Welcome to my blogroll, Sr. Joanne!

Image by Joanne Gallagher, C.S.J. (Click on image for a larger version of this glorious hanging basket!)

I'm pleased to share with you a link to a blog I just discovered: A Sister of St. Joseph's Blog.

It's written by Sr. Joanne Gallagher, C.S.J. whom I've known for many years but haven't been in touch with for some time. I was glad to find Joanne's blog which I'm sure relates to her work as the Director of Communication for the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston.

Joanne's most recent posts included the image above and many more from a week she spent in Weston, Vermont which, as you may know, is the home of the Benedictine Weston Priory.

For posting on "being a Sister of St. Joseph in today's world: connecting neighbor to neighbor and neighbor to God," check out A Sister of St. Joseph's Blog which will now be linked on my sidebar.



  1. How nice to pick up old connections! Weston Priory is one of my favorite places and we miss being able to just run up there for a weekend. The Monks are wonderful and prayer (especially early AM) & Mass with them is very moving. Worth a trip for anyone.

  2. I wish Sr. Joanne appeared to love what she does. What happened to the notion that religious sisters "joy in God?" When I see a sister who conveys disappointment and frustration it does not make me want to follow her example.

  3. "Disappointment and frustration"?

    Are you kidding?

    And if you aren't - what are you referring on St. Joanne's blog?

  4. Correction: I saw no evidence of disappointment and frustration

  5. Father Fleming, I'm not the anonymous above, but I did follow the links at Sr. Joanne's (not "St."!-)and read about the order. It made me sad. I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph many years ago (back when everyone wore white gloves and a hat to church) and they were wonderful. What I saw when I downloaded information were pictures of groups of gray-haired women -- not even a middle-aged nun left! (And no young nuns coming to fill the gap.) And I of course read their declaration on human trafficking, which is praiseworthy. But it linked them to the LCWR, which is now under investigation by the Vatican for orthodoxy. That is why I'm sad. They don't seem to be the strong thriving order they were. Perhaps they have moved away from their original charism -- that often leads to a decline in a religious movement.

    Anyway, I thank those nuns who taught me (many, many years ago)the basics of the faith from the Baltimore Catechism.

    Irish Gal

  6. It was not my intention to prematurely canonize Sr. (not St.) Joanne. My apology for the typo.

  7. I love that blog! Thanks for the info CP.

    I know many wonderful Sisters of St. Joseph here in this diocese, really amazing women. One of them is the dean of my theology school, another our youth minister, so many more - far too numerous to enumerate here.


  8. "But it linked them to the LCWR, which is now under investigation by the Vatican for orthodoxy."

    Not exactly true. The purpose is to look into the "quality of life" of religious women in the United States. That is what Cardinal Rode requested. I don't think he used the words "investigate for orthodoxy". I could be wrong. Although I believe it is unfair in different ways (men religious are not being investigated)and life for these sisters is not always easy they have accomplished much good for our modern church. So in that sense, their quality of life is outstanding!

  9. Anne: Actually there are currently two initiatives from Rome regarding women religious in the US and one is "a doctrinal assessment of LCWR’s activities and initiatives." That assessment effort is distinct from the study of communities of women religious in the US.

  10. Anne,

    As Father Fleming points out, the statement is true, and has been very widely reported.

    And in fact, the "doctrinal assessment" is because the sisters have apparently ignored previous cautions on the public statements and direction of the LCWR. Here is a link from EWTN that gives the unfortunate history of the group:


    And then there is a story on an address to the LCWR in which the main speaker said that her Catholic religious congregation was "post-Christian."


    Irish Gal

  11. Thank you, IG, for the links! They helped me to get to the source, the talk given by Sr. Laurie Brink, O.P. at the 2007 LCWR Assembly. If you go to the LCWR site you can read Brink's talk in which, you'll find, she does not name her own religious community as "post-Christian" but rather refers in those terms to a Benedictine community which has formally left the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, Brink's talk does not advocate this but rather lays out four different directions in which communities of women religious might head these days. Actually, she clearly declares that she speaks for no particular group and that she advocates no one particular path.

