May 2, 2015

Sisters of St. Joseph honor Hynes family with The Dear Neighbor Award

Living the Dream: Sisters of St. Joseph Connecting Neighbor with Neighbor and Neighbor with God

Brighton, MA: Approximately 400 friends, former students, and supporters attended the second annual Living the Dream dinner held on April 30, 2015, at the Seaport Hotel.  For 141 years the Sisters of St. Joseph have educated countless students. In the year 2015, they continue with enthusiasm and dedication to “connect neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God” within the Archdiocese of Boston and beyond.

During this event, The Hynes Family of Boston was the honored with the Dear Neighbor Award.  This award was

The Hynes family of Boston receives Dear Neighbor Award

The Hynes family of Boston receives Dear Neighbor Award

given in recognition of the outstanding contributions they have made to the growth and prosperity of Boston and, especially, for their contributions to the poor and disenfranchised through their compassionate philanthropy. Bostonians fondly remember Mayor John B. Hynes and popular TV anchor, Jack Hynes. Co-chairs of the evening, Barry, John, and Tom Hynes, were present to receive the award, speak on behalf of the family, and congratulate the Sisters of St. Joseph for their decades of service and presence among the people of Boston.

During the evening Mike Sheehan, CEO of the Boston Globe and MC for the event, introduced Sisters Cathy Clifford, Mary O’Rourke, and Pat Andrews who were featured in a brief video about the way in which the Sisters of St. Joseph “connect  neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God.”

The guest speaker was Kristen Donoghue McCosh, an active and vocal member of the disability community for over 30 years beginning in 1983 when, as a freshman at Mount St. Joseph Academy, she sustained a spinal cord injury in a diving accident. Kristen explained that, “Nearly a decade before the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, the Sisters of St. Joseph made my return to school possible.” She continued, “They did not need a federal law to tell them what to do, because they followed a divine law.”

Kristen is pictured here with Sister Ellen Pumphret, CSJ, the principal of MSJA who made Kristen's access to school possible.

Kristen is pictured here with Sister Ellen Pumphret, CSJ, the principal of MSJA who made Kristen’s access to school possible.

Today, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, provide support for countless individuals in need throughout the Boston area and well beyond. Many sisters, associates, and lay partners minister in schools and parishes, volunteer as literacy and citizenship tutors, advocate for survivors of human trafficking, and companion the aged and infirm. Others provide counseling and spiritual companionship for those who desire to deepen their relationship with God. A few of these ministries include St. Joseph Retreat Center, The Literacy Connection, Casserly House, and The Women’s Table.

Thanks to Co-Chairs, John, Barry, and Tom Hynes and their enthusiastic and dedicated committee, this event raised over $630,000. This is testimony to the support needed for these ministries to grow as the Sisters of St. Joseph continue to connect neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God.  To view the dinner video and learn more about the Sisters of St. Joseph and their ministries visit

January 13, 2015

Boston Area Catholic Sisters Host Prayer Vigil for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Boston Area Catholic Sisters Host Prayer Vigil for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

traf prayer 1-11-15 kyong-terryJ-mtor-md

Click on picture above to view a short video of our Human Trafficking Awareness Prayer Vigil.

Boston, MA: In 2007 the U.S. Senate designated January 11th as a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness in an effort to raise consciousness about this global, national and local issue. In 2010-2015, President Barack Obama proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. For the eighth consecutive year, local  Catholic Sisters representing sixteen congregations in the Greater Boston Area gathered with over 150 sisters, associates, and many friends on January 11, 2015, to mark this national day and pray for an end to human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery.  This Boston Anti-trafficking Coalition, which is a collaboration of congregations of women religious in the Boston area, believes that in addition to words and actions, prayer and silent vigil are powerful tools to eradicate human trafficking.

During the introduction to the prayer, participants were reminded of Pope Francis’ 2015 New Year’s World Day of Peace Message in which he calls on all nations to fight “modern forms of enslavement” and human trafficking. Francis continues, “…millions of people today are deprived of freedom and are forced to live in conditions akin to slavery.”

On this national day of awareness, participants know that they do not stand alone. In cities all across the country, similar groups gathered in solidarity, in prayer, in vigil-keeping throughout the country. The group is also heartened by the words and efforts of many civic and church leaders across the commonwealth, the country, and the world who realize that the $150 billion dollar worldwide ‘industry’ of trafficking of  more than 21 million persons runs counter to basic tenets regarding the dignity and value of each person.

Roman Catholic women religious have been key leaders in the national and international movement to stop human trafficking. Each year they have been joined by associates, co-workers, relatives, friends, students, and other concerned citizens to give witness to the dignity of each person. In prayer and silent vigil they stand with and for those children, women, and men who are exploited for labor and for sex through the evil of  human trafficking, modern day slavery. They also pray for the conversion of traffickers themselves.

As Pope France’s 2015 World Day of Peace Message reminds us, all peoples are our family, and together, we need to cry out and act to end the human trafficking of our brothers and sisters.



The Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious includes several religious congregations representing over 800 women religious in the greater Boston area.

Background Information

An estimated 850,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide, according to the U.S. State Department, 20,000 of them into the United States. Human trafficking forces men, women, and children into pornography, prostitution and other sexual exploitation, as well as labor exploitation. In 1998, the realization that trafficking was a growing problem around the world—and that it was being largely unaddressed—led to the formation of a, broad-based coalition of women’s organizations, faith-based groups, children’s groups, labor groups, and health groups. Together this bi-partisan coalition drafted and helped pass the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The law provides a comprehensive approach to elimination of trafficking in persons through a three-pronged strategy—prevention, prosecution, and protection. In 2003 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services began educating segments of the public about the horrors of human trafficking. Their efforts began with members of women’s religious communities who have the potential to educate and influence others on behalf of victims of trafficking.

 Contact: Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, Director of Communications, Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston,  617.746.2110

November 26, 2014

You’re invited to Memorial Prayer for Churchwomen of El Salvador

There is much to view from the home page of our website. I’ve also included the direct links to each of these pages:

csj publications home page

el salvador for facebook

Motherhouse Chapel during 2013 prayer for Churchwomen of El Salvador

We would love to see you on December 2 and at the liturgies and Taize Prayer listed on our website as well.

November 22, 2014

Happy Feast of Mother St. John Fontbonne

msjf statue for webToday, November 22, is the anniversary of the death of Mother St. John Fontbonne. In this post I offer a prayer that I wrote for Fontbonne Academy, my Alma Mater. as we celebrate our 60th anniversary; and a reflection that was done for staff prayer at our Motherhouse. It is gleaned and adapted from a variety of sources.

Prayer in the Spirit of Mother St. John Fontbonne 

God of wisdom and grace,

we pray in the spirit of Mother St. John Fontbonne.

May our lives model her humility, fidelity and courage

as we embrace this present moment.

With an expansive heart,

Mother St. John Fontbonne opened herself

to the unfolding mystery of God’s call

in herself and in the dear neighbor.

Inspired by her vision, strength, and compassion,

may we live and work

with the Zeal of Christ Jesus, “that all may be one.”



Reflection on Jeanne Fontbonne

Today we remember the 171st  Anniversary of the death of Mother St. John Fontbonne.

Even before she entered religious life, Jeanne Fontbonne had begun to adjust her plans and dreams to respond to the needs that surrounded her.  The chaos of the French Revolution affected the personal life of almost every faithful Catholic. It violently disrupted the lives of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Their ministry was destroyed, they were imprisoned without trial, and some were guillotined.

After the revolution Mother St. John Fontbonne responded in new ways to meet the needs of the neighbor. Before she died, she had founded or reorganized more than 240 houses of the Congregation throughout France, not to mention those in foreign lands.

At 77 years old, she engaged the congregation in a new expression of its Catholicism: a foundation in America. Instead of conceiving a plan and making it happen, she opened herself so that the plan of God could take flesh and become history – in her and in the neighbor.

May our prayer today, deepen our awareness that our work is a ministry that weaves the story of inclusive love throughout the neighborhood of the universe.

November 7, 2014

Soundings Update – November 7, 2014

su Nov 07-2014

Soundings Update has gotten a little off its every-two-week schedule because of the CSSJ Heritage Pilgrimage. The current issue is three pages long rather than the standard two pages.

This issue contains quite a bit of information about activities with associates

  • in Boston
  • in New Mexico
  • and in collaboration with associates throughout New England.

There are also some dates and events you may want to mark in your calendar. Know you are most welcome at our Sunday and weekday liturgies at the Motherhouse and Fontbonne Convent.


October 26, 2014

Le Puy, France: Around the town

Well, it all seems to be about adaquate internet access. I can’t get online via my laptop at the moment so these are a few (very few) pictures taken with my phone. If our IT people worked here, it would be a different story. On Saturday, Philippe gave us a little walking tour of LePuy and then left us on our own to visit the lace shops and have lunch.

In the afternoon, we visted the ancient kitchen — this never ceases to be a powerful experience. Sister Simone of the LePuy congregation hosted the visit.  Even though the floor and stone fireplace are the only parts that date back to our beginning in 1650, it was still powerful to know that the energy of our first six sisters was in this place.

