From those to whom we minister, we receive more than we give

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The sisters of St. Joseph celebrate 150 years of ministry and presence in the Archdiocese of Boston in the year 2023. At the invitation of Bishop John Williams and Father Thomas Magennis, four Sisters of St. Joseph from New York arrived in Boston on Oct. 2, 1873, and four days later, a school opened in the basement of St. Thomas Aquinas Church for two hundred students.

Since 1873, we have been abundantly blessed in our service to 130 schools, 30 health care ministries, and 85 service ministries. We have been in mission in California and Peru and continue to serve in New Mexico.

Our service includes administration, teaching, religious education, pastoral ministry, AIDS ministry, retreat ministry, advocacy for the homeless and at-risk youth, grief counseling, and so much more.

We recognize that we never did this alone. We engage in this year of celebration with grateful hearts for all who have accompanied us during these past 150 years. The Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston includes these words, "We acknowledge humbly and gratefully that from those to whom we minister, we receive more than we give, indeed in full measure and flowing over."

We can never forget the generosity, love, prayers, and friendship of all who have been part of our lives in Boston and beyond. All are visible signs of God's loving presence in our midst. The loving support of so many has enabled us to be faithful to our mission and the call to serve.

Since our founding in Le Puy, France, in 1650, the life and mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph has always been rooted in the "love of God and love of neighbor without distinction." As Sisters of St Joseph, we believe that the work of reconciliation and unifying love is our mission.

Words again from the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston: We strive in every aspect of our lives to be a visible sign of God's presence and active love (Spirit and Purpose #5). We look to Joseph as our model of justice, gentleness, and humility, extending as he did, a cordial charity toward all.

The Archives of the Sisters of St Joseph contain beautiful memories of years of dedicated service -- the many ways that we feel forever blessed in our vocations because of those with whom we journeyed along the way.

I share with you words of gratitude taken from writings of a few of our Sisters.

"I could have never imagined how wonderful this life would be. Teaching children was challenging at times. Nevertheless, watching them grow to achieve their God-given potential has always touched my heart. God is so good."

"God's providence has followed me throughout my life. I always experienced a little bit of heaven wherever I was missioned."

"God's promises are ever new each day and I have found them one hundredfold in all the places that I have served. Thank you, God."

"I recall entering the Congregation because I felt God called me, and I loved God, but what happened over the years is that I have grown in the deeper realization of being truly loved by God."

"My memories of wonderful people have had a deep impact on me. I was nurtured by this Body of Christ everywhere that I was missioned."

"My heart is very grateful for people who provided me with these experiences of knowing God in a very real way."

We celebrate and offer thanks to all who have been a part of our cherished and sacred history. We look forward to the future with great hope because of you. Let us continue to pray for one another.

God bless you and thank you!