Friday, October 31, 2014
   
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Meet a Sister

Click below for individual sisters' stories:

Sister Andrea Dumont Sister Andrea Dumont
Deep down I knew this was where I should be.

My entrance into this world happened in St. Catharines, Ontario. During primary classes, when a visiting missionary spoke to us, I decided I wanted to be a missionary, but in my mind there was no connection between that and being a "nun."

Sister Anne Lemire Photo
... a kaleidoscope of daily miracles.
A backward glance over 60 grace-filled, wonder-full years of my life as a Sister of St. Joseph shows me a kaleidoscope of daily miracles. What stands out and is forever treasured is the faces of the people who have enriched my life.
Sister Anne Marie Marrin Photo
The women who mentored me in all these experiences taught me that everyone is to be treated with respect and dignity.

Home was the foundation of my vocation where faith was lived, not necessarily talked about, and living in the community has given me great opportunities to express that love in ministering to others.

Sister Anne Purcell
What stands out for me in my years of health care is the people I have met...
I feel very blessed because of all I have received and the opportunities that came my way because of my vocation. In 1959, I began my health care profession as a student nurse at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto. During this time, I attended a retreat where I heard myself asking, "How do you know if you have a vocation?" Shortly thereafter, I entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.
Sister Anne Schenck Sister Anne Schenck
I realize that the seeds were sown in many childhood experiences.

The idea of becoming a "Sister" was often on my mind during my early years. I realize that the seeds were sown in many childhood experiences.

Sister Barbara Grozelle Sister Barbara Grozelle
I give thanks to God for his unconditional love.

Just recently, while at St. Michael's, a receptionist called me over to hear this story: "Sister, this man remembers when he got a sandwich when he needed it. He doesn't need a sandwich now, but he hasn't forgotten the love and care he received from your group at Inner City Health."

Sister Bernadette Robinson Sister Bernadette Robinson
I thank God each day for my call to religious life.

I am a first generation Canadian, born of an Irish mother and an English father. No doubt the biggest single influence on my vocation was my mother, who had a deep reverence for her Sister teachers, the Sisters of St. Louis in Ireland.

Sister Betty Lou Knox Sister Betty Lou Knox
I am even more convinced of the power and necessity of beauty and the arts to nourish the human spirit.

From Quebec, we moved to Toronto in 1942 where I graduated from St. Joseph's College in 1951. The ordinariness of the Sisters impressed me and I appreciated their introduction of social concerns and stories of their western Canada missions. I entered our community after Grade 13 and enjoyed two years of teaching in Ontario and 13 years in Vancouver, Terrace, Prince Rupert and New Hazelton, B.C.

Sister Cecelia Tallack Sister Cecilia Tallack
I think my traveling days are probably over, but my journey is not yet complete.

"My journey began on the day of my First Holy Communion when I was given a deep conviction that God, for some strange reason, wanted me to follow Him as a Sister of St. Joseph. It continued throughout all my school years, during the period I worked at 'Investors Syndicate of Canada' as well as in the novitiate.

Sister Cecilia Barry Sister Cecilia Barry
My days are filled with thanksgiving.

The first 10 years of my life were lived in the small, Irish farm community of Colgan, Ontario. My home, where I lived with my parents, five brothers and two sisters as well as my aunt and grandfather, was a place filled with love, music, faith and laughter.

Sister Conrad Lauber Sister Conrad Lauber
All these experiences have been a wonderful preparation for the pinnacle of my career and perhaps the greatest joy.

After 55 years of full time ministry, I can relate to Thomas Edison's quote, "I never did a day's work in my life — it has all been fun." There is great joy and satisfaction in teaching young men and women, not only math and science and English, even religion - but mostly, teaching about life - preparing a foundation for young people, encouraging them to dream dreams, to reach for the stars, so that if they don't quite hit a st

Sister Divinia Pedro Sister Divinia Pedro
I have met God and felt his love among the poor, the broken-hearted and the marginalized.

My desire to enter religious life began when I was a young, non-Catholic teenager in the Philippines, but I had to set it aside to help with my family’s needs. However, in 1987, my mother’s cancer in remission, I became a Catholic and emigrated to Canada.

Sister Dorothy Schweitzer
I received far more than I gave.
As I look back over the 50 years I have been a Sister of St. Joseph, I am amazed that the years have melted away so quickly. Even more — I am filled with gratitude for the gifts I have received. Through most of these years, I was a high school teacher in Toronto, Oshawa, Vancouver and Edmonton.
Sister Elizabeth Budicky Photo
I am grateful for the gifts I have received...
I always wanted to be a nurse, but a stronger desire grew within me — that of responding to God's love by becoming a Sister of St. Joseph. I studied nursing; later I taught nursing and loved to teach the students about caring for patients at the bedside, in the nursery and operating room. Many still keep in touch.

Sister Ellen Leonard Sister Ellen Leonard
My membership in the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph has given me the opportunity to develop my gifts and to share them with others.

"I entered the world under the eye of Sister Vincentia," says Sister Ellen, describing her birth in 1933 at St. Michael's Hospital, then under the direction of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.

Ellen attended St. Joseph's College School, where the teachers impressed her and she felt called to join the congregation upon finishing high school.

Sister Enid Selke Photo
How fortunate to be able to once again do what I love to do — to teach!
I always wanted to be a teacher (so I could use a red pencil)! I attended St. Joseph's College School and then, on September 7th, 1941, I entered the convent. 

Sister Georgette Gregory Sister Georgette Gregory
Society today has a great need for the spiritual.

I felt an attraction to religious life as far back as Grade Eight. The Sisters of St. Joseph taught me throughout my school years and Sisters Helen McGrath and St. Gregory had the biggest impact on me. When I left high school for work, I again met the Sisters at St. Michael's Hospital in the laboratory office. Sister St. Jude was outgoing and vivacious and I admired her. With a little pushing from Sr. Helen, I finally responded to my inner desire.

Sister Grace Sauvé Sister Grace Sauvé
After more than 60 years as a Sister of St. Joseph, I am grateful to be able to be a word of God to those around me.

As the eldest of eleven children I had a great training ground for life in a religious community. We moved often, from city to country and places of beauty that gave me a sense of oneness with the Mystery of God. I met the Sisters of St. Joseph in summer school catechism classes and later at St. Joseph’s College School in Toronto.

Sister Gwen Smith Sister Gwen Smith
My joy is to bring these stories each night to the God who enjoys them even more than I do!

My past 50 years with the Sisters of St. Joseph has morphed into many different shapes. I've participated in the following: media literacy, Youth Corps, prison, community, Christian Family Peace Weekends, parish ministry, lay spiritual formation, social justice, refugee advocacy, protests, St. Francis Table, community kitchens and gardens, mental heath issues, Cherish the Earth, Celebrate Women as well as Furniture Bank.

Sister Helen Kluke Sister Helen Kluke
Deep within I hear, "I will show you the path I have chosen for you."

When I was 7-years-old, I attended St. Michael's School, where Sisters of St. Joseph taught me. Sisters Imelda, Norah and Fleurette were all women who touched my life.

Sister Irene Butler Photo
... it was just wonderful to be part of the lives of so many people... 
Newfoundland was not even part of Canada when I entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph as a landed immigrant.
Sister Jacqueline de Verteuil Sister Jacqueline de Verteuil
I love the surprises God sends to our lives.

As she looks back on her years with her community, Sister Jacqueline de Verteuil says, "My strongest feeling is gratitude. My vocation enables me to use my God-given gifts serving the people of God."

Sister Jane Dwyer Sister Jane Dwyer
They had impressed me as women who did the work of God without much fanfare.

After high school, I attended the University of Toronto and began studying to be a doctor. I appreciated the challenge of the medical world. But by the end of my second pre-med year, I was experiencing a call to religious life. I decided to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph, who had taught me in school. They had impressed me as women who did the work of God without much fanfare.

Sister Jane Wilcox Photo
The students and the teachers added a rich dimension to my life.
I was born on May 29, 1936 and grew up in East York with four brother and two sisters. I attended Holy Cross Elementary School and St. Joseph’s College School. In high school, I took a commercial course. Upon leaving school, I worked seven years as a secretary in advertising at The Globe and Mail. I entered the Sisters of St.
Sister Janet Fraser Sister Janet Fraser
The seeds for this latest ministry were sown at age five.

I lived in St. Monica's Parish, Toronto. Family and parish were always a community affair. Joining another community seemed not so different!

Sister Janet Speth Sister Janet Speth
When I met the Sisters of St. Joseph, their spirit attracted me: diversity in unity, reconciliation, going where the needs were not being met.

I grew up in Sudbury in Northern Ontario. I developed both love for the Roman Catholic faith tradition and a keen mind for questioning everything, including religion. At 8-years-old, I yearned for a heart like God's — big enough to accept differences and opposing ideas.

Sister Jean De Luca Photo
These were wonderful years for me...
I was born in Toronto and grew up in St. Patrick’s parish. My years of ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph were either directly or indirectly related to education. For many years, I was a teacher at the elementary, secondary and later at the post-secondary levels. During a five year period, I was involved in addiction research programmes in Toronto and Ottawa. This included individual and family counselling.
Sister Jean Leahy Photo
I can think of many examples of nurturing...
The first thing to consider is how much I have been nurtured in community over these years.
Sister Marcella Iredale Photo
I have been privileged to touch the lives of others... 
My ministry has been primarily in Health Care Administration at St. Joseph's General Hospital, Comox, B.C. and in Toronto at Providence Villa, Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, as Executive Director and as Vice President at St. Joseph's Health Centre. I remember my 10 years in Comox fondly. You have to live in a rural area to appreciate the interdependence of people.
Sister Margaret Feeley
I had the privilege of sharing in many lives.
It was a memorable day — September 7, 1952 — when I said my goodbyes to family and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph. I had attended the Nursing School at St. Michael's Hospital for one year and after my making my first vows, I was missioned to St. Michael's Hospital to complete my nursing training. After graduation, my next ministry was at our Infirmary at St.
Sister Margaret Mary McGurk Photo
How blessed to be called to so many places... 
Before Sister Margaret Mary McGurk became a Sister, she worked for several years at St. Michael's Hospital, so she knew a few of the Sisters. When a mission in her parish brought into focus the desires she had been experiencing for some years, she turned to Sister St. Nilus at St. Michael's to inquire about entering the Sisters of St. Joseph. She made an appointment and within a week, the deed was done.
Sister Marguerite Walters Photo
... the Lord will put me where He wants me.
Sister Marguerite Walters was born and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was taught by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in both elementary and secondary school.
Sister Marie Howorth Sister Marie Howorth
Over the years, my relationship with God has deepened.

I grew up in Toronto in a Catholic family with six children. I attended St. Joseph's School on Leslie St. In Grade 8, I was chosen to crown Our Lady in our school's outdoor procession. Then I attended St. Joseph's College School. In Grade 13, I was on the student council. I was impressed by many of my teachers, who were Sisters of St. Joseph.

Sister Mary Buckley Sister Mary Buckley
God continues to share moments with me — sometimes among others and sometimes just the two of us...

I am one of a very rare species: a fourth generation Torontonian. My great-grandparents arrived in Canada in the mid-1800s and settled in Toronto in what was then Cabbagetown. When my parents married, my father moved one block up, my mother one block over. We were all members of St. Paul's parish, Toronto's oldest.

Sister Mary Carmen MacLean Sister Mary Carmen MacLean
The growth I value most is in my relationship with my Lord and God.

Born on the east coast of Canada, Cape Breton was my home for 18 years. I was brought up in a large family of five boys and three girls on a farm near the Bras d'Or Lakes. Our parents made sure that we had chores to do around the home and the farm. This helped us to learn about responsibility at an early age.

Sister Mary Carol Lemire Sister Mary Carol Lemire
Above all, I am most grateful to God for God's fidelity to me.

I was born in Toronto. At St. Joseph's College School, staffed by Sisters of St. Joseph, it would have been difficult to be immune to the inspiration of the Sisters' dedicated lives. I loved my Grade 1 teacher, Sister Mary Alban Hennessey, and often remained after school to help her. My mother tells me I had voiced my desire, even then, to be a Sister. Sister St. Ivan, my Grade 8 teacher, was another strong influence.

Sister Mary James McMahon Photo
Her natural warmth and sincere caring attitude endeared her...
Sister Mary McMahon was born and raised in Port Credit. She completed her elementary and secondary education there. Upon graduating from high school, she enrolled in St. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing, obtaining her R.N. in 1939. She worked as a registered nurse at St.
Sister Mary Macoretta Sister Mary Macoretta
God guided me through the people he placed on my path.

I came from the town of Thorold. My parents owned a grocery store. I attended Holy Rosary School, where I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. What I most remember about these Sisters is their kindness, honesty, creativity and humanity.

Sister Mary Mettler Photo
I always felt as cared for as much as I had assisted.
My first mission as a newly-professed Sister was to St. Joseph’s Health Centre, where I saw the Sisters engaged in ministry to the sick and their loved ones. This new experience is what drew me to study nursing — that I might live out the motto "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to Me." Nurturing community wasn’t the language we used at that time, but that is what we did. 
 
My years with St.
Sister Mary Ruth Creamer
I am grateful and happy to have shared in the health care mission of our congregation.
Sister Mary Ruth Creamer felt at home with the Sisters of St. Joseph from the time she was a child. She had an aunt in the congregation, also Sr. Mary Ruth. Through visits with her and attending St. Joseph's High School on Jarvis Street, she was well acquainted with many Sisters.
 
While visiting her aunt, it was through a chance conversation with a doctor at St.
Sister Mary Sibbald Sister Mary Sibbald
I am constantly aware that the Holy Spirit has been active in my life during my years of teaching, doing parish ministry and working with people who are homeless.

I was born in Ireland and came to Canada in 1962. During my years in Teacher Training College, I got to know the Sisters of Mercy. Several students who graduated with me entered religious communities. Although I respected their choice, I myself never contemplated such an action at that time.

Sister Mechtilde O'Mara Sr. Mechtilde O'Mara, CSJ
My prayer was to have the wisdom to know God's will and the courage to do it.

Aware of God's great love, I desired from an early age to respond by loving God as fully as I could. This desire was my constant companion and led to my becoming a Sister of St. Joseph. Because two of my aunts were Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters were my teachers in nearly every grade from the third until university, I felt that I knew and admired these Sisters for their evident dedication.

Sister Monica Marie Kelly
The Lord has been at my side... 
The word that comes to mind is: "Changes." When I first entered on September 14, 1962, there were 26 new postulants, today called candidates. That band number decreased each time I took a new step: receiving the habit, first vows, renewal of vows and final vows on August 26, 1970. I first trained in nursing but much preferred the Food Supervisor’s Course that followed.
Sister Nida Fe Chavez Sister Nida Fe Chavez
When I fell in love with God, I also fell in love with the people around me and all God’s creation.

My roots are in Manila, Philippines, where I grew up with my younger Sister and three brothers. Both my parents originated in Cuenca, Batangas, and it was there that I enjoyed school breaks with my grandparents, relatives and cousins who lived at the foot of a mountain.

Sister Pat Conway Sister Pat Conway
It was evident that they were happy women.

Just recently a young woman came to see me to talk about the Sisters of St. Joseph. She is from the Niagara Peninsula but is attending college in Northern Ontario where she is acquainted with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Before the conversation went too far she said that she would like to hear "my story." Much of what follows is what I told her.

