Love that Impels, the CSJ Heritage Videos

Each year, on October 2 and October 15 we celebrate two significant events in our CSJ history. October 2, 1873 is the day when the first four Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Boston. October 15, 1650, more than two centuries earlier, marks the official founding of the Sisters of St. Joseph by six sisters in Le Puy, France. To mark these anniversaries, we have developed brief videos in which Sisters Betsy Conway, Jeanmarie Gribaudo, and Pat Andrews speak about what impels them now continue the tradition of our mission of unifying love and share it with others.


October 2, 1873 – Arrival in Boston

When the first Sisters of Saint Joseph arrived in Boston, they found a city filled with new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe who had joined the Irish immigrants, the major immigrant population of the city, from the 1840’s to the late 1870’s. Boston in the late 18th century was not unlike the 17th century France of their roots. Unemployment, poverty, and illness marked the daily life of the working classes. The same climate of social injustices that characterized LePuy, France, existed in Boston.

Oftentimes, the sisters responded in hidden and unnoticed ways to the needs of the Dear Neighbor sisters labored to provide an alternative education system based on Christian values and strived always for excellence tempered with gentleness. Read more on our website at

Our Mission and Spirit Continues

Similar to the milieu of our founding sisters, our present reality is marked by paradox and tension. In a world growing smaller every day, we are confronted with the horrible gaps between the rich and the poor, the enslaved and the free, the old and the young. In the midst of this, we feel anew the call of our charism, to be women of unifying love and reconciliation.

We continue to live among the people and offer our lives in love and service. We, Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, carry on the heritage of our foundresses, six French women who joined a Jesuit priest in 1650 to begin a community without cloister or habit, devoted to the needs of their neighbors. Today we continue our profound desire for union with God and the “dear neighbor” without distinction. Read more on our website at

October 15 Beginnings in Le Puy, France

If every age has its own paradoxes, seventeenth century France in which we had our beginnings was certainly no exception. On the one hand, it was an age of hierarchy and order, a period dominated by classical harmony and external propriety. On the other hand, this century had seen thirty years of war (1618 – 1648) which left in its wake a population reduced to a struggle for existence. Widows and orphans, especially, suffered from famine, disease, and poverty.

In the midst of this misery, the Spirit brought together the Jesuit missionary, Jean Pierre Médaille, and a group of women who shared a compassion for their neighbors and a conviction that their own salvation, service to those in need, and proclaiming the glory of God were one and the same.  This Little Design began quietly in small towns of south central France. It spread unobtrusively for 150 years and after the French Revolution it blossomed, grew, and changed in ways previously undreamed of. (1) As Médaille encouraged, they went about this work doing anything of which a woman is capable. Read more on our website at

[1] Based on Mary M. McGlone, CSJ, Anything of Which a Woman Is Capable, © 2017, U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph