News & Events
Sisters of St. Joseph Join in a World-wide Celebration of Catholic Sisters Week
Imagine a place where six women of varied ages and backgrounds travel quietly around their neighborhood noticing the needs of the underserved. And imagine the desire burning in their hearts that compelled them to commit their lives to respond to those needs in a manner that united neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God. This is how the Sisters of St. Joseph began in 1650 in the city of Le Puy-en-Velay, France. This tradition and the commitment of the Sisters of St. Joseph and their partners in mission and many other congregations of Catholic sisters who continue to respond to changing needs is what Catholic Sisters Week celebrates.
As of 2022, what began with six women enflamed with God’s inclusive love, has expanded to what we now call The Global Joseph Family and includes 11,000 sisters, 5,666 associates and 46 agrégées ministering in 52 countries. There are 16 congregations of Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States alone, among them is our Boston congregation. As we celebrate Catholic Sisters Week 2022, we join in a world-wide network of influence that includes congregations of Catholic sisters throughout the world. The particular focus of Catholic Sisters Week 2022 is “Caring for Earth Caring for You”. During the week of March 8-14, communities of Catholic Sisters are joining voices with events, prayers, calls to action, social media campaigns and more focused on Care of Earth. The goal is to make a difference that will have a global long-term impact. Learn more about this at https://catholicsistersweek.org/events/
You may ask, “Why this particular focus?” Pope Francis has said, “today we are not living an era of change, but a change of era. The situations we live in today, therefore, pose new challenges…”  In 2022, we continue the tradition of our first sisters to assess the needs around us and reach out to the “dear neighbor without distinction”. Today, one need that cannot be ignored is the cry of Earth, our common home. In May of 2021, the Vatican department for Promoting Integral Human Development launched a seven-year journey to address our care for creation by calling the universal church to take concrete steps toward a sustainable future in the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’. The plan outlines seven broad goals: Response to the Cry of Earth; Response to the Cry of the Poor; Ecological Economics; Simple Lifestyles; Ecological Education; Ecological Spirituality; and Community Involvement and Participatory Action that will focus our common journey.
The participation of religious congregations throughout the world in this journey, known as the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, is built on three pillars: public commitment to the seven-year journey; transition to integral ecology; and networking and advocacy for systemic change at the local, national and international levels.  So many of the challenges of this moment in history are interconnected – hunger, disease, migration, racism, trafficking of humans, diminishing resources and more. These challenges affect us all. Unfortunately the most vulnerable suffer disproportionately. And so, during the week of March 8-14, Catholic Sisters and their partners in mission call special attention to this call of Pope Francis.
How are the Boston Sisters of St. Joseph doing this? In October 2021, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston publically committed to join the worldwide Catholic community in responding to Pope Francis’ appeal to participate in this seven-year journey toward sustainability and integral ecology. In so doing, we are committed to find ways to join our voices in a world-wide network of influence.
On April 12, 1992, as individuals, as local communities, as a Congregation, as people of the earth, in the spirit of our charism of unity and reconciliation, we called ourselves to transformation of our relationship with Earth and all creation. This call, while prophetic in 1992, continues to empower us to today and has been an excellent resource in our discernment for how we will move into the future caring for our common home. On November 14, 2021, the World Day of the Poor, we entered into a discernment process about the specific nature of personal and communal participation in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
In 1650, the ethos of the time required that our first sisters respond to the needs of the neighborhood in unobtrusive ways. While our hearts’ desire to unify a broken fragile world has not changed; what has changed is the network of influence and communication through which our voice can be heard globally to make a difference in the lives and hearts of those with whom we minister, and in the life and heart of the world. You, too, can be part of this network of caring for Earth. You can partner with us not only to celebrate traditions but also change the world. Learn more at: https://www.csjboston.org/
By Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, Director of Communications, Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston