CLICK HERE for live stream of Profession of Vows for Carol Goodson and Robin Stephenson

July 16, 2020 by  

This live stream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 19. If you are having difficulty with this feed, there also will be a Facebook Live stream, however the sound should be much better on this link. Both streams will remain available after the event so you can watch both.

Monday, March 2, 2020

March 2, 2020 by  

Botanists say that trees need the powerful March winds to flex their trunks and main branches, so the sap is drawn up to nourish the budding leaves. Perhaps we need the gales of life in the same way, though we dislike enduring them.

—  Jane Truax

Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017

March 25, 2018 by  


“We wave palms because we have long awaited God’s deliverance and now we’re within seven days of it. We wave palms because Jesus shows us life-saving answers when we feel crushed by problems threatening to overcome us. We wave palms because Jesus has set us free from the destructive longings of our fallen nature. We wave palms because, like the pilgrims who came to Jerusalem and gave thanks for their healing by Jesus, we too can really be healed in body, mind, and spirit.

— Kevin Gray

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22, 2017 by  

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.

~Edward de Bono

A statement from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

August 15, 2017 by  

LCWR Assembly Statement on the US-DPRK Crisis

This week, while tensions between the governments of the United States and the People’s
Republic of Korea quickly escalated, 700 members of the Leadership Conference of Women
Religious meeting in Orlando, FL issued a public statement imploring President Donald J. Trump
to engage in dialogue and negotiation.

At this critical moment for our country and global community, we – the 700 members of
the Leadership Conference of Women Religious gathered in assembly – have discerned
the Gospel call to embody love for the sake of the world.
We believe that love is more powerful than fear, dialogue more productive than rhetoric,
and connection more transformative than threats of destruction.

We call on President Trump to engage in constructive dialogue and negotiation to
resolve the current crisis between the governments of the United States and the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in a manner that guarantees the peace and
security that all people seek.

We commit ourselves to promote nonviolence and a compassionate response to the
thirst of the world for integrity and communion.

LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United
States. The conference has nearly 1300 members, who represent more than 38,800 women
religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively
carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.

Join us for just one week, to see all sides of this important issue

May 3, 2017 by  

Join us for a one-week experience that delves into the life and culture on the US/Mexico border.

We will see first-hand the struggles of immigrants as we visit shelters, agencies and cooperatives that serve them.

This experience is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. In our commitment to Gospel living and nonviolence, we stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.

Since this issue is so close to our hearts, the Sisters of St. Joseph provide a grant to cover half of the cost.

We will be staying at the Sisters’ Grandview Convent in El Paso. Sisters Missy Ljungdahl and Donna Otter live there and will help organize our experience while in El Paso.

Prayer and reflection will be an important part of each of our days.

Space is limited for this experience. We will honor first come, first served in the application process.

PARTICIPANT’S COST: $300 per person (Sisters of St. Joseph cover the additional expense). Also, participants will be responsible for purchasing their own food as we travel to and from El Paso.

ORGANIZED BY: The Sisters of St. Joseph Immigration Committee (Sisters Anna Marie Broxterman, Dian Hall, Judy Stephens, Christina Brodie, Marilyn Wall and Janet LeDuc)

CLICK HERE for a one-page registration form, or contact Sister Judy for more information: 785-243-2149 or

April 2017 edition of The Messenger is bursting with news!

April 6, 2017 by  

Our April 2017 edition of The Messenger goes in the mail today, but you can read it here before it arrives in your mailbox. And you may want to get an early start; this spring issue is 16 pages jam-packed full of news about immigration, our ministries and upcoming events!

To open the flipbook edition, just click on the image below:

[publication_supsystic id=”150″]

Recommended reading

March 21, 2017 by  

Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution (2001) – Ken Wilber

In this tour de force of scholarship and vision, Ken Wilber traces the course of evolution from matter to life to mind and describes the common patterns that evolution takes in all three of these domains. From the emergence of mind, he traces the evolution of human consciousness through its major stages of growth and development. He particularly focuses on modernity and postmodernity: what they mean; how they impact gender issues, psychotherapy, ecological concerns, and various liberation movements; and how the modern and postmodern world conceive of Spirit. This second edition features forty pages of new material, new diagrams, and extensively revised notes.

Spiritual Ecology: The cry of the Earth (2016) – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (editor)

The first edition of this book fostered the emergence of the “Spiritual Ecology Movement,” which recognizes the need for a spiritual response to our present ecological crisis. It drew an overwhelmingly positive response from readers, many of whom are asking the simple question, “What can I do?” This second expanded edition offers new chapters, including two from younger authors who are putting the principles of spiritual ecology into action, working with their hands as well as their hearts. It also includes a new preface and revised chapter by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, that reference two major recent events: the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical, “On Care for Our Common Home,” which brought into the mainstream the idea that “the ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem”; and the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, which saw representatives from nearly 200 countries come together to address global warming, including faith leaders from many traditions. Bringing together voices from Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, and Native American traditions, as well as from physics, deep psychology, and other environmental disciplines, this book calls on us to reassess our underlying attitudes and beliefs about the Earth and wake up to our spiritual as well as physical responsibilities toward the planet.

Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to Journey of the Universe (2016) Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (editors)

Prominent theologians, ethicists, scientists, and activists explore specifically Christian responses to the Universe Story and its implications for the contemporary environmental crisis. Beginning with excerpts from recent statements by Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the book includes contributions by John Haught, Ilia Delio, Catherine Keller, Larry Rasmussen, and more.

The Strength of Her Witness (2016) – Elizabeth Johnson

The Gospel of John recounts the story of an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at the well. After their conversation, she goes out to tell her neighbors about the mysterious stranger, and many of them believed “on the strength of her witness.” These essays, drawn from around the world, reflect the many ways that women have reflected on and borne witness to the person, teaching, and praxis of Jesus Christ in light of their own varied contexts. These contexts include their struggles for life amidst wrenching poverty, racism, and violence; their experience of being female in male-dominated structures in the church and society; and their commitment to promote justice in view of the human dignity of women, all done in tandem with their faith relationship with the living God.

Original Meditation: The Aramaic Jesus and the Spirituality of Creation (2016) – Neil Douglas Klotz

The New Story about the Oldest Stories in the World Today apocalyptic predictions and images dominate popular culture and social media. Yet for most of our history, human consciousness focused on the mystery of beginnings, not endings. Our ancestors felt that the most powerful energy and clearest vision for the future could be found at our inception. They meditated on stories of the Great Beginning as the way to go forward. Original Meditation is two books in one. First it investigates the ancient tradition of creation mysticism and shows how Western culture became sidetracked into an increasingly narrow, apocalyptic world view. Second, it shows how we can begin to recover an authentic meditation on our shared beginnings, a meditation that can bring us into a more embodied and compassionate present. To help us on our way, Neil Douglas-Klotz offers us a living anthology of voices, from a mystical view of the first chapters of Genesis, to the Aramaic words of Jesus, to translations of mystical voices like Jelaluddin Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Meister Eckhart, and the Jewish Kabbalists.

Blessed are the Consumers, Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint (2013) Sallie McFague

For decades, Sallie McFague has lent her voice and her theological imagination to addressing and advocating for the most important issues of our time. In doing so, she has influenced an entire generation, and empowered countless people in their efforts to put religion in the service of meeting human needs in difficult times. In this timely book, McFague recalls her readers to the practices of restraint. In a world bent on consumption it is imperative that people of religious faith realize the significant role they play in advocating for the earth, and a more humane life for all.

 Inclusivity: A Gospel Mandate, (2