Catholic Sisters Week – March 8-14 
Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston: Responding to Evolving Needs

Fifty-two weeks a year Catholic sisters stand with the poor and immigrants, teach children, fight injustice, heal the sick, share spirituality, empower women, defend the planet, promote peace, create community, offer hope. But for one week, March 8-14, groups around the world are shedding the spotlight on women religious. Catholic Sisters Week 2020 is an opportunity to shine a light on the spirituality, mission and community building of women religious and celebrate how they respond to evolving needs.

View this brief video for Catholic Sisters Week 

Catholic Sisters Week 2020 is an opportunity to shine a light on the spirituality, mission and community building of women religious. For Sisters of St. Joseph and those who partner with us, these initiatives have been alive and expanding since our humble beginnings in Le Puy, France.

We Sisters of St. Joseph began our growth in 17th century France amid an era not unlike today. It was a time of paradox, disharmony, and extreme poverty among the ordinary people of society. In the midst of this misery, our first sisters came together with one desire: to respond to the needs of their city by uniting neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God. 

For years, I have been in awe of our founding sisters. They cooperated with God’s grace and had the imagination to pray into existence the vision and spirit of our congregation. But they didn’t stop there. They possessed courage to create something out of seemingly nothing; something that endures. Finally, they had the fidelity to stick with that founding vision and spirit [we often call it “charism”]as it grew, expanded, and changed with changing needs of changing times.

What does this have to do with Catholic sisters in 2020? As you continue to read, be attentive to what is happening today among Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston and others impelled by the grace of our charism of unifying love. Notice how this courage, creativity, and fidelity continues. For example, our four congregation ministries are constantly imagining new ways to meet the evolving needs of those we serve in a manner that calls us to be a visible sign of God’s presence and active love.

The Literacy Connection, begun by four sisters in 1987, continues to grow. Sisters, associates, and ministry partners remain committed to respond to the needs of adult immigrants and refugees seeking assistance with English Language skills and citizenship preparation. Through The Literacy Connection we match dedicated volunteer tutors with those eager to learn.

Casserly House, founded in 2000 and located in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, provides learning experiences and caring support services to Roslindale’s multicultural community, encouraging those who walk through the door to nurture their individual gifts and potential. English language instruction and after school tutoring are the primary programs while being a caring, compassionate, and trusted presence in the neighborhood is essential to the manner in which we further the mission of unifying love at Casserly House. 

The Women’s Table, which began in 2008, serves women from all walks of life; young, homeless moms living in shelters, older women grieving the loss of a spouse, mothers of children with special needs, immigrant women in search of community, and many, many more. Like our first sisters, we constantly assess the changing needs of the neighborhood and respond in a manner that empowers women in a climate of inclusion, trust, and welcome.

St. Joseph Spiritual Ministries, our newest ministry, is located in Newton. Through this ministry we continue the mission of St. Joseph Retreat Center which closed in 2016. Aware of the spiritual hungers of our time, the staff welcomes women and men of all faith traditions and cultures who seek a deeper relationship with God, self and all creation. In collaboration with other dedicated people, we are committed to offering spiritual direction and a variety of spiritual opportunities for individuals and groups.

In addition, we sponsor seven other ministries in the Boston area including Regis College in Weston, Bethany Health Care Center and Bethany Hill Place, both in Framingham, Fontbonne, the Early College of Boston in Milton, St. Joseph Preparatory High School in Brighton, and the Jackson and Walnut Park Schools in Newton.

Our first sisters went into the neighborhoods of Le Puy, France, noticed the spiritual and material hunger in the lives of those around them, and responded by offering all they had in a spirit of outpouring love. Today, the landscape may look different, the resources needed are different, yet those who know in their hearts that this spirit of unifying love impels them to action continue to serve every kind of “dear neighbor” without distinction.