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, Vocations

Sisters Carol Brong, Jeanne Marie Gocha and Chizuru Yamada with a painting of the Trek of the Seven Sisters at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona.


“After bidding adieu to our good Sisters in Carondelet, we started on our long and perilous journey to Arizona.” (Sister Monica Corrigan, Trek of the Seven Sisters)


by Jeanne Marie Gocha, CSJ

In some ways, there are a lot of similarities between the journey of Monica Corrigan and her six companions to Tucson, Arizona and the journey Sisters Carol Brong, Chizuru Yamada and I began on March 27th of this year. Both required a spirit of adventure, complete trust in God’s providential graces, the support of our Sisters and a reliance on the goodness of those we journey with to begin a new mission within the congregation.

Though Carol and I prepared for months to welcome Chizuru Yamada into the newly formed Congregational Novitiate here in Porter Ranch, California, it all became real when Sister Miriam Ukeritis, in the name of the Congregation, accepted Chizuru Yamada’s request to enter into the next step of her discernment journey to become a Sister of St Joseph of Carondelet. The candidate became a novice whom we now call “Sister.”

After celebrating the Triduum and great feast of Easter, our first “field trip” took place as we set out on a “half Trek,” echoing the trek of seven Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet to begin a mission in Tuscon in 1870. We drove out to Phoenix to celebrate with Sister Adele O’Sullivan and other Sisters in the annual Circle the City Tea. Then we took some time to see for ourselves the wonderful ministries that Circle the City supports to serve the homeless population of Phoenix.

Sister Mary Murphy, the aficionado of the history of our first sisters in the West, joined us to begin a “mini-Trek” through the deserts between Phoenix and Tucson to visit the holy places where our early Sisters first ministered back in the 1870s, some of which continue today. We rested at Picacho Peak, felt the presence of our early Sisters as we prayed in the chapels of St. John’s in Komatke and San Xavier del Bac, and experienced first-hand how our charism continues to be lived in the staff and patients at St Mary’s Hospital in Tucson. Our journey was sweetened by the gracious hospitality of our Sisters in Tucson: Marge Foppe, Michelle Humke, Irma Odabashian, and Barbara Sullivan. A wonderful mixture of past history and present realities all lived for the sake of the Mission!

Returning home, novitiate life began to find its rhythm of prayer, classes, community life, and personal reflection. Sister Darlene Kawulok offered Chizuru insightful classes on Vatican II and its documents. Sister Ingrid Honore-Lallande shared her expertise on Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment. We are in the midst of weekly classes with Sister Anne Hennessey, CSJ from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange on Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille and our first Sisters in France in the 1600s.

We grow in relationships with those who come share a meal and insights too. The Northridge Caritas community of Associates meet at Caritas for their monthly gatherings. A Readers Circle of Sisters meets monthly for a meal and sharing highlights of their latest spiritual reading. There is also a Friday night gathering once a month of Sisters who come for dinner and theological reflection.

Sally Koch, a candidate here in Los Angeles, will join us in July as a novice. Both novices will be heading out to Rochester to participate in the Federation Novitiate beginning in August. Though you all can’t come to visit, share a meal, or teach a class, we certainly need and rely on your prayer-filled support. We promise you our prayer-filled support in return and will keep you updated on our journey.

“Now that we are settled in our new home, we trust our good Sisters will continue to pray for us, recommending the success of our mission… to our dear Lord, to the end that we may labor earnestly to promote His greater glory, and have this, alone, in view, in all our undertakings.” (Sister Monica Corrigan, Trek of the Seven Sisters)

Sisters Carol Brong and Chizuru Yamada prepare for their journey creating a timeline of events of our early sisters. and missions.


Off we go! Sisters Jeanne Marie Gocha, Carol Brong and Chizuru Yamada begin their “half trek” to Arizona.


Sisters Mary Murphy, Carol Brong, and Chizuru Yamada at St. John’s Mission in Komatke, Arizona.


Sister Adele O’Sullivan tells stories of patients who have received care at the Medical Respite Center for those experiencing homelessness in Phoenix.

