Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 27, 2022

Main News

CSJ Associates' Hold Annual Commitment Weekend

The weather was just perfect throughout the CSJ Albany Associate Commitment Weekend, held this year from Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9. However, the actual weather took a back seat to the warmth and radiance that spread throughout the Provincial House as associates from all six areas rejoiced in spending time with old friends and embracing new ones.

Spirits were dampened, however, by the news that two of our long-time associates suffered the loss of their husbands within the week. Many Albany-area associates missed all or part of Saturday’s presentations because they were attending the wake and funeral of Michael Mangione, husband of CSJ Associate Marie Mangione. We soon learned of the very recent passing of William J. (Bill) Evans, Jr., husband of Binghamton CSJ Associate Marie Evans. Bill’s services were held on the Monday following our weekend. Both Maries and their families were held in our hearts and prayers throughout the weekend.

Our weekend theme was Pentecost: Empowering for Mission. It began officially with a wonderful Friday-evening prayer service, presented by Albany CSJ Associate Dan Persico. Dan’s musical acumen led us in song and piano accompaniment, while his obviously deep spirituality provided us with rich fodder pertaining to Romans 8:9-11, that the Spirit is alive inside of each of us.

The following morning, Sister Chris Pologa, our Saturday-morning presenter and guide for reflection and sharing, certainly made sure that we understood how each of us is called and empowered to share the Good News with the Dear Neighbor  whoever and wherever we find him or her. Sister Chris walked us through the history of the Catholic Church and urged us to read the Church documents to see for ourselves exactly what they say and not to rely on the natural fallback: “Well, this is the way it has always been done.” She urged us to read the encyclicals and even Canon Law, citing certain ones pertaining to the Christian Faithful, directing our efforts to lead a holy life. We have a right and duty to express to our needs to those in leadership positions from our own pastors and politicians and “above” them for the good of the whole community. Laity are not second-class citizens!

After a delicious lunch, associates gathered once more in the Hospitality Center for the Assembly part of our weekend. Amsterdam Associate Maryann Dignazio-Louison presented an opening prayer centered on the kitchen in Le Puy.

The afternoon was meant as a chance to hear and respond as a group to certain issues/reports. Discussion on the current status and proposed implementation of the Associate Countess Fund elicited strong opinions from some members about its use and the need for clarification on its original intent from others. The Assembly voted to postpone further discussion and voting on the Countess Fund at this time.

Pat Hunt asked the associates to help spread the word and photos of associates across the province with one another and with the sisters by contributing to various CSJ/A publications, both print and online. Volunteers in each region have signed up to write and to encourage others to write and to take and send pictures of associate-related events or experiences. Each and every associate is encouraged to write or to take a photo or pass one on, or to inform their area’s representative of such an opportunity.

Pat then had sisters and associates join in a mini-writing exercise using their monograms. Hopefully, you will see the fruits of this session in future issues of the Carondelet East.

The formal part of Saturday’s agenda ended with a newly reimagined and executed Associate Candle Ceremony in the chapel. The names of deceased members are now proclaimed by each associate area, and by that area’s coordinator or area designate. A bell was rung in reverence as each name was proclaimed.

Following the memorial, those making their First Commitment as CSJ Associates were called forth to receive a special candle, to receive their Associate Pin, and to attest to their desire to join our Associate Community by adding their official signatures to the list of Albany CSJ Associates.

The beautiful colors of the flower gardens and green lawns were no match for the bright Pentecostal shades of those who gathered for our Associate Commitment Liturgy Sunday morning. The Binghamton Associates prepared a wonderful Eucharistic Celebration. Sister Chris Pologa’s dynamic and passionate homily (included in this issue) continued the theme of our weekend’s Pentecost message, “Empowering for Mission.” Spiked with responses required from those present in varying forms — Sisters, Associates and all in attendance — and a catch-phrase scattered throughout, she certainly kept everybody’s attention!

We all beamed as we heard the names of our newest CSJ Associates called forth to profess their first commitment: Brenda Artman (Binghamton), Julie Carrigan (Albany), Frances Rose and Patricia DeMatteo (Rome) and Sharon Miller (Syracuse). Current associates renewed their annual commitment, followed by the ever uplifting greeting of peace and touching singing of Sancte Joseph.

After a wonderful dinner, the CSJ Associates headed for home, filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to go out to the world with Sister Chris’s passionate catch phrase stuck in our heads: Stand up! Speak out! Tell the good news of Inclusive Love!

Our newest CSJ Associates: (l. to r.) Brenda Artman, Julie Carrigan, Patricia DeMatteo, Sharon Miller and Frances Rose.