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.
Our newest candidate, Iffat Peter, began her candidacy in the Albany Province during a prayer service on June 11, 2020 at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham, New York. The prayer was prepared by the Initial Membership Coordinating Group whose members include Sisters Rose Casaleno, Linda Neil, Ranah Phelan, and Nancy Schmidt.
Here is a bit of biographical information about Iffat. You will be delighted to get to know her as time goes on!
Name: Iffat Peter
Place of Birth: Sindh Province in southeast Pakistan
Current Home: St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham, New York
Education: Master’s Degree in Education
Family: Both of my parents have died. I have two older sisters and one younger sister, all in Pakistan, and relatives in Canada. My niece, Blessy, is a graduate student in Springfield, Missouri.
Occupation: I worked for multinational corporations with home bases in Great Britain and Canada.
Guiding factors in considering religious life: I was very active in my home parish (St. Francis Solanus) in Pakistan where I worked with children and the elderly, was a sacristan and a religious education teacher and coordinated peace and justice activities. I realized that God might be calling me to serve God’s people by sharing my gifts as a sister.
What attracted you to our congregation? I was introduced to the Sisters of St. Joseph through a friend I knew from Pakistan. I contacted the sisters in Latham and began to get to know them over two years ago. Being with the sisters has only deepened my desire to be a Sister of St. Joseph.
What are your hopes? My personal hope is perhaps to evangelize through technology and also serve person-to-person in whatever ways God is calling me to use my gifts. I am so excited now to be taking the first “official” step on my journey to becoming a Sister of St. Joseph! Please remember me in prayer.
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!