Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic

We are not aware of any cases of COVID-19 among the members of our congregation, and our agregees, associates, and staff. However, in light of the rapidly evolving health risks associated with COVID-19 and in accordance with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and city and state guidelines, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania have implemented the following measures:

  • General public access to our Community Living Center is suspended until further notice. Guests and visitors are prohibited.
  • All meetings and events at the Community Living Center are canceled/postponed until further notice.
  • Only staff members whose positions are essential to operations will be on the premises; other staff members are working remotely from their homes. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in helping us minimize the risk of the coronavirus in our community. These restrictions are continually being evaluated and are subject to change. The health of everyone is the priority. We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate steps should things change. 

Let’s pray together for health and healing, patience and understanding, and above all, kindness to the dear neighbor.

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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

2020 CSW poster Erie preview

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

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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

be counted

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

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This Lent, Support Mission Haiti

“Little by little the bird makes his nest.”    Haitian Proverb For the past seven years, the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States and Canada have collaborated with Mission Haiti to help rebuild the lives of the Haitian … Read More

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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

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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

Sept 2019 TBSV Edward Bishop (18)

Take Back the Site Vigils

Twenty years ago, the Take Back the Site Vigils were started because of the murder of five-year-old Anora Manus.  Since then, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Benedictines for Peace and the Sisters of Mercy have organized 128 vigils.  The … 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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Brandon

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

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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

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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. 

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one love . . . shared

During this Holy season, we celebrate the greatest gift ever – that One Love shared with the world through the birth of Jesus. The gifts we are given, we are given to share. Last year, the love you shared changed … Read More

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

JPIC

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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Erie gave — thank you!

Records were broken yet again with this year’s Erie Gives Day! Check out this year’s numbers for the 12-hour event: 8,976 donors gave more than $5.5 million to 391 non-profit organizations in our area. Collectively, a total of $113,814 was … Read More

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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

Fels

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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BE KIND car magnets

Send a message of kindness to everyone you can, including those you don’t know who may be behind you at a stop light or walking past your parked car.  BE KIND car magnets make it easy to remind everyone of … Read More

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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

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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

Pray for Haiti

Mission Haiti – Educating Girls Out of Poverty

For the past six years, the Sisters of St. Joseph in the U.S. and Canada have collaborated with Mission Haiti to help rebuild the lives of the Haitian people after the 2010 earthquake. We are focusing on  educating girls, in … Read More

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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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acknowledge kindness

While traveling last week, one of our staff members decided to thank the TSA employees for coming to work and she expressed her appreciation, to which they seemed a bit surprised. Then she gave them and the gate agents a … 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

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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. 

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