Sister Patricia Macaulay Sister Patricia Macaulay
My ministry pattern has been to first work in a ministry, and then enrich that experience with further education.

Since 2007, I have been living and working in Fort St. James B.C. Father Frank Salmon OMI had been without Sisters for one year. The elders prayed for Sisters to come to help him — and they got three!

Sister Peggy Bach Sister Peggy Bach
God came along, picked me up, wiped off the mud and saw I was beautiful.

I was born in Saskatchewan. My family moved to Vancouver when I was 5 and the Sisters of St. Joseph taught me in high school.

Sister Rita Marie McLean Sister Rita Marie McLean
My life in community ... has been the bedrock that has kept me rooted in the good times and the bad.

I was born in an Ontario mining town. My early faith depended on my mother, who regularly sent me to catechism. God also spoke to me in the landscape of rocks and lakes where I swam and in the skies lit by the Aurora Borealis.

Sister Rita Smith Photo
I'm thankful for my path... 
Religious life has been my path to try to follow Jesus. I was gifted with the opportunity to announce Good News while teaching, caring for children with disabilities, supporting staff in a large high school, and offering hundreds of hand-made hats, scarves, baby blankets, mitts, and body warmers to brothers and sisters particularly in Africa, Peru and Haiti, with my knitting and crocheting skills.
Sister Roberta Freeman Sister Roberta Freeman
You want to do whatever you can to assist people where their need is.

Sister Roberta describes her arrival in Toronto from Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, as providential:

"From the time I graduated from high school, I really felt the call to religious life... When I came to Toronto, the first place I saw was St. Joseph Convent on Bay Street, so one day I went in to meet a Sister of St. Joseph whose family I knew in Calgary. From there on, I proceeded to enter and have been a member of the Congregation for over 50 years."

Sister Rosemary Fry Sister Rosemary Fry
I grew in attentiveness to all the ways God accompanies me as I follow the longings I experience.

"Each morning the Lord awakens me to listen." (Isaiah 50:4) Many years ago, this passage entered my heart so that I grew in attentiveness to all the ways God accompanies me as I follow my longings. As I reflect back I perceive care and delicacy in this accompaniment and also amazing surprises.

Sister Rosemary McGinn Photo
My heart is always touched and nourished...
Nurturing community for me, as a Sister of St. Joseph, has taken place in the health-care field over these 50 years. During my retirement years, as I have been blessed with energy and zeal, I chose to be a presence and share my "hands-on gift" with the poor, the alienated and the homeless at Mustard Seed.
Sister Stephanie Sinkewicz Photo
I walked this path for my own growth; then it became a significant ministry to offer to others.
The most significant experiences I have lived in my 60 years as a Sister of St. Joseph were the 20 years of involvement in PRH (Personality and Human Relations).
Sister Sue Mosteller Sister Sue Mosteller
My life-journey has been one of relationships with wonderful and amazing people, some of whom were disabled, and all of whom shaped my transformation.

Sue Mosteller came from Ohio to boarding school with the Sisters of St. Joseph. "The Sisters were open, friendly, and their spirit and vitality drew me, and made me thrive." She later entered the order.

Sister Teresa Garvey Sister Teresa Garvey
God has surely blessed me and shown me the way.

At the time of my birth, my father, a Roman Catholic, was hoping that I would be baptized in his religion. My mother was a High Anglican and my two brothers and I were baptized in her religion.

As a teenager, forever researching other churches for meaning in my life, I was slowly drawn to the Catholic Church.

Sister Theresa Rodgers Sister Theresa Rodgers
And that has made all the difference. — Robert Frost

As I think back on my life, I can see God's hand guiding me even when I resisted that guidance. In high school, I had a good friend with whom I travelled to school. When she was in Grade 12, she began to think seriously about a religious vocation. That started me thinking about how one knew whether or not she has a vocation.

Sister Thérèse Meunier Photo
There seemed to be a longing for something else in my life.

I will share with you how the call from God looked like and felt like for me. It will come in a different way for each person.

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