Last week, Noriko Kuroki arrived in Los Angeles from her native Japan to continue her discernment about religious life. As a candidate, she has the opportunity to live, pray, and share life with sisters and others who associate with the community. Additionally, Noriko will participate in a monthly class on Zoom with our other candidates in LA and Albany, led by various sisters in the congregation. Even in the midst of the pandemic, God continues to call women to vowed life with us.
We asked Noriko a few questions so we could get to know her better. Please keep her in prayer as she continues her journey!
Hometown: I was born in Tokyo in a Buddhist family with two younger sisters. We went to a Catholic elementary school in Tokyo, and only I was baptized among us.
Tell us about your educational background. I graduated from Gakusyuin University in Tokyo and majored in philosophy, especially Japanese Buddhism. I worked at the university and language academy as a Japanese language instructor. Most of my students were from Korea, China, Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I loved them very much and still keep in touch with some of them.
What attracted you to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet? I was attracted to the life of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet first. They seemed to be very active and sensitive to the needs of the present day. And then I started to learn the charism and the history of the congregation. The more I learn, the more they attract me.
What is your favorite movie? My favorite movie is Life is Beautiful. And I watched the new movie Just Mercy on the airplane. It touched me a lot!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I have lived in Sudan and Bali in Indonesia. One is a Muslim country and the other is a Hindu island. And I have met students from many countries. Each one had a different culture. I am very familiar with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and other religious or non-religious people. I like to go to new places to meet people and learn about different cultures.
What are you reflecting on this Advent? I arrived here on the first Sunday of Advent. I am reflecting on the LIGHT which is always guiding me.
Life would not be as fun without what? Adventure. It doesn’t need to be the type like Indiana Jones. To meet new people, to learn new things, to eat new foods, to read new books, everything is an adventure for me.
On September 12, we welcomed our newest candidate, Guadalupe Moore. During her candidacy, Lupe will share community with our sisters at Sophia Community in Sherman Oaks, California and continue her ministry at Mount St. Mary’s University (founded by our sisters in 1925). Get to know her more below. Welcome, Lupe!
Hometown: San Diego, California.
Family: My father, James, was from Alabama and served in the Navy during WWII. After the war, he met my mother, Margarita, and they were married in 1949. My siblings and I grew up speaking Spanish at home. I am the fourth-born of seven children.
Education: At Our Lady of Angels School in San Diego, my CSJ teachers made a lasting impression on me. I felt their care, love, and concern for each of us and will be forever grateful for their influence on my life. I always say that there are teachers you never forget, and for me, that teacher is Sr. Mona Castelazo. She introduced us to C. S. Lewis, my favorite author to this day. I also attended Cathedral Girls’ High School and graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Peace.
While working and living at home in San Diego, I completed an AA degree in foreign languages. In 2008, I received a BA in Liberal Arts and in 2016 an MA in Humanities, from Mount Saint Mary’s University, with a specialization in Cultural Studies. My creative project for the Master’s program, entitled “Journey into Joy: Experiencing Dante’s Divine Comedy,” was held in the Doheny gazebo. It can be viewed online.
Currently reading: All Shall be Well and Comunidad para el Mundo.
Favorite movies: Brother Son, Sister Moon; A Christmas Story; Up
Favorite music: Everything from Mexican to classical music. Currently, this hymn is my favorite: Himno a San José.
What draws you to religious life? Since childhood, I have had the feeling of being drawn to something more. Although I had long known the Sisters of St. Joseph, I was only aware of their teaching ministry, and consequently, I chose to pursue my religious vocation with a congregation dedicated to serving the poor. I entered the Congregation Sister Servants of the Poor in 1982 and ministered in Italy for eighteen years. While on a sabbatical in 2000, I was blessed with the opportunity to share community with Sisters Mona Castelazo and Kathleen Maier and have lived with them for many years. In 2007, I became a member of the Sisters For Christian Community. During the past 20 years, I have experienced the inclusiveness and love of so many CSJ sisters with whom I have come in contact.
