Each fall, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia invite women to an “Information Day” at the Nazareth Motherhouse to learn about the agrégée movement, which offers a new type of membership in the religious congregation.
The difference this year was that the agrégée sisters themselves organized the event Saturday and presented much of the information.
• • • • • • • •
The term agrégée — pronounced ah-gre-ZHEY — comes from the French word for “attached to” or “aggregated with.” In the Concordia congregation, they are single, mature Catholic women who enter a candidacy period of up to three years before they profess a vow of fidelity to God and to the congregation. But unlike canonical sisters who leave behind their former lives and become financially dependent on the congregation, agrégées remain financially independent and generally continue their previous lives and work.
In the past few years other communities of Sisters of St. Joseph have developed similar definitions or are doing their own studies, but the Concordia congregation is the only one that recognizes agrégées as full members of the community.
Today there are eight agrégées who are members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; they live in Kansas, Missouri and Colorado. Another four women are in varying stages of the process of deciding if this form of religious life fits them and their spiritual needs.
On Saturday, five of those agrégées and three of the candidates were joined by nearly 20 other Sisters of St. Joseph to welcome two women — one from Norton, Kan., and one from Salina — interested in learning more. Also on hand were two special guests — two sisters from the Congregation of St. Joseph, which is another religious community that shares its roots with the Concordia sisters.
“We’re scouts,” explained Sister Judith Minear, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph who lives in Charleston, W.Va. “Because of our shared history, we wanted to learn more.”
Saturday’s program allowed them to do just that.
Led by Sister Rosabel Flax, the first modern agrégée to enter the Concordia congregation, the day covered the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph from our founding in France in the mid 17th century, our original charism and mission and how that applies to the works undertaken by the Concordia sisters, and the development since 2006 of what’s been called “21st-century religious life.”
To view a 12-minute video that was presentation as part of the program, CLICK HERE.