   June 1st, 2018      Posted In: Congregation, Featured Stories, General, In The News, Vocations


The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have recently welcomed three new candidates to our congregation! Sally Koch, Tracy Watson and Chizuru Yamada were all able to meet each other and join a huge delegation of our sisters, associates and partners in ministry at the Sisters of St. Joseph Federation Event in Orlando, Florida in July. The three of them come to us from different corners of the world—New York, Nebraska and Japan—but they are united in a draw to our charism of “love of God and love of dear neighbor without distinction.” We are excited to share each of their stories with you.

Sally Koch (pronounced “cook”) joined our congregation as a candidate in May. She found us in a truly millennial way: via Google Search.

About two and a half years ago, Sally was starting to feel more open to a call to religious life. “I’d been having a voice in the back of my head like ‘maybe you could do that,’ and I just squashed it down, didn’t want to do that, got angry at God and all that. And finally I was like, you know if this is where I’m going to be most fulfilled and my best self, why am I holding myself back?” So Sally began googling to find a spiritual director. “It was kind of a two-fold thing,” she said. “I wanted a spiritual director, but why not get a spiritual director from a place where I could possibly see myself?”

Sally grew up on a small family dairy farm in Nebraska. She, her parents, two brothers and a sister lived right across from her grandparents. “It was definitely a lot of community living and teamwork,” she said. “Looking back, I’ve lived in community my entire life. That sense of belonging is really deep within me.”

After receiving a degree in psychology with a minor in music from the University of South Dakota, Sally headed for the coasts to serve. First, she was placed at a L’Arche house in Jacksonville, Florida by Catholic Volunteers in Florida, where she stayed for two years. Then she joined the Vincentian Service Corps and served in Santa Barbara, California for another year. Following her volunteer work, she earned her Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from Santa Clara University in California. From there, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and then for United Cerebral Palsy.

An attraction to St. Joseph and the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph brought Sally to Los Angeles this summer. After job searching for two months, one of the sisters she lives in community with was able to give her a lead that led her to a position as Campus Minister and College Counselor at St. Joseph’s High School in L.A. “I literally couldn’t ask for a better position than to be there because what I felt then and what I hear from other people is that CSJ charism just oozes out of that school.”

   August 19th, 2016      Posted In: Congregation, Featured Stories, Vocations


The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have recently welcomed three new candidates to our congregation! Sally Koch, Tracy Watson and Chizuru Yamada were all able meet each other and to join a huge delegation of our sisters, associates and partners in ministry at the Sisters of St. Joseph Federation Event in Orlando, Florida in July. The three of them come to us from different corners of the world—New York, Nebraska and Japan—but they are united in a draw to our charism of “love of God and love of dear neighbor without distinction.” We are excited to share each of their stories with you.

Chizuru Yamada grew up in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, as an only child. Compared to her quiet childhood home, living in community now with eight of our sisters in Tsu, Japan has been a challenge, but a good one. “I lived by myself for many years, and this is my first experience living with others,” she said. “Community life is sometimes happy, sometimes difficult.”

After studying chemistry at the University of Tokyo Agriculture and Technology, Chizuru has led an interesting life with many different jobs. She has worked as a recording engineer, a chemical researcher and a Catholic correspondence course teacher. Her favorite job was as the editor of a Catholic encyclopedia, which she did for three years.

She first met two Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet at a bible study at her church about 25 years ago. Later in life, as she practiced the Ignatian Spirituality Exercises, she heard God inviting her to become a sister. Answering that call, she became a candidate one year ago. “I admire the sisters because they are free. While they are part of society, their hearts and minds are free.”

Last year, Chizuru worked as a volunteer librarian at St. Joseph Joshi Gakuen, our high school in Japan. She hopes to eventually work as a spiritual director.

Chizuru came to the United States in June to attend the Sisters of St. Joseph Federation Event in Orlando. At the event, she said she was moved by the themes of reconciliation and unity. “It does not mean making everything the same. It means ‘respecting diversity.’ We are different from each other. We are important to each other. So we must have conversation again and again, and we must listen to another one’s voice.”

Now, she is now spending three months at Holy Family Center in Los Angeles improving her English. She sees this opportunity to travel in the United States as a way for her to connect with sisters. “I want to be a bridge between diverse cultures and generations,” she said. “God invited me to be a bridge between people.”

   August 17th, 2016      Posted In: Congregation, Featured Stories, Vocations

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