What are you most looking forward to after COVID? Getting to know more sisters and connecting with them.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I speak three languages, Spanish, English, and Italian.
Favorite quote: “Listen, put it into your heart, youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you is nothing: do not let it disturb you; do not fear this sickness, nor any other sickness, nor any sharp or hurtful thing. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?” –Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego on Mount Tepeyac in 1531.
by Carol Brong, CSJ
Alive in Oneness with Christ and all creation, the theme for Sister Sally Koch’s first vows was “We are Parts of the Whole” and indeed the community that gathered virtually and physically for Sally’s vows represented parts of the whole. She was surrounded by her Porter Ranch, California community and congregational delegate Sr. Kathy Stein. Family members and friends from the many organizations she has been a part of throughout her life and sisters who have been a part of her formation all gathered mostly virtually for a ceremony that called us to Love greater and wider in our world that is hurting.
Her ceremony on July 18 included readings from Colossians, Sue Monk Kidd, Joyce Rupp, and Nan C. Merrill. Kathleen Patrice “KP” Sullivan, CSJ gave the reflection followed by a bread breaking liturgical prayer.
read Sister KP’s reflection
Sally made the religious vows of chastity, the vow that calls us to honest self-expression and inclusive right relationships; poverty, the vow to hold all things lightly; and obedience, the vow of listening deeply according to the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
Sally has been deeply touched and grateful to everyone who has sent their love, affirmations, and support through all of the cards, greetings, and emails.
Free Info Webinar:
Thurs., Jan. 16, 2020 (7:00 PM EST)
Click here to register!
Starts Thurs., Jan. 30th (7:00 PM EST)
$20 discount coupon for women religious: SL2020wr
For more info about the webinar and course, click here.
As the challenges of the 2019 Chapter’s Statement of Future Direction begin to permeate our lives, the suffering present in our multiple planetary crises compels us to greater depth, authenticity, and creativity in our responses as Sisters of St. Joseph.
How will we as religious and spiritual leaders provide guidance when the solutions we have counted on in the past are no longer enough to address our world’s extremes, e.g., increasing climate chaos, devastation of the Earth’s capacity to sustain life, extreme polarizations, and increasing despair and numbers of suicides? When people turn to us as spiritual leaders to help them navigate these times, what new consciousness can we offer them that is different from the thinking that brought on these crises?
This course, titled Spiritual Leadership, a New Consciousness, and a World in Crisis, hosted on Deeptime Network, is designed for spiritual and religious leaders who want to frame their life and ministry within the new universe story as taught by Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim. It will offer insights from contemporary science about the way the Universe and our Earth really work—the way our Creator is continuing to build our world. It will give a firm, sacred foundation from which to address the challenges we face in today’s conflicted world. It will provide us as spiritual and religious leaders with insight into the divine dynamics operating on all levels of our lives—spiritual, social, and ecological.
The goal of this course is to encourage a more radical imitation and adaptation of the cosmos-building principles of the universe—identity, differentiation, and communion. It is to challenge us to greater authenticity in aligning ourselves with the evolutionary forces of the universe. We will look at the behaviors these principles suggest, with particular emphasis on the potential of reinterpreting religious vows in a way that witnesses to the values the human community needs to adopt to survive and flourish.
By deepening our consciousness based on these principles, we will be able to discern new solutions to address our crises and to build a more viable human presence within the community of Earth. These sacred dynamics make the wisdom and resilience of the rest of the natural world available to us. As religious and spiritual leaders we can then midwife more mutually enhancing relationships within our sacred universe.
About the instructor
Toni Nash, CSJ is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet and teacher for over 50 years, a national lecturer, retreat director, and spiritual director. She has ministered on the faculty of a renewal program for Catholic religious and priests, and served in general leadership for her religious congregation. In 1994, Toni and three other Catholic sisters co-founded Sisters of Earth, an informal network of women from across the globe who share a deep concern for the ecological and spiritual crises of our times. Toni holds a doctorate in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. As a Religious Cosmologist, her work helps people to integrate their own religious traditions with the insights of contemporary science about the nature of the universe and the role of humans. Her current involvements include lectures and workshops on the Doctrine of Discovery and neo-colonialism. She’s also applying her work as a religious cosmologist to heal relationships with Native American communities affected by the boarding school era.
