Susan Herzing, SSJ — 50 years

Susan Herzing, SSJ, is known for her healing hands as a massage therapist. She was born on July 11, 1945 in St. Marys, Pennsylvania and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from her hometown parish, St. Mary’s, on September 8, 1966. She professed her first vows on August 15, 1969 and final vows on September 15, 1974.

Sister Susan graduated from Elk County Christian High School, St. Marys, Pennsylvania, 1963, and earned a BS degree in elementary education from Villa Maria College, Erie, 1972, as well as an MA in pastoral studies from Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut, 1982. She graduated from Pittsburgh School of Massage Therapy in 1996.

Sister Susan taught elementary education from 1968-1977 at Saint Patrick School in Erie and Villa Maria Academy from 1978 to 1982 during which time she was also the vocation director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania. She worked with the Separated and Divorced Catholics—a program of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie—in several capacities from 1970 to 1990. From 1982 to 1995, Sister was the pastoral minister at St. Joseph Church in Erie. She was also a mentor for Sisters of St. Joseph associates. Sister Susan worked as a massage therapist from 1996 to 2011. In 2012 she was named the agrégée director for the Sisters of St. Joseph, a ministry she continues serving.

Sister Susan credits prayer for her ability to keep answering her call to religious life after all these years. “As in any relationship, communication is key, and that is what prayer is for me,” she says. “I continue to pray for openness to whatever I am called, and to trust that God will always be faithful to his promise of presence, strength, and support.” Although she has looked to many scripture passages over the years, she always comes back to Luke 1:37-38, “Nothing is impossible with God. Mary said, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.’”