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We remember . . . Mary Rachael McGuire, SSJ

Sister Mary Rachael McGuire, SSJ, age 105, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on April 27, 2024. She was in the 84th year of her religious life and the second oldest Sister in the Diocese of … Read More

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Table of Plenty

A reflection by SSJ Agrégée​ Cindy Polesnak Imagine that you are the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, discussing the events of the past 3 days, Jesus’ last supper, crucifixion, and resurrection. The two disciples learn that Jesus was … Read More

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We remember . . . Jean Baptiste DiLuzio, SSJ

Sister Jean Baptiste DiLuzio, SSJ, age 98, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on March 30, 2024. She was in the 81st year of her religious life. Sister Jean was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on June … Read More

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It is Finished.

A reflection by Nancy Fischer, SSJ ​When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. -John 19:30 I believe that two key words in this passage are “handed over.”  … Read More

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Love Listens; Do You?

A reflection by Josette Marie Gocella, SSJ As I pondered what might be the message of this reflection to be shared with the congregation and the broader community, I glanced at the various “stick-ums” currently on the refrigerator in my … Read More


And then what?

Reflection and photo ​by SSJ Agrégée Charlene Kellerman As we know, the practice of giving up something is often a ritual for Lent.  It can serve as a symbol of self-sacrifice, a form of fasting, and represent the sacrifice for … Read More


God’s timing is often not my timing.

A reflection ​by Clare Marie Beichner, SSJ Life and seasons have their timing. Mums typically bloom in the fall. The mums I purchased in September bloomed beautifully until late October. However, the mums I bought in 2022 and planted in … Read More

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Are You Listening?

A Reflection on Mk 9:2-10 ​by SSJ Associate Margaret Chrymko The Transfiguration (Mk 9:2-10), when Jesus led Peter, James, and John up a mountain and was transfigured before them, is one of my favorite Gospels. In the past, I’ve reflected … Read More

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Are You All In?

A Lenten Reflection by SSJ Agregee Betsy Wiest In John’s gospel, the woman who anoints Jesus is Mary of Bethany. Let’s start by saying that Mary got it. She sat at Jesus’ feet. She listened and opened her heart to … Read More

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Ash Wednesday: The beginning of the end that leads to the new beginning.

A Lenten Reflection by SSJ Associate Catherine Shimek Ash Wednesday is the day I begin to undertake the removal of some wall that I built between me and God. I examine my life and ask what thing or things have … Read More


We remember . . . Elizabeth “Betty” Ruza, SSJ

Elizabeth (Betty) Ruza, SSJ, age 87, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on December 15, 2023. She was in the 69th year of her religious life. Sister Betty, formerly Sister Mary Olive, was born in Erie, … Read More

Eileen McLaughlin (right) dedicated a bench in memory of her two daughters who attend VMA - Cynthia McLaughlin VMA ’69 and Michele McLaughlin Suprunowicz ’74. Eileen’s son, Paul, joined her for the blessing.

Sisters in the Sun Bench Blessing

A lovely fall morning greeted the Sisters of St. Joseph and generous donors, family, and friends who gathered for a liturgy and blessing of the benches that were donated during the Sisters in the Sun Bench Campaign. Following the liturgy, … Read More


Sisters of St. Joseph Join LCWR in Solidarity with the People of the Middle East

“Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.” Pope Francis, Angelus, September 1, 2013. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania join with the members of the Leadership Conference of … Read More


U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph Joins in Calling for a Ceasefire and Humanitarian Aid in Israel-Palestine Conflict

“Continuing to send weapons increases dehumanization, destruction, and trauma.” More than two dozen national Catholic organizations, including the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph,  sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to take the necessary steps to de-escalate … Read More

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Fall 2023 petite Journeys

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Sr. Mary Arnold Tann (left) and Sr. Mary Rita Kuhn.

Sisters in the Sun Bench Campaign

(Pictured above: Sr. Mary Arnold Tan (left) and Sr. Mary Rita Kuhn.) Thanks to many generous donors, the Sisters of St. Joseph have 20 new, all-weather outdoor benches on the grounds of the Community Living Center. The Sisters are grateful … Read More


2023 Erie Gives Day Results

Thank you for your generosity to the Sisters of St. Joseph and their Mission & Ministries Foundation on Erie Gives Day! We surpassed our donor goal of 40 new donors with a total of 112, increasing our 2023 donors by … Read More


Saint Mary’s Follies

The 10th annual Saint Mary’s Follies will be held on Sept. 14 at the Bayfront Convention Center. Join Saint Mary’s Home of Erie and chaircouple Drs. Chris & Caitlin Clark, as we celebrate a Decade of Distinction and honor Mary … Read More

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Generosity in Full Bloom!

  When we give generously, with an abundance mentality, what we give away will multiply.                                                   … Read More


Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania Elect New Leadership

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania are pleased to announce that Mary Drexler, SSJ; Phyllis McCracken, SSJ; and Carol Morehouse, SSJ, will begin serving a second four-year term in Leadership for the congregation on July 1, 2023. Sister … Read More

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Rambler Podcast: Almi Clerkin, Exec. Director of SSJ Mission & Ministries Foundation

Episode 27- Almi Clerkin ’81 VMA Executive Director SSJ Mission & Ministries Foundation Almi Clerkin was a recent guest on the Cathedral Prep Rambler podcast. She was asked to speak about her relationship with the SSJs and VMA and the … Read More

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2023 Appeal: May the Unifying Force Be With You

The mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph — to unite all people with one another and with God by responding to the ever-changing needs of the world and serving the neighbor without distinction — is a unifying force. DO … Read More


We remember . . . Teresa Marie Bohren, SSJ

            Sister Teresa Marie Bohren, SSJ, age 92, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on May 18, 2023.  She was in the 74th year of her religious life.  Born in Reynoldsville, PA, on July 2, 1930, … Read More


Thank you to Clemence Mershon, a friend of the Sisters of St. Joseph and former French Teacher at Villa Maria Academy, for gifting 8 WQLN (local PBS affiliate) Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to the Sisters of St. Joseph Mission & … Read More

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Sr. Margaret Pellerite, SSJ — A Woman Making History

Photo credit: Lorei Portraits Congratulations to Sr. Maraget Pellerite, SSJ, who was recently recognized as a 2023 Women Making History by the Mercy Center for Women in Erie, PA. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the annual Women Making … Read More

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Spring 2023 petite Journeys

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whatever the need

Our mission as Sisters of St. Joseph is unity—unity of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God. We fulfill this mission by seeking out and doing whatever may best bring about this unity in the world—or at least in our … Read More

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Our Thirst is for More than Water

In yesterday’s readings, the dialogue begins. Firstly, it’s between Moses and his people who are thirsting for water on their journey – and then between Moses and God who responds so generously, providing the water. “If today you hear God’s … Read More


SYNOD: The Synod invites us to be CHURCH

The mission of the Church is realized through the lives of all the baptized. There is a deep desire to recognize and reaffirm this common dignity as the basis of renewal of life and ministries in the Church. We share … Read More


I’ve Been to the Mountain Top

On April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech in which he said, “I’ve been to the mountain top and seen the promised land.” Jesus led Peter, James and John up a high mountain to see the promised … Read More


Discovering LIFE ~in the Desert

Jesus, following his baptism by John, was driven by the Spirit, to spend time in the desert for forty days. There he wrestled with temptations and questions about who he was and how he was to live his deepest call in … Read More


We remember . . . James Francis Mulligan, SSJ

James Francis Mulligan, SSJ, age 97, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on February 26, 2023. She was in the 76th year of her religious life. Sister James Francis was born in Meadville, PA, on April … Read More


SYNOD: Rather than Divide Us, Our Diversity Should Be a Source of Strength

Common themes within the Synod reports resonate with all of us and call us to hope. A major theme that was frequently mentioned as integral to being a more welcoming Church revolved around removing barriers to accessibility and embracing those … Read More


SYNOD: A Sacred Journey of Listening and Discernment

In October 2021, Pope Francis announced a two-year process of listening and dialogue in the Catholic Church, known as the “Synod on Synodality.”  A “synod” is a journey of discernment rooted in the Holy Spirit.     Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal … Read More

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The Work of Christmas begins

As I began to write this article for the January Interim, I once again was reminded of one of my favorite poems for this time of year titled, The Work of Christmas Begins by Michael Dougherty. It is a variation … Read More

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We remember . . . Geraldine Olon, SSJ

Sister Geraldine Olon, SSJ, age 91, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on December 22, 2022. She was in the 73rd year of her religious life. Sister Geraldine was born in Oil City, PA, on July … Read More

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We remember . . . Martha Ann Rinderle, SSJ

Martha Ann Rinderle, SSJ, 84, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on December 9, 2022. She was born on September 1, 1938, in Erie, Pennsylvania, to the late Ferdinand and Marty Ann (Kreiger) Rinderle. She graduated … Read More

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Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania Call for Change in the Cash Bail System

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania join the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and The Bail Project to dismantle racism and eliminate the use of cash bail in the United States criminal legal system. The … Read More


Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania Call for an End to Gun Violence

The Sisters of St.  Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania share in the communal heartbreak of our nation as together we face another unthinkable and senseless act of violence. Moved by deep sadness and compassion for the victims, families, and witnesses of … Read More

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Catholic Sisters Week March 8-14

Catholic sisters work with and advocate for the poor, immigrants, and children throughout the year. They fight injustice, tend to the sick, empower women, promote peace, and offer hope. For one week each year, March 8-14, Catholic Sisters Week shines … Read More

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Sisters Respond to Death of Bishop Trautman

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, along with the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, and the Sisters of Mercy, Erie Regional Community, join in mourning the death of Bishop Donald W. Trautman. Bishop Trautman considered Catholic Sisters to be … Read More


We remember . . . Mary Rose Romeo, SSJ

Mary Rose Romeo, SSJ, formerly Sister Mara Joseph, 73, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on January 19, 2022. She was born on March 10, 1948, in Erie, Pennsylvania, to the late Sarah and Joseph Romeo. … Read More


We remember . . . Mary Kevin Palazzetti, SSJ

Mary Kevin Palazzetti, SSJ, 85, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on December 11, 2021.  She was born on December 5, 1936, in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the late Alva Lakey and Anna Palazzetti. Sister … Read More

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Cyber Circles of Friends 2021

Cyber Circles of Friends Week 2021 connect, chat, celebrate! We hoped to see you in person, but once again Circle of Friends is going virtual. With so many friends and so much to celebrate, we’re making this year’s Cyber Circles … Read More

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We remember . . . Rebecca Ann Costa, SSJ

Sister Rebecca Ann Costa, SSJ, age 86, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on September 5, 2021.  She was in the 69th year of her religious life.  Sr. Rebecca was born on March 24, 1935, the … Read More

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We remember . . . Ann Donohue, SSJ

Sister Ann Donohue, SSJ, formerly Sister Mary Timothy, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on August 29 while in the 65th year of her religious life.  She was born on July 26, 1938, in Bradford, PA, … Read More

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Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate

A Reflection on Gender Equity by Sr. Rosemary O’Brien, SSJ This collaborative project of LCWR Region 10 involves a year-long monthly discussion. Each month focuses on a social issue and explores how it intersects with Racism, Migration, and Climate. Gender … Read More


Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate.

Exploring Intersections is a yearlong, monthly series that will focus on a social issue and explore how it intersects with racism, migration, and climate in a thought-provoking and engaging conversation. Host Charish Badzinski–writer, communication consultant, strategic planner, and public relations … Read More


The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Stands Against the Racism and Misogyny Directed Towards the Asian-American and Pacific Island Communities 

The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in condemning racism and sexism in all their harmful forms — whether the violent acts of white supremacists and misogynists or the daily acts … Read More


We remember . . . Kathleen Kirsch, SSJ

Sister Kathleen Kirsch, SSJ, formerly SisterMary Leo, 93, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on March 25, 2021.  Sister Kathleen was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on August 2, 1927, the daughter of the late Leo and … Read More

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Virtual Events Planned to Celebrate Catholic Sisters Week

“Feeding the Soul, Feeding the Hungry” is the theme for local initiatives planned for Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14. A virtual kick-off event featuring Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ, executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and Kathy … Read More

DALAT VIETNAM- JAN 24: Carpenter saw wood by power saw at home he working with concentration his shadow reflect on the wall of wooden house Viet Nam Jan 24 2014

Earthly Shadow of the Heavenly Father

Our theme for St. Joseph Day this year reflects on Joseph being the “earthly shadow of the Heavenly Father.” This is one of the virtues that Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (With a Father’s Heart) attributes to … Read More

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Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity

Black History Month began in 1915, a half-century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery. That year, Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, and prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded what is known as the Association for the Study of African American … Read More

SSJ Associate Elaine Clyburn and Sr. Agnes Clare of the Buffalo SSJs

Following God’s Will Amidst a Changing Society

by SSJ Associate  Elaine Clyburn The following article was written by Elaine Clyburn, one of the first Associates welcomed by the SSJs in Erie. Her story was published in the Winter 2014-15 issue of Journeys. We are sharing it again … Read More

July Jesus & Joseph

Year of St. Joseph

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX, Pope Francis has declared December 8, 2020 – December 8, 2021, as the “Year of St. Joseph.” In his … Read More

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Read about how technology has helped the Sisters and the SSJ community to stay connected through the pandemic.


Meet SSJ Associates Carol and Tom Hoffman

Carol and Tom Hoffman celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on January 27. They are members of St. Andrew’s Parish where Carol has worked for 42 years as a pastoral associate. She has been the religious education coordinator, liturgical planner, choir … Read More


we remember . . . Mary Kay McNelis, SSJ

Sister Mary Kay McNelis, SSJ, (formerly Sr. Carmelita), 91, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on December 20, 2020. She was born in Altoona, PA, on September 9, 1929, the daughter of the late Atty. Gerald … Read More

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we remember … Joyce Lowrey, SSJ

Sister Joyce Lowrey, SSJ, 81, formerly Sister Virginia, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania died on December 7, 2020.  Sister Joyce was born on February 18, 1939, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the late John and … Read More


Recycling Made Simple – Virtual Event

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania are sponsoring a virtual recycling education event to help the community learn more about recycling in the Erie County area.  A great deal of confusion exists about recycling, and residents are often … Read More

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A Reflection on the 370th Anniversary of the Founding of the Sisters of St. Joseph

A reflection by Mary Fromknecht, SSJ October 15th marked the 370th Anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of St. Joseph in LePuy, France. This passage is the foundation of each of our spiritual lives—our God’s promise to dwell among … Read More

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Treats, Not Tricks!

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” This proverb means that a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem. Once again, COVID-19 made it necessary for us to do things a little differently.   … Read More

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Wrapping Our Nation in Prayer

Our upcoming election is slated to be one of the most important of our lifetime. As a result, the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph is asking all SSJ congregations and communities to join in our 100 Days of … Read More

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The Voice of Hope

by SSJ Agregee and Social Justice Coordinator, Betsy Wiest When Hope Lloyd was four years old, she went with her mother on what she thought was an outing to a park near her London, England residence.   She didn’t understand why … Read More

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We remember . . . Mary Joan Beauseigneur, SSJ

Mary Joan Beauseigneur, SSJ, 83, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on October 4, 2020.  She was born Jean Beauseigneur on April 24, 1937, in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, to the late Quindon and Dolores Parks Beauseigneur. She … Read More


We remember . . . Agnes Marie Hughes, SSJ

Sister Agnes Marie Hughes, SSJ, age 90, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on October 3, 2020.  On November 5, 1929, she was born to the late Joseph and Margaret (Powers) Hughes in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania. She … Read More

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Erie’s Sisters of St. Joseph join with other Catholic Sisters in Support of Resolution on Racism

In a joint statement, Erie’s Catholic Sisters expressed support for Erie County Council’s resolution, which declares racism a public health crisis. The resolution also states council’s intent to address the health, education, housing, and economic disparities that exist in Erie … Read More

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Cyber Circles: Circle of Friends 2020 Style

Our annual Circle of Friends event has always been about “connection” – gathering with friends and neighbors, celebrating Mass together, sharing a meal, and reconnecting. But how do you hold a 400-person Mass and picnic while physical distancing? You use … Read More


Your Vote, Your Voice

On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote passed. One hundred years later, our country is heading into an election during the midst of a pandemic. If you opt to vote by mail in Erie, PA, here … Read More

Margaret Chrymko

Meet SSJ Associate Margaret Chrymko

Margaret Chrymko is a native of the Buffalo, NY area. She became an associate in 1991 with Sister Susan Herzing as her mentor. Margaret received BS and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the  State University of New York at Buffalo. … Read More

Sr. Carol Morehouse presents a service pin to Don Olson in recognition of 25 years as an SSJ employee.

Faithful employees make the SSJ Mission Possible

In 2007, SSJ employees came together as a group to write the following employee mission statement:  “Inspired by the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the employees of the Sisters of St. Joseph establish an environment of unity and … Read More

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InFORMATION: What we need is here.

by Rosemary O’Brien, SSJ “Geese appear high over us, pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, as in love or sleep, holds them to their way, Clear in the ancient faith:  what we need is here.”           … Read More

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we remember . . . Rose Anne Fedorko, SSJ

Sister Rose Anne Fedorko, Ph.D., SSJ, formerly Sr. Helen Therese, age 91, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on August 8, 2020. She was in the 73rd year of her religious life. Sister Rose Anne was … Read More


We Are All Connected

We were made for connection. To share our lives. To shoulder one another’s burdens. If the COVID crisis teaches us one thing, let it be how powerful connection can be. How our actions – big or small – always affect others.  … Read More


Meet SSJ Associate Linda Gier

A native of Ridgway, PA, Linda attended St. Leo Grade School and graduated from Elk County Christian High School in St. Marys, PA. Linda spent four years as a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph before realizing that God … Read More


SSJ Mission & Ministries Foundation Awards 2020 Grants

Six grants totaling $150,000 were awarded by the SSJ Mission & Ministries Foundation in July. In response to the COVID crisis, the Foundation changed its grant process to ensure that the heightened needs of the area’s most vulnerable are met. … Read More


Grants Improve Preparedness and Connectivity

Thanks to three foundations – The Norbert Hardner Foundation, SOAR! and the SSJ Mission & Ministries Foundation – Sisters and staff will be safer and more connected in 2020. Since January, nearly $85,000 in grant funds have been awarded to the … Read More

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Adapting Mission to the Times

As I was listening to Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper give a weekly update on coronavirus statistics, she commended the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network for the safe manner in which it is conducting the Little Italy Farmers Market. … Read More