About Deeptime Network
This workshop is sponsored by the Deeptime Network (dtnetwork.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit registered in New Jersey, US, whose vision is a world in which an evolving interconnected universe, with its unique community of life on our home planet Earth, is a context for understanding, belonging, inspiration, decision-making and creating the future. For more information, write to email@example.com.
On July 14-28, our congregation will hold a Congregational Chapter, which takes place every six years. This gathering will involve more than 130 Sisters, associates, and support staff from across the United States, Japan and Peru traveling to St. Louis, Missouri. During the meeting, the Chapter body will create the “Acts of Chapter,” which are calls to action for our community. One of the Acts of Chapter from our last Congregational Chapter in 2013 called us to “act with urgency to protect [Earth’s] stability and integrity and to celebrate her beauty wherever we are.”
We know that climate change is at a crisis level on our planet and that all of our travel contributes to the problem. We also know that climate change is basically climate injustice because as we take advantage of convenient ways of travel, we simultaneously contribute to the conditions of climate disruption that disproportionately affect women, children, people of color, and other vulnerable groups.
By offsetting those emissions, we are acting concretely from our 2013 Acts of Chapter which call us to consider, “How does this decision/action impact the Earth community?” It is possible for us to make a significant contribution towards making our gathering carbon-neutral and therefore less of an injustice to our dear neighbors.
The following describes the efforts and actions that the congregation will be taking to offset the carbon footprints caused by our travel.
Our Congregational Chapter in St. Louis will necessitate a lot of travel for about 100 delegates, 22 from the Albany Province. Travel, especially by plane, creates a great deal of CO2. At this time when global warming is reaching critical levels, we need to take action to mitigate our impact on our Earth.
So what do you do when travel is imperative? Carbon offsets are part of the solution. According to Wikipedia, “Carbon offsets are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e). One tonne of carbon offset represents the reduction of one tonne of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.
There are two markets for carbon offsets. In the larger, compliance market, companies, governments, or other entities buy carbon offsets in order to comply with caps on the total amount of carbon dioxide they are allowed to emit. (These are caps agreed on in the Kyoto Protocol, for example.)
In the much smaller, voluntary market, individuals, companies, or governments purchase carbon offsets to mitigate their own greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity use, and other sources. For example, an individual might purchase carbon offsets to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by personal air travel. Carbon offset vendors offer direct purchase of carbon offsets, often also offering other services such as designating a carbon offset project to support or measuring a purchaser’s carbon footprint. In 2016, about $191.3 million of carbon offsets were purchased in the voluntary market, representing about 63.4 million metric tons of CO2e reductions” (Wikipedia, “Carbon Offsets”).
It is very exciting that voluntary carbon offsets are becoming so popular! After calculating our offsets, we learned that a round trip from Albany to St. Louis creates about 1,148 pounds of carbon dioxide and that our estimated offset cost for 22 delegates at $5.73 per trip would be about $127. (https://www.terrapass.com/calculate-carbon-offsets). This is an estimate because not everyone is flying from Albany and some trips necessitate two layovers, which create more carbon dioxide.
The really good news is that our Province Leadership Team has pledged $150 and the HomeLand Committee will give $200 toward offsets. This is more than double the actual cost of offsets!
It was decided that we would make this donation to Heifer International to plant trees in Heifer-sponsored projects. This really fulfills two goals: first, our offsets to mitigate greenhouse gases and second, our food focus since the trees will aid farmers in developing countries. According to Heifer International:
This tree gift includes seedlings and saplings of trees appropriate to the region. Recipients are educated on nurturing young trees and the importance of reforestation.
