In response to the growing unrest over the election and the divide in our nation, we shared the statements put out by LCWR and the Federation to reflect on next steps to repair our democracy, eliminate white privilege and contribute to building a more perfect union. Additionally, we provided a Novena for Solidarity, Peace, and Justice. Our next step as we journey farther is to support H.R.1, the For the People Act, currently introduced as the first bill of this new legislative session. This bill addresses election reform, making it easier, not harder to vote; ending the dominance of big money in our politics, and ensuring public officials work for the public interest.
We are promoting three action items to support H.R.1:
We have prayed for peace and justice. Now it is time for us to act to address the systemic racism and injustice that have so negatively impacted our election laws. Together we can make a difference!
The first action is to contact your U.S.Representative in the United States Congress and ask them to co-sponsor this bill and support its rapid movement through the House Committee process. We have prepared a sample letter that you can edit and submit. Just fill out the form below, make any changes to the letter, and click “Send My Email” to send your email to your Representative.
Our second action is to increase public awareness of this bill by getting as many letters to the editor published as possible. Often receiving 10-12 letters from different people having similar concerns about an issue will be enough for editors to publish a single letter. We have prepared a sample letter to the editor for you to customize. Adding a response to an article in their paper helps them know you are a reader. Right now, there are many articles being published related to election reform, so this is a timely topic. Please fill out the brief form, choose which paper you want to contact from the list provided, edit the letter to include customizations, and click “Send My Letter” to send the letter.
Our third action is to encourage you to set up an online visit with your U.S. Representative or their aides to discuss the request that they co-sponsor a bill. Sometimes, we have gathered a group to attend this meeting. We have prepared a two-page position paper that will help you to be prepared for this visit. Sister Patty Johnson is available to help any group that feels like they need a subject matter specialist to help them be prepared to meet with their Representative. She can even attend your meeting if it gives you more confidence. We will plan visits with our Senators at a later time when this bill is being considered in the Senate.
by Therese Sherlock, CSJ
No one tells the stories of the family of Joseph better than Mary McGlone, CSJ. There isn’t a sister-founder or foundation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States that you can’t find engagingly described in Mary’s two-volume history. Because this project was commissioned and published by the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Mary’s research goes beyond Carondelet and shows how far the charism has taken all Sisters of St. Joseph who have roots in Father Medaille’s Little Design.
Anything of Which a Woman Is Capable: A History of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States, Volume I, published in 2017, dashes through every foundation the sisters made from 1836 to 1920. Mary’s new book, Called Forth by the Dear Neighbor: Volume II of the History of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States, hot off the press in January 2021, is its sequel. In this new volume, Mary profiles congregations more fully, exploring their history through the lens of a distinguishing ministry, a founder or a location, an irreconcilable conflict or an opportunity too good to pass up. The reader meets many “characters,” as the old nuns used to call them, women unstoppable in their desire to see their visions fulfilled.
As an example of how foundations quickly branched out, Mary tells the story of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brooklyn (later Brentwood) who were founded in 1856 by sisters from Philadelphia and Buffalo, one of whom hailed from Carondelet. Brooklyn grew quickly, and they were able to send sisters to Boston in 1869, and a few years later other sisters went to Rutland, Vermont, and Baden, Pennsylvania. These three communities became diocesan, a regular occurrence in this period when American bishops were judged by the number of Catholic schools and other institutions they had in their dioceses. The drama of sisters vs. bishop in Boston could easily be a miniseries on Netflix.
Mary describes vividly how the Buffalo congregation continued our foundational ministry to people who are deaf. Orange, California, founded from La Grange, became known for health care. The four Carondelet provinces each established one or more colleges. Many CSSJ congregations sent sisters to serve outside the continental United States—Japan, China, Peru, Hawai’i, Australia, to name a few.
Bringing the story into the late 20th and 21st centuries, Mary chronicles the rise of the sister formation program, the post-Vatican II period which challenged everything we thought was immutable in religious life, the gathering together in the Federation, the merging of congregations and the foundation of the Congregation of St. Joseph, the emergence of new ministries, a growing awareness of our unity in our diversity. The last sections of this book bring us back to LePuy and to our sisters in the global community.
This is such a good read, you will want to get your own copy. For now, you can order one directly from Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org. It should be available as an e-book in about six weeks, and we will keep you posted when it is available.
In 2010, our congregation’s communication directors from the four provinces collaborated to plan, develop and implement a new ministry to accept online prayer requests from anywhere in the world: Prayers Please.
At the time, they created a free prayer request app to take advantage of emerging technology to meet the need for a quick and easy way for people on the go to request prayers from the sisters. Ten years later, the need for prayer remains the same, but technology has evolved. With the ease of accessing mobile-friendly websites, we have concluded that the app is no longer necessary to continue the Prayers Please ministry. We will be retiring the app as of March 31.
Of course, the ministry continues! We always accept prayer requests through our website at: csjcarondelet.org/we-pray-for-you/.
We thank the John, Marie and Joseph Whalen Foundation, Inc. for their support of the Prayers Please app, the talented web developers who kept it functioning over the years, our communicators for keeping the ministry active, and our sisters for the prayers that are the heart of the ministry.
If you use the prayer app, you may miss being able to access the prayer request form with one tap. It’s simple to add a shortcut to the webpage on your smartphone or tablet, which will act similarly to the app. Just follow the instructions below.
The U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph condemns the violence at the U.S. Capitol yesterday. As members of the Federation, we join them in this public statement.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in praying for peace after witnessing the violence and terrorism yesterday in our nation’s Capitol. We are deeply concerned about the state of our country and the future of our democracy. Our hearts ached as we watched white nationalists participate in these despicable actions that threaten not only to destroy our government but to rend the bonds that unite us. We commend and thank the members of Congress and staff who courageously continued their service to the nation last night even amid the chaos, as well as the law enforcement who helped protect and secure the building so the members could resume their responsibilities.
In our increasingly divided nation, we are saddened but not surprised by the predictable outcome of yesterday’s events. The Federation renews our Gospel Charism and commitment to being a unifying presence in the world through appreciation of diversity, transformation, and healing.
At this time, we feel each of us are asked to pause, reflect, and grapple with the history and legacy that brought us to this historic moment of white domestic terrorists attempting to take over our legislative branch. As Christians, we cannot ignore the images of the cross and flags bearing Jesus’ name that peppered yesterday’s scene. We cannot ignore the juxtaposition of the law enforcement response to yesterday’s violence at the Capitol versus the violence inflicted on Black Lives Matter protestors in June. We invite all people of good will to reflect on the next steps we must take to repair our democracy, eliminate white privilege, and contribute to the work of building a more perfect union.
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and our associates live, minister and travel in all corners of the world. To help us see just how far we reach, we’ve recruited an old friend of ours. Mother St. John Fontbonne helped the Sisters of St. Joseph survive persecution during the French Revolution, and she sent the first sisters to the Americas, where they settled in Carondelet, Missouri. She remains a guiding light for our sisters, so we think it’s fitting to take her on some of our travels.
Meet Flat Fontbonne! Inspired by the children’s book series about Flat Stanley, Flat Fontbonne will help us see just how far our congregation reaches.
The idea is simple:
When you see a picturesque opportunity, snap a selfie with her, then send it to us for our #FlatFontbonne photo collection. You can either email it to email@example.com or share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtag #FlatFontbonne, so we see it!