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we remember . . . Ann Loretta Urmann, SSJ

Ann Loretta Urmann, SSJ, age 95, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on July 18, 2020.  She was born Mary Regis Urmann in Elbon, Pennsylvania, on August 23, 1924, the daughter of the late Joseph and … Read More

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July 30 – World Day Against Human Trafficking

In 2013, The United Nations designated July 30th as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to raise awareness and work toward preventing human trafficking. COVID-19 has impacted human trafficking. Children are more vulnerable at this time to online exploitation. School … Read More

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Racism and White Privilege

A reflection by Betsy Wiest, SSJ Agregee and Social Justice Coordinator We have all been affected by recent events in our world: the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests, marches, and vigils following the death of George Floyd. These events have … Read More


Meet SSJ Associate Paul Wilcosz

Paul Wilcosz became an SSJ Associate in 2018 at the invitation of his friends, Associates Ted and Mary Wright. Sister Claudia Dombrowski served as his mentor. Paul first became acquainted with the Sisters of St. Joseph while his children attended … Read More


Racism is a Virus

SSJ Mission Possible by Sr. Ann Marie Cappello, SSJ The U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph Statement on Racism and Commitment to Direct Action states that racism is a virus every bit as deadly as COVID-19, and which has … Read More


Congratulations Erie DAWN!

Congratulations to Erie DAWN on its 25th anniversary of ministry. Erie DAWN has provided services and housing for more than 1,000 women and children in the Erie community. We congratulate Director Maureen Dunn and her staff for a magnificent job … Read More


Religious Life in the United States Today

The 2020 NRVC/CARA Study on Recent Vocations identified more than 3,500 women and men who entered religious life from 2003 to 2018.  On average, around 200 people a year make perpetual profession and about 400 begin the process of initial … Read More


U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph Issue Statement on Racism

The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph strongly condemns the police-killing of another black man on the streets of our nation. Our hearts are breaking as we mourn with the family and friends of George Floyd, as well … Read More


Meet SSJ Associate Stephanie Hall

Twenty years ago, in May of 2000, Stephanie became our Director of Communications and Public Relations and the first layperson hired to our administrative staff (see box). Two years later, Stephanie and her mother, Mary Lou Rathers, became associates. Sisters … Read More


Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania Call for Unity and an End to the Violence

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania are deeply saddened by the fatal arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting violence in our nation, including our community of Erie, Pennsylvania. Like other citizens, we are also experiencing … Read More

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virtual presence

“It’s not what you do but how you do it, it’s not what you see, but how you see, it’s not what you say, what you know or achieve but it’s the presence, the presence you are.” The words of … Read More

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Meet SSJ Associate Fr. Dennis Martin

Fr. Dennis claims Pittsburgh, PA as his hometown where he was educated by the Sisters of Charity. He credits the sisters and the priests of his parish for his vocation. In 1975, he was ordained as a Marianist priest and … Read More


A Call to Postpone the DACA Decision

Plaintiffs in one of the cases challenging the termination of DACA recently filed a letter with the Supreme Court asking them to consider the real-world consequences of the COVID-19 global health crisis for more than 700,000 DACA recipients and their … Read More

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we remember . . . Mary Arlene Menz, SSJ

Sister Mary Arlene Menz, SSJ, age 94, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on March 19, 2020.  She was in the 73rd year of her religious life.  Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on November 10, 1925, the … Read More

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Support for those affected by Coronavirus

Take action to urge your senators to support first steps in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides paid leave, establishes free coronavirus testing, supports strong unemployment benefits, expands food assistance for vulnerable children and … Read More

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Catholic Sisters Week helps promote understanding of women religious

Catholic Sisters Week is March 8 through March 14 As communications directors for congregations of Catholic sisters, it can be challenging to shine the spotlight on these extraordinary women and their stories. But what would seem to be an easy … Read More


Help Reduce Gun Deaths

In 1966, faced with rapidly rising motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths on our roads, the National Highway Safety Bureau (NHSB) was created to promote and implement safety technology and practices, such as seat belt use, as well as to support … Read More

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Yes — YOU count!

