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


A reflection by Sister Judy Molosky, CSJ (above center)

Look for this post on the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph blog

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!

   December 10th, 2018      Posted In: Congregation, Featured Stories, In The News, Justice, Los Angeles


Get On the Bus, a ministry founded by two of our Sisters in California was recently featured in a wonderful documentary short on the New York Times website. This ministry helps children visit their incarcerated parents in California prisons.

Read more about Get On the Bus

See the video on nytimes.com

   May 22nd, 2017      Posted In: Los Angeles, New York


On April 11, Sisters Teresa Harpin (right) and Theresa Lynch (left) began a pilgrimage from the Basilica of San Francisco in Assisi, Italy) to Rome. For 13 days, they walked through every type of terrain on the Via Francigena di San Francesco covering 150 miles! The Sisters’ path followed the footsteps of St. Francis from his home in Assisi to the gates of the Vatican. They capped off the trip on April 26 by attending an audience with Pope Francis where they sat within a few feet of the pontiff!

   May 4th, 2017      Posted In: In The News, Los Angeles


Sister Michelle Humke Receives Preceptor Award from Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers

The Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers has given Sister Michelle, Humke, CSJ, the Preceptor of the Year Award. This honor recognizes a preceptor who has excelled in the training of students and residents. The award recipient is someone who has a sustained record of significant contributions to training in the role of preceptor and mentor; and has a track record of having a positive influence on future healthcare clinicians.

Sister Michelle heads the Behavioral Health Department at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center in Tucson, Arizona. Though the center has three paid staff and several professional volunteers, the majority of the care is provided by her team of clinically supervised interns.

“Sister Michelle is definitely always available to lend a guiding hand and is incredibly knowledgeable,” says Greg Smith, MSW of Arizona State University-Tucson. “Her holistic view of providing integrated care, her patience and love of teaching has influenced so many careers.” Congratulations, Sister Michelle!

   March 20th, 2017      Posted In: In The News, Los Angeles


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