St. Louis Welcomes Chilean Familia de San Jose

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

L-R: S. Maureen Murphy, Albany, Joan Pauly Schneider, St. Paul, Jorge Valdes, Talca, Chile, S. Catherine McNamee, CLT, Peggy Maguire, St. Louis, Mary Kaye Medinger, St. Paul, Dianne Nelson, Los Angeles, Maria Araya, Talca, Chile

In addition to hosting the meeting of Congregational Directors of Association, St. Louis Province had the pleasure of hosting Maria Araya and Jorge Valdes.  They came to participate in our meetings as representatives of the Familia de San Jose in Chile, but they came early to experience both the ministry of the Sisters in the St. Louis Province and St. Louis itself. 

With the help of our many drivers and hostesses, we kept them busy!  We also kept Sister Catherine McNamee busy as she served as the translator throughout the visit, translating constantly from English to Spanish for Maria and Jorge and then from Spanish to English for the rest of us.  Fortunately, S. Rita McCormick was a wonderful addition as a translator. 

The first evening they met with the Delphine Associate Community for Sharing of the Heart and some wonderful “getting to know you” time.  They visited with S. Jean Abbott at the Center for Survivors of Torture and War; with S. Pat Donnelly who arranged a tour of the New Cathedral for them; with S. Ann Gerard Siebert for a tour of St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf; with S. Pat Dunphy for a Spanish class at St. Joseph Academy and with S. Catherine to the Congregational Center. 

 S. Rita had also arranged for a couple from Chile now living in St. Louis to have dinner with them and they had a conversation with S. Marian Cowan who had visited Chile.  They also visited the Arch, the Old Cathedral, and the Botanical Gardens. One of the favorite stops for them was their time at Nazareth Living Center, both for the 140th anniversary celebration and then for a more personal visit when they attended Mass, had lunch and a visit with some of the sisters. 

Sister Eileen Smits, their “Sister Elena” was very important to the Familia in Chile and they wanted to see where she had spent her last days.  All through the visit, Maria and Jorge spoke of the warm welcome they felt at Carondelet from sisters, associates, those working in the kitchen, housekeeping and maintenance. 

Over and over we heard the same words from them, “Our hearts are at home here!”

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