A family with a small orchard is able to supplement their diet with delicious fruits and vegetables while becoming self-reliant at the same time. Passing on the seedlings enables communities to continue the cycle of sustainability. Your plant a tree gift ensures a healthy, productive future while fighting poverty and hunger.
We are working to fulfill our call to action of the 2013 Chapter which challenges us “to ask in every deliberation, “How does this decision/action impact the Earth community.”
Each Congregational Chapter calls us to respond to the needs of the times. Within our provinces, we then “divide the city” and respond in diverse ways. This is exactly how a group of sisters, associates, and partners from across the Congregation responded to the 2013 Call “…to ask in every deliberation, ‘How does this decision/action impact the Earth community?'”
We met through Zoom to discuss one of our primary concerns: Climate Justice. We acknowledged our role in the injustices caused by a lifestyle that is degrading Earth systems and displacing Earth’s human and other-than-human communities. It became clear that our congregation must offset the carbon impact of our Congregational Chapter. We strategized ways to act locally regarding our carbon footprint and then went to our prospective province leadership teams to request action.
Here in the Los Angeles Province, we used a reliable carbon calculator to determine the tonnes of carbon released into Earth’s atmosphere because of our travel to and from Province Chapter. We will be doing the same for our travel to the Congregational Chapter in July. We then contributed the calculated amount (in dollars) to Community Healing Gardens in Santa Monica. They give a monthly harvest to the St. Joseph Center’s Bread and Roses Café where they serve over 100 meals to those who are homeless or transitioning back into society through their program. In addition, the Healing Gardens offer an urban school garden program. Urban gardening, removes carbon from the atmosphere, reducing the climate injustice caused by our travel activity.
Albany, St. Louis and St. Paul provinces have also offset their carbon footprint in diverse ways, according to the local needs. May we continue to “think congregational and act provincial” as we celebrate our diversity in communion within the Congregation of the Great Love of God.
What does CO2 have to do with our last Province Chapter?
One of the things we did at our last chapter was to count our carbon footprint in traveling back and forth to the meeting. We roughly put into the atmosphere 10 tons of CO2, which, believe it or not, was not as bad as we thought it was going to be. We did better because more people are carpooling, many people live in the St. Louis area, and we are purchasing hybrids and fuel-efficient cars.
But here’s a reality check: the average American releases between 16 and 20 metric tons of CO2 and in Peru the average household releases 1.8 metric tons of CO2.
So as you can see, we have a ways to go to be more sustainable. That is why we decided to purchase carbon offset credits.
What are carbon offset credits?
According to the Sierra Club, the term “offset” might imply that you are “neutralizing” the impact of your travel, and thus it has no impact. This is not the case. Once you have emitted carbon, it is released into the atmosphere, and you can’t “take it back.” What offsetting does is help reduce carbon emissions elsewhere.
The province has purchased carbon offsets from:
These donations do not make up for our carbon usage. It’s more of an investment in the future so that less carbon will be used in other parts of the world. It’s a way to remind each of us that how we live costs more to the environment than we realize.
Why not give Mother Earth a gift?
So why not give Mother Earth the gift of carbon offsets? Use the links above to visit the websites for the organizations from which the province chose to purchase carbon offsets. It’s simple, inexpensive, easy, and it says “I care about Earth!”
Thank you for caring for Creation today and every day!
St. Paul participates in the congregational action to mitigate our carbon footprint caused by travel to Congregational Chapter meetings in St. Louis. Fourteen delegates will travel by airplane and six will travel in three cars.
We will offset the carbon use by dedicating money to plant trees on our St. Paul campus woodland area. We will include a community ritual with an educational component at the time of planting.
Our vice-province of Peru is going to donate $100 toward local environmental projects where we are serving as Sisters of St. Joseph. One project will take place in Las Brisas where the Sisters are working with the parish community to add a garden area at the parish church. The other project is in the Canto Chico neighborhood in Lima, where our sisters will be involving the children in a project to plant trees in the neighborhood park. The children will learn how to care for the plants and will be responsible for watering and protecting the plants.