The U.S. Constitution requires a census every 10 years when every person living in the U.S. is counted, whether a U.S. citizen or not. The next decennial census begins April 1. An accurate count means that communities around the nation … Read More


Meet SSJ Associate Cindi Olesky

A native of Erie, Cindi is one of three children in her family.  She attended Villa Maria Academy and received a degree from Kent State University. Cindi joined the SSJs as the Director of Finance in August, 2000.   She became … Read More

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Solidarity with the “dear neighbor”

A post by Betsy Wiest, SSJ Social Justice Coordinator. “Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering … Read More


Meet SSJ Associate Rita Lyle

Rita says that becoming an associate has enhanced her spiritual life and she enjoys the friendship of the sisters. For the past 12 years, she was a volunteer in Marycrest where she enjoyed working with the sisters. More recently, she … Read More

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Lessons from geese

One day last week on my way into work, I was met by two Canada Geese that were blocking the door to the admin. building. I tried to get them to move but I was unsuccessful.  I was not a … Read More

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Saint Josephine Bakhita, the Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Victims

Please remember all victims of human trafficking on February 8th, the Feast Day of St. Josephine Bakhita. Josephine Bakhita was born in Darfur Sudan in 1869. When she was seven, she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders and, in the … Read More

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Take Back the Site Vigils

Take Back the Site Vigils were started because of the murder of Anora Manus, a mother of five children.  Since then, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, and the Sisters of Mercy have organized numerous vigils.  … Read More

BERKASOVO, SERBIA - OCTOBER 31, 2015: Refugees walking carrying heavy bags on the Croatia Serbia border, between the cities of Bapska and Berkasovo on the Balkans Route, during the Refugee Crisis

TAKE ACTION: refugee resettlement numbers

The current administration has reduced the refugee resettlement program by 80% and set this year’s refugee admissions goal at 18,000, the lowest level in U.S. history. Given that there are more than 25 million refugees worldwide, more than half of … Read More

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TAKE ACTION against Human Trafficking in PA

PA highway signage is inadequate! Support PA House Bill 1513  “An act providing for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Notification Act, imposing duties on the Department of Labor and Industry, and prescribing penalties.”  Please contact PA Representative Jim … Read More

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winter 2019-2020

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meet SSJ Associate Brandon Vogt

Brandon Vogt became an associate in 2012. At 32, he is our youngest associate. Sr. Mary Thomas Downing, his mentor, said, “Tell them you sang your way in.” Brandon is a pastoral liturgist and musician in the Diocese of Erie … Read More

joureny to bethlehem

the donkey

a reflection by Betsy Wiest, SSJ Agregee and Social Justice Coordinator In a small town called Nazareth, a young 14-year old girl named Mary responded “yes” when an angel told her she would become the mother of our Lord. Mary … Read More

12-20-19 Homeless Vigil

Longest night of the year

Today, December 20, 2019 is the shortest day of the year. It is also the longest night of the year. For most of us, we will go about our daily business and we won’t notice the shorter day except that … Read More


Scenes from the 2019 Annual Thanksgiving Dinner

We invite you to enjoy some scenes from this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner! Thank you for helping us to make this possible once again. 


where hope and courage meet

 “After they had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt and stay there until I tell you.’”     … Read More


meet SSJ Associate Edith Benson

Edith Benson, one of six children in her family, was born in Columbia, SC, and lived in Augusta, GA, and the Bronx, NY. During her younger years, she had aspirations to become a medical doctor and help others. Her career … Read More

Almitra Clerkin (left) with 
S. Mary Drexler.

SSJ Named Outstanding Philanthropic Organization

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania were recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Philanthropic Organization at the recent National Philanthropy Day event hosted by the Northwest Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. More than 150 people attended … Read More


a new mural in the neighborhood

 The Sisters of  St. Joseph Neighborhood Network’s (SSJNN) mission is to revitalize the neighborhoods it serves and to empower the people who live there. The SSJNN also works to bring beauty to the neighborhoods through parks, landscaping, and art. Through … Read More

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SSJ Annual Thanksgiving Dinner

The Sisters of St. Joseph are once again offering a free, traditional Thanksgiving Dinner to anyone alone, in need, or who would otherwise not celebrate the holiday. The dinner will be served from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving … Read More

car magnet

It’s World Kindness day!

Strive to be kind always to everyone and unkind to no one.*              November 13 is World Kindness Day!  What better way to join the movement (aside from being kind) than to help promote a … Read More

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SSJs release statement on U.S. withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

On November 4, 2019, the United States formally announced to the United Nations that it has begun the year-long process of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement—the agreement that brought together almost 200 nations to address climate change through the … Read More


Prayer Service 100th Anniversary for Suffragettes

The Sisters of St. Joseph are hosting a prayer service for the Erie community as part of the year-long celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment and voting rights for women. Thursday, November 21, 2019  … Read More


Climate Strike—There is no “Planet B”!

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen whose solitary weekly climate strike has sparked a worldwide movement, shares a clear message about our climate. “I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic…and act … Read More


meet SSJ Associate Dolores Miller

A native of Chicago, Dolores and her husband, Ron, settled in Erie in 1986. Dolores worked as a registered nurse at the SSJ infirmary and as a certified childbirth educator at Saint Vincent Health Center. Dolores volunteered her time teaching … Read More

Left - right: Sisters Rosemary O'Brien, Ann Marie Cappello and Susan Herzing.