Some of us walked the 260-something stairs to the top of Rocher St. Michael. We exercised muscles we never knew we had but it was well worth it!image

this is a window in the chapel at the top.


Today we visited the cathedral. After a tour and a chance to visit their gift shop, we joined the parish for 11:00am Mass. We were publically introduced and welcomed in French and English.



In about an hour, we head back to the CSSJ International Centre for more group prayer and dinner with the sisters there.

Thank you to those who have expressed an interest in these updates. Pray for better internet so more pictures can be sent.

October 24, 2014

CSSJ Pilgrimage: Lyon to Le Puy en Velay

Here are a few pictures of today’s pilgrimage path from Lyon to Le Puy en Velay.



We traveled first to St. Didier, a very small town. Here we stopped to see the place that marks the site where Jeanne Fontbonne and her sisters were imprisoned during the French Revolution.

Our next stop was Monistrol. This is where Jeanne Fontbonne and her blood sister entered the Sisters of St. Joseph. The church in the pictures is where the sisters refused to support the revolution’s attempt to take control of the Catholic Church.

10-24-14 monistrol church

10-24-14 monistrol candles brenda-margaret

Just sitting in this church our group felt a powerful connection with Mother St. John Fontbonne. Many lit candles in the church.


The countryside in the Loire Valley is spectacular. Just driving through it is a feast for the eyes and soul.


After lunch in Monistrol [every meal, no matter how simple, is delicious in France!] we headed to Bas-en-Basset, the birth place of Jeanne Fontbonne. In August, 2008 the town named a street after Mother St. John Fontbonne. We found the street and Philippe, our guide, translated the words under the street sign. It was simple but powerful.


On this street is the house that is presumed to be the Fontbonne family home. It’s the door with the stone framework.

10-24-14 lepuy sunset

Finally, we arrived in Le Puy. The sun was setting on Rocher Ste. Michele when we as we approached the International Centre. Mystical! After a welcome from the sisters at the centre, we spent almost an hour in a profound sharing of all that is in our hearts after these two very full days.

10-24-14 lepuy prayer

Tomorrow we explore Le Puy and visit the ancient kitchen.

CSSJ Heritage Pilgrimage 2014: Lyon, France

pilgrimage 3a

pilgrimage 4

It’s been a long and wonderful two days. So I’ll just present this slide show. We prayed in the Chapel at the Motherhouse in Lyon. After the prayer, I learned that the song we used, “I See Myself In You” was first sung in that chapel back in 2008 for the 200th anniversary of Mother St. John coming to Lyon.

pilgrimage 3

pilgrimage 5

We visited Mother St. John’s grave where we had another short prayer and placed flowers on her grave. Then it was off to Old Lyon for lunch and some shopping. Finally we visited the Silk Museum where we learned about the history of the silk industry and how Lyon came to be such a world-wide center for the silk weaving.

pilgrimage 3a

pilgrimage 6

pilgrimage 7

pilgrimage 8

pilgrimage 9

The day was topped of with a perfect dinner in the hotel restaurant. On Friday, we leave for Le Puy via St. Didier, Monistrol, and Bas-en-Bassett

October 21, 2014

Sisters of St. Joseph Heritage Pilgrimage: preview & prayer

Today is the day! 24 Sisters of St. Joseph and Associates from across the United States and Canada depart for a pilgrimage to the sacred sites of our common history. While over half the group is comprised of sisters and associates from the Boston Congregation, the others come from eight different CSSJ congregations of provinces. That’s a total of nine congregations of Sisters of St. Joseph from the U.S. and Canada.

As most readers know, the Sisters of St. Joseph began in France about 364 years ago in Le Puy-en-Veley. Just yesterday, Go France, a popular online travel site named Le Puy as one of the top 10 underrated travel destinations in France. Click here for more: Go France

Stay tuned to this newly updated blog. I will try to add updates every couple of days.

Please pray for us as we set out on this “pilgrimage of the heart.” In a very real way we are all on pilgrimage. Whether you are able to travel to France of to a local site that holds sacred memories, entering into the spirit of pilgrimage has the power to transform our heart and soul. The prayer below was written for our pilgrimage but all are invited to pray this prayer in the days ahead — not only for those going to France but for each of you as you journey each day to the center of your heart.

We walk this day  with our God of Inclusive Love

We walk this day with Christ of Outpouring Love.

We walk this day with the Spirit of Communal Love.



with the zeal of Jesus,

the fidelity of Mary,

and the cordial charity of Joseph

may we walk with the Trinity and the Trinity walk with us

as we journey along life’s way.

Bless us, O God, our pilgrimage path.



CSSJ Heritage Pilgrimage — Oct. 21-Nov. 1, 2014