News and Events
the MORE… Online Updates Volume 5.1.10 September 23, 2020
Artifacts Celebrating the Foundation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston
by Katie McNally, CSJ Archivist
At the turn of next month, the Sisters of St. Joseph celebrate their foundation in Boston 147 years ago. The sisters were sought after by Rev. Thomas Magennis, founder of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain, after he witnessed their teaching ministry in New York. In early October of 1873, Sr. Mary Regis Casserly and three other sisters answered the official call from Archbishop John Williams to serve the children of working-class immigrants.
The first classes took place in the basement of the church, with 200 girls enrolled. Boys were added in 1877, becoming the first co-educational parochial school in New England. Mother Mary Regis Casserly struggled against pressure to quickly fill teaching positions in the growing parochial schools, insisting her sister-teachers be professionally trained before entering the classroom. She collaborated with the Boston Normal School and Harvard University to provide training for the sisters so that their instructional methods and qualifications matched those in the successful public school system.
“The zeal and devotion of the nuns in guiding and administering the spiritual and educational needs of their pupils require no elaboration. The success of their endeavors stands on its own record.” ̍
By 1898, the school was flourishing and the sisters were celebrating 25 years in Boston, their Silver Jubilee. Archbishop Williams presided over the events, joined by the Archdiocesan Chancellor and reverends representing various local parochial schools and American universities. Present at the celebration were many of those who had a hand in the original foundation twenty-five years earlier.
Stay tuned for Part 2…
̍Saint Thomas Aquinas: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Centennial publication, 1970.
Audio Series: CSJ Boston Heritage Moments
Love and Service of the Dear Neighbor without Distinction has been a core value of the Sisters of St. Joseph since the beginning. During this autumn season, we celebrate CSJ Heritage moments on October 2 [Boston Founders’ Day in 1873] and October 15 [LePuy, France, Founders’ Day in 1650].
In preparation for these events, we asked some of our sisters, associates, agrégées, and partners in mission to tell how they live this core value. Leanne Nassise, one of our Executive Secretaries, shares her CSJ Boston story. Click here to view video.
Life Lessons as a CSJ Virtual Social Media Intern
by Garine Minassian, Regis College, ‘21
My name is Garine Minassian. I am a senior at Regis College majoring in Communications. Since June, I have worked with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston as a social media marketing virtual intern. While working closely with Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, I have learned more about the sisters and how their message of gracious hospitality, peaceful resolution of conflict, and care for all of God’s creation, as well as love and service to the “dear neighbor without distinction” permeate everything.
While growing up in the Armenian Apostolic Church, we were taught many of the same values. It has been a long time since I have been to church, or related closely to religion, but working with the sisters has helped me shape my under
standing of these core values and relate them to my own life as a spiritual, but not religious person. The values of the Sisters of St. Joseph are ones of humanity, love, and kindness for all of life’s creation. Though these values have been instilled in me since I was younger, in today’s world it can be easy to lose sight of these teachings. While I am not religious, the lessons I have learned while working with the Sisters of St. Joseph are ones that I will hold dear to me throughout my life as I try to be the best person I can be, and to treat others with the same care and dignity.
Associates Continuing Involvement Despite COVID-19 Restrictions
by Mary Ellen O’Connell, CSJ
It has been a unique summer – a season of COVID-19 anxiety – a time of uncertainty and overwhelming political, social, and economic upheaval. How fitting is our CSJ Associate theme for the coming year: Rooted in Faith, Living in Hope: Wisdom for Challenging Times!
Many associates took the opportunity to gather this summer on a series of Zoom calls, and 38 participated at least once. These meetings were wonderful opportunities to connect, share stories, and offer support to one another during these days of isolation and distancing.
Despite restrictions and travel bans during the summer, associates continued their involvement in a variety of social action initiatives. Many associates, including Mary McShane, Mary MacGillivray, Judy Swett, Kathy Tighe and Rose Yesu were active participants in the Postcard to Voters campaign – sending postcards to residents of various states, urging voter registration before our November election.
On Saturday, September 12, approximately 45 associates, sisters and agrégées will participated in our first Zoom Associate Meeting of the year. We enjoyed this opportunity to gather once again for moments of conversation, prayer,