Signs of Courageous Hope

Reflections on our experience at the Religious Formation Conference Congress 2019 by Ann Marie Cappello, SJ Sisters Rosemary O’Brien, Susan Herzing, and I (pictured l-r Sister Rosemary O’Brien, myself and Sister Susan) attended the Religious Formation Conference Congress 2019, held … Read More


a new opportunity for contemporary Catholic women

Information session scheduled for November 9, 2019 The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania will hold an information session for Catholic women who are seeking to deepen their spiritual lives on November 9 at 10:00 a.m. at the Sisters … Read More


SSJ Neighborhood Network receives $10,000 gift from Undercover Billionaire!

The new Discovery Channel series, Undercover Billionaire aired the final episode of its first season on Tuesday, September 24. If you haven’t been following the series, it features Glenn Stearns, a self-made billionaire, who is given just 90 days in … Read More


Come and see what it means to be an agrégée

A different kind of commitment . . . for the 21st-century Catholic Woman  Have you been focused on your career, settled, and yet looking for something more? Does unity with God and neighbor speak to your heart? Do you desire to grow … Read More


meet SSJ Associate Anne Freitas

Anne Freitas has been on the faculty of Kent State University for 24 years. She presently is an Assistant Professor of Nursing – teaching courses in pediatrics, obstetrics and medical surgical nursing. She belongs to a number of professional organizations. … Read More


Call . . . what does it mean?

“I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”           … Read More

SSJ Circle of Friends postcard 2019-1

Circle of Friends highlights

Check out highlights from this year’s Circle of Friends event.  Hope to see you in 2020!

Join us for Circle of Friends!

Join us on Saturday, September 14! Click here for details and to RSVP.


Stop the Inhumanity — Catholic Day of Action

On September 4, Catholics all over the country participated in the second Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children as part of the “Stop the Inhumanity” campaign designed to increase pressure on the U.S. government to end child detention. A … Read More


SSJs receive Human Rights Award

The SSJ JPIC (Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation) Team was awarded the Human Rights Award by the Church Women United for leadership; service as mentors and social activists; and for advocating for peace and justice. Thank you to our community … Read More

Hispanic father with African American teenage son

doing or being?

Do you ever question whether you are doing enough for others, or feeling as if you are not doing as much as others might be doing? Do you compare your actions or good works with those of others? Does it … Read More


meet SSJ Associate Joan Fels

With Sr. Joyce Lowrey as her mentor, Joan became an associate in 2017. She is a member of Holy Cross parish in Fairview. She attends daily mass at the CLC and has come to know many of the sisters. She … Read More


Gun violence – when will it stop?

2019 is on track to become a year in which there will be more mass shootings in our country than there are days in the year. A mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four people are shot … Read More

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SSJ of Erie leaders among LCWR members calling on President Trump to to stop divisive and polarizing rhetoric

Sisters Phyllis McCracken, SSJ, and Carol Morehouse, SSJ both In Leadership for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, were among more than 660 members of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR) assembly who affirmed a letter that … Read More

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journeys – summer 2019

Read about the experience of three women who volunteering along the U.S. and Mexico border.  

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Give a gift that grows on Erie Gives Day

A gift to the Sisters of St. Joseph or our ministries on Erie Gives Day is automatically increased through a generous percentage match!   August 13, 2019 marks the 9th Erie Gives Day, which was started in 2011 in honor of … Read More


praying together

Belonging to a prayer group can help us connect, not only with each other but with God. This is the SSJ mission. Many of our associates, agrégées, and sisters belong to prayer groups. One such group is the Meadville Associate … Read More

Patty George

meet SSJ associate Patty George

Associate Patty George and her late husband, Bob, became associates in 1992 at the invitation of Sister Mary Paula Zaleski and Sister Stephanie Wagner. Patty has known the Sisters of St. Joseph since her days at St. Patrick’s grade school. … Read More


A moment of grace for refugees

Last evening a group of people gathered at our Community Living Center where Deb Seng, Patrice Swick and I shared our experiences of working with the refugees in El Paso, Texas in May at Annunciation House. We began our presentation … Read More

Smores: graham wafer crackers with melted marshmallows and chocolate. This camping favorite is prepared over an open flame and makes a great treat.

welcome to s’more . . . a new blog for your spiritual journey.

Warm summer days stir up memories of being a child and gathering with family and friends around the campfire. I can almost taste the sugary, chocolatey, toasted marshmallow delights that left us wanting more. One was never enough.  Another one, … Read More


comforted by the mission

“Shawls …made for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify.  Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given … Read More


meet SSJ Associate Jan Staszewski

Connectedness. That is what led Jan to become an associate in 2006.  Jan’s connections with the SSJ include her education at St. John Grade School and Villa Maria Academy; and working at St. Mary’s Home of Erie and Saint Vincent … Read More

Left-right: Carol Morehouse, SSJ; Mary Drexler, SSJ; Phyllis McCracken, SSJ.

