YES...a letter in honor of our jubilarians

March is a glorious month of celebration for the Sisters of St. Joseph! On March 19, we joyfully commemorate our patron, St. Joseph, and his humility and goodness as foster father of Jesus. On March 25 we remember the Annunciation when the angel appears to Mary, asking if she is willing to bear the Christ. With Mary and Joseph’s YES, the world was changed forever. 

How appropriate that between celebrating both St. Joseph’s and Mary’s “Yes,” we Sisters of St. Joseph honor our jubilarians. These women have said YES for 50, 60, 70 and even 75 years. Even in the midst of an unknown future, they have said “Yes, be it done unto me...I put my trust in you, O God...come Lord Jesus...YES!

Our 2015 jubilarians have served in areas all across the country: Peoria, Illinois; Georgia;  the Upper Peninsula; Wisconsin; Indiana; Denver, Colorado; South Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and St. Louis, Missouri.  

They have responded to every kind of need including: teaching, nursing, technology, campus ministry, pastoral care, hospice, parish ministry, care of the elderly, province leadership, diocesan school superintendents, and even the Peace Corps in Africa. 

Those who have served at St. Joseph’s Institute for the Deaf continue the work our sisters were originally sent from France to do and thus the Institute has always held a special place in each Sister of St. Joseph’s heart.

Wherever all our jubilarians have been throughout their ministries -- whatever they’ve done -- whomever they’ve met, their daily YES is a commitment to put themselves aside and to serve the dear neighbor with energy and joy! Like Mary, they understand their work is not their work alone, but Christ reaching out through them to touch all those they serve. 

Our oldest jubiliarian, Sister Loretta Costa, said YES 75 years ago, at the age of 15. Her parents drove her to the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Augusta, Georgia, where she became a teacher. She has been teaching ever since even though she “retired” several years ago. She also taught piano lessons after school and on Saturdays. One of the people she taught piano to was the renowned author, Flannery O’Connor. They became lifelong friends and Sister Loretta often proofread O’Connor’s short stories.

Sister Jane Kelly is a 60-year jubilarian, who has worked in healthcare all her religious life. Sister Jane has been in Alabama since 1972. One of her first ministries was serving as a nurse supervisor in Selma, Alabama, where she began her long years of ministering as a family nurse practitioner at the Grace Busse Rural Clinic in Pine Apple, where almost 40% of the residents live below the poverty line. For those unable to afford treatment, Sister Jane’s care has been consistent and may be the only healing presence of Christ they will ever know. 

The YES of our jubilarians is the same YES that has resounded through the ages since the founding of the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1650. In 1836, their YES helped to build our American Church. Today our YES rings loud and clear in the lives of each Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. “Yes, be it done unto me . . . Yes, I put my trust in you, O God . . . Yes, come Lord Jesus . . . YES!

Like Mary and Joseph, our jubilarians understand their work is not their work alone, but Christ reaching out through them to touch all those they serve. And our ability to say YES would be impossible without you. It is you who makes it possible for every Sister of St. Joseph to commit her life to “reaching beyond herself.” Will you help us with our forever commitment in being one with the dear neighbor? Will you help our “retired” sisters with a gift?

There is no way to adequately thank you. We can merely pray in thanksgiving for you who allow us to witness Christ’s presence. We pray also that the Christ who grows strong within will alert you to His wonderful peace and joy. 

May you receive every blessing you deserve for being the blessing you are to us and to the dear neighbor. And may you say YES to all that God has in store for you.

We wish you a very Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

To make a donation in honor of our jubilarians, click here.

To make a prayer request, click here.

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