    Thanks, IG, for getting us to the sources.

  12. You're welcome, as always, Concord pastor! But I think you gave too little heed to Sister Brink's preferences for a path. On page 13 of the .pdf file containing her speech, I found a telling statement in which she praises the "sourjourners" (these are the post-Christian people, who are "moving beyond.")

    If you can handle a longish quote for the com box:

    "Sojourners have left the religious home of their fathers and mothers and are traveling in a foreign land, mapping their way as they go. They are courageous women among us. And they very well may provide a glimpse into the new thing that God is bringing about in our midst. Who’s to say that the movement beyond Christ is not, in reality, a movement into the very heart of God? A movement the ecclesiastical system would not recognize. A wholly new way of being holy that is integrative, non-dominating, and inclusive. But a whole new way that is also not Catholic Religious Life. The Benedictine Women of Madison are the most current example I can name. Their commitment to ecumenism lead them beyond the exclusivity of the Catholic Church into a new inclusivity, where all manner of seeking God is welcomed. They are certainly religious women, but they are no longer women religious as it is defined by the Roman Catholic Church. They choose as a congregation to step outside the Church in order to step into a greater sense of holiness. Theirs was a choice of integrity, insight and courage.

    Like Hagar wandering the wilderness with neither guide nor Israel’s God, the congregations that choose the way of the sojourner may leave the land of religious familiarity, but they will also become a great nation, for women and men are hungering for their leadership, insights and inspiration."

    To my mind, reading the extended remarks of Sister Brink, the Vatican's concerns are not unwarranted. (Especially in light of the 2001 warning.)

    But you may disagree, Concord Pastor.

    Irish Gal

  13. I believe what the investigators will find most troubling in Sr. Brink's talk is the subtext (which often surfaces!) of the adversarial position vis a vis the hierarchy.

  14. I find it puzzling(maybe troubling) that we have been given a link to a wonderful inspiring blog by a sister who is one among many "...women from all walks of life. Our special focus, our mission, is to work for unity and reconciliation where there is brokenness, to help people become whole and holy, individually and together." These women have contributed much to the church,society and to Christ's beloved poor. They seek out and promote life in Christ in the modern world. So, why with all of this great info promoted on Sr. Joanne's blog are some people,who wish to remain anonymous,speaking as though Sr Joanne and the Sisters of St Joseph are among those who opted to be outside the church teachings. The community may be linked to the LCWR but that fact proves nothing about these dedicated women. There is nothing "sad" about Sr Joanne's blog! Thanks for the link, I for one know that I will be inspired by it.

  15. Concord Pastor,

    With respect, I take issue with calling Sister Brink's stand "subtext." I think it is quite clearly seen from the plain English text that she is in favor of those who "move beyond" and against the hierarchy.

    Also, despite Anne's eloquent plea on Sr. Joanne's behalf, I would maintain the state of the Sisters of St. Joseph is "sad," given the decline in number and the not-proven but suspected decline in loyalty to the teachings and beliefs of the Church.

    As for unfairly tying the order to the controversy surrounding the LCWR -- an implicit criticism of my previous post, so I'd like to address it -- the sisters themselves promote the tie on their website. St. Joanne, I believe, is part of the leadership unit of the Boston LCWR. In addition, I went to the page Anne described and saw that among Sister Joanne's favorite books could be found the "Daily OM" (New Age) Eckhard Tolle (Oprah's guru),The Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Ferguson (New Age), and The Divine Milieu by Chardin, a theologian whose works remain banned,IIRC. New Age influences on nuns are among the issues the Vatican is exploring in the visitation.

    That said, I also remain grateful for all the good the sisters have done throughout their history, especially in my own case, as my grammar school teachers.

    Irish Gal

  16. IG: By subtext I meant a leitmotif, a recurring theme.

  17. Irish Gal,
    Thanks for setting everyone straight, again.


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