michael Joncas and led by the Tacheny Family, members of the agrégée group. Parents Steven and Jennifer led the singing and children Delvin (12), Mason (11) and Nora (9) played their violins and sang. Alexandra Guliano accompanied on keyboard. Dinner was followed by Sharing the Heart facilitated by Jennifer and Lois Mineau.

Saturday was a full day and began with a “conversation in the manner of St. Joseph whose name we bear” led by Mary Craven and Nancy Koltko , reflecting on participants’ personal spiritual journeys in light of the Joseph story. Alexandra then led a reflection on Mother St. John in the years between the French Revolution and the refounding of the congregation. Both Joseph and Mother St. John trusted that they were being led by Spirit even when the road ahead was not always clear. So too for us!

Saturday afternoon included Mary Louise Menikheim leading a reflection on the “Sacred is the Call: Reflections on Agrégée” document we developed last year and how we have lived it in the past year, time for personal reflection and an opportunity for Sunday liturgy (anticipated). The evening brought interested St. Paul Sisters and Consociates (including Congregational Chapter delegates and companions) to join the agrégée group for a pizza supper and focused conversation. The evening ended with an agrégée group reflection on our time with our guests: What did we hear? What themes emerged? What might we bring forward?

Our closing session on Sunday morning began with Jean sharing observations and reflections on our time together, our insights, and possible next steps. We ended with a shared conviction that the gift is here, the need is here, the dream is here, the time is here as we move forward step by step. Stay tuned!

   August 13th, 2019      Posted In: General

We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and our partners assembled for our Congregational Chapter, make public our concern about the disturbing state of politics in the United States. We are appalled and saddened at the growing polarization, which is intensified by incivility, bigotry, racism, intolerance, and deception.

Our Catholic faith calls us to live in right relationship with all peoples and with creation. We join our voices with all others who desire a world where every person is treated with respect and dignity. This is a responsibility from which no one is exempt. We intend to use our resources and energy to work toward a society built on unity and reconciliation.

Words matter. We challenge President Trump, members of Congress, all elected officials, and all persons to cease using rhetoric and language that belittles and disrespects the sacredness of any person and group. We call for civil and respectful discourse to address the differences among us and reach just solutions.

Download this statement

   July 22nd, 2019      Posted In: Congregation, Featured Stories, General, In The News, Justice

The Dream and Promise Act 2019 (read the bill) is about to make its way to the House of Representatives for debate and vote. We join with the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, LCWR, the USCCB Justice for Immigrants Committee, and numerous other organizations in urging our legislators to support this bill.  The bill provides legal residency status for millions of young immigrants and residents of countries with temporary protected status (TPS).

The Dream & Promise Act would protect two million people from deportation and provide a pathway to citizenship.

Please contact your U.S. Representative to ask them to support this important bill! Look up your rep


   May 28th, 2019      Posted In: Featured Stories, Federation, General, In The News, Justice

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.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in 1916
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in 1951

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.

St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Pasco, Washington
St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Kennewick, Washington

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!

Read more about the celebration

“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.”

Sister Mary Williams, CSJ

   May 6th, 2019      Posted In: Featured Stories, General, In The News, Los Angeles

We recently welcomed our newest candidate into our formation process. Get to know her below.

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!

   March 22nd, 2019      Posted In: Congregation, Featured Stories, General, In The News

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