The Catholic Mirror November 2013 : Page 4

4 Graced by God’s great love The ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph continue to bear fruit in our diocese Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell, Bishop of Springfield The The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield W reflections in the mirror Most Reverend Timothy A. McDonnell PUBLISHER MANAGING EDITOR hen seven Sisters of St. Joseph from Flushing, N.Y., arrived in western Massachusetts in 1880, no one could have foreseen the wonders that would be accomplished through their efforts and the efforts of all who followed in their footsteps. At the start, here in the Springfield Diocese, the sisters were focused primarily on education. And for the most part it was a focus on primary education. But within a year after the establishment of the Springfield community, Mother Mary Cecilia Bowen, founding superior, assigned sisters to a new high school, Cathedral by name. From those humble beginnings, hundreds of Sisters of St. Joseph have taught and mentored generations of Cathedral students. They have impacted for the better the lives of generations. Higher education followed at the College of Our Lady of the Elms, and for generations the sisters educated at every level. But times change and the Sisters of St. Joseph responded with faith and vigor. The Second Vatican Council challenged religious communities “to reflect seriously and actively so as to discover how their institute could and should be adapted ever more perfectly to the continuously changing circumstances of their own times.” Looking back to their roots, the Sisters of St. Joseph began the process of reexamining their lives, their ministries, their charisms. There were more changes in religious life in the few years following the council than had occurred in centuries before: new ministries and new ways of living community, new understanding of how to live a vowed life in a varied world. There were adaptations. But through it all, the Sisters of St. Joseph relied on their two-fold strength: love of God and love of neighbor. In the years since the council, there’s no question that the numbers of religious have declined, but the ministries that impact people’s lives have increased, graced by God’s great love. Schools may no longer be the prime ministry in which sisters are engaged, but sisters are engaged in education in new and exciting ways: religious education and Homework House are but two examples. Ministry with the poor and with the elderly has expanded tremendously. And a new ministry has grown almost unnoticed: the ministry of presence. There are Sisters of St. Joseph today who no longer find themselves able to undertake what are considered active ministries. They may be sick, infirm, or of an age when exertion is difficult, but they have become the prayer powerhouse for the community and for all of us. Their presence, their peace, their pleasure in the simplest of things radiates, making an impact far beyond words. They are there for the rest of us, and thank God they are. They may consider what they do now as small, but what abundant fruit they are responsible for. The great contributions made by the Sisters of St. Joseph to Catholic schools over the years remain part of the history of so many of our Catholic people who remember fondly the sisters who taught them in elementary and high schools, and at Our Lady of the Elms. The parish services that so many sisters have performed as directors of religious education and in catechetical ministry, as well as the services performed by sisters who have acted as parish ministers in so many of our locales, con-tinue to bring the spiritual and corporal works of mercy to innumerable people. The adminis-trative offices in the diocese filled by Sisters of St. Joseph over the years have made a difference in the complexion of the entire diocese. In a special way, all that has been accomplished at Mont Marie has offered a full spectrum of services to senior citizens: from the senior residence, to the supported living complex, to the nursing facility which has received the highest commendation possible from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The outreach by the Sisters of St. Joseph to senior citizens has been wonderful. I know I’m missing ministries as I go through the list, but just highlighting a few of them helps to say how important the sisters have been to the life of the diocese. There is no adequate way of expressing the thanks and appreciation of the people of western Massachusetts and beyond for all of the service. But in this month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, thanks can be made to the sisters as in our parishes we take a special collection for the Sisters of St. Joseph who have served, do serve, and will continue to serve us so well. Mark Dupont EDITOR Rebecca Drake Elizabeth Gaulin ADVERTISING DATABASE COORDINATOR Stacy Dibbern CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Tom Gennara William Pacocha Fred LeBlanc (cover photo) Julie Beaulieu Teri Breguet Rebecca Drake Dr. Cathleen McGreal Terence Hegarty Paul Jarzembowski Elizabeth Johnson Stephen Kiltonic Father Joseph Krupp Carolee McGrath Sharon Roulier Michelle Sessions DiFranco Susie Skowronek Peggy Weber CONTRIBUTING WRITERS November 2013 • Vol. 4: Iss. 3 FAITH Catholic PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Patrick M. O’Brien Elizabeth Martin Solsburg EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Lynne Hsu GRAPHIC DESIGNER InnerWorkings PRINT MANAGEMENT The Catholic Mirror (USPS 556980) is a membership publication of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, 65 Elliot St., Springfield, MA 01105. Published eight times per year. Subscription rates are $20 per year. Individual issues are $3. Send all subscription information and address changes to: The Catholic Mirror, Catholic Diocese of Springfield, 65 Elliot St., Springfield, MA 01105; (413) 452-0670 or e-mail Periodicals postage paid at Springfield, MA or additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Catholic Mirror, Catholic Communications Corporation, Catholic Diocese of Springfield, 65 Elliot St., Springfield, MA 01105. ©The Catholic Mirror, Catholic Communications Corporation, Diocese of Springfield. ©2013 FAITH Catholic. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, virgin Nov. 18 | Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Nov. 21 | St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr Nov. 22 | Blessed Miguel Austin Pro,

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