Welcome new SSJ Leadership!

We are pleased to announce that Sisters Mary Drexler, Phyllis McCracken, and Carol Morehouse began serving a four-year term as leadership for the congregation on July 1. Sister Mary Drexler, SSJ, is serving as president, Sister Phyllis McCracken, SSJ, as … Read More


Plastic Free July is here!

Plastic Free July is here!! Will you join me and attempt to go Plastic Free for the whole month of July? I certainly hadn’t realized just how much plastic there was in my everyday life until I started to look … Read More

2006 St. Joseph Statue (5)

honoring fathers, honoring Joseph

Sunday, June 16th is Father’s Day – a day set aside to honor all fathers and father figures.  Billy Graham once said, “a good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed and yet one of the most valuable … Read More

Green Apples

Green Apples for our teachers

The Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Team developed our “Green Apple” award to recognize teachers in the Erie Diocesan grade schools who encourage their students to learn about the environment. Teachers were asked to submit what environmental issues and … Read More


Human trafficking—Erie update

Human trafficking happens everywhere—even in Erie.  Because Erie is located on the intersection of I-90 and I-79, is two hours from I-80 and the Canadian border, Erie is considered a “pass-thru” city for traffickers.  Handlers bring their victims to Erie … Read More


meet ssj associate Tom Hudson

A physical therapist, Tom retired from Gannon University where he was an Assistant Professor and taught Pediatrics and Adult Neurology for twenty years.  He also worked part-time for 35 years, retiring in June 2018, from the Erie Homes for Children … Read More


meet SSJ Associates Ted and Mary Wright

Spring has sprung! I feel a renewed sense of ambition and wanted to know what other associates are doing to spread the charism. I was blessed to speak with Mary Wright. Mary and her husband, Ted, became associates in 2008. … Read More


a Good Friday pilgrimage and the SSJ mission

SSJ Associate Stephanie Hall, who many know is also our Director of Public Relations and Communications, embarked on a spiritual journey during Holy Week. Stephanie, who has been making personal retreats in the desert of New Mexico for a few … Read More

Woman with wheelchair is being healed by God. Shot in meadow

Eternal Life – A Shared Experience of Awe

Living a Responsible Lent – Caring for our Common Home – Week 6 “Eternal Life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give to those … Read More

Footprint recycle sign and green leaf with foot carbon prints

Duty to Care for Creation Through Little Daily Actions

Living a Responsible Lent – Caring for our Common Home – Week 5 “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in … Read More

Join us for a screening of this powerful film. Saturday, April 13, 2019. 2:00 p.m.

A Plastic Ocean – Film Screening

The Sisters of St. Joseph Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation Team is sponsoring a screening of the film, A Plastic Ocean, on the Big Green Screen at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive in Erie on Saturday, April … Read More


The World is a Gift We Leave to Future Generations

Living a Responsible Lent – Caring for our Common Home – Week 4 “Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is … Read More


Be Free From Obsession With Consumption

Living a Responsible Lent – Caring for our Common Home – Week 3 “Christian spirituality … encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption.”  Pope Francis – Laudato Si 222 Pope … Read More

The planet earth shaped as a heart and isolated from the background with a clipping path.

Living a Responsible Lent – We Have Only One Heart

Living a Responsible Lent – Caring for our Common Home – Week 2 “We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationship with … Read More

Kindness card - single

Give Someone a Kindness Card!

Sisters of St. Joseph are introducing “kindness cards” which are small cards given to anyone you see doing an act of kindness.  “If we acknowledge and reinforce kindness when we see it, we believe it will foster more kind acts,” … Read More

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will we welcome the dear neighbor?

The United States Secretary of State,Michael Pompeo,  announced on September 9, 2018, that the current administration will set the maximum level of refugees allowed into the United States at 30,000 for 2019. This is the lowest number set in the … Read More

Watercolor circle palette. Watercolor blue and Green stain isolated on white background.

clean energy, clean earth

The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph recently released a statement opposing the Trump administration’s affordable Clean Energy Rule. In his Encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis, reminds us of our biblical call to live in right relationship and … Read More

006A Immigration Poster

forced migration and human trafficking – a disturbing connection

Let us take time to remember the strength, courage, and resilience of the millions forced to flee their homes by violence of every kind. Today, more than 50 million people are displaced by war and violence, some 33.3 million in … Read More

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The mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania,
its agregees and associates, is to unite all people with one another and with God
by responding to the ever-changing needs of the world and
serving the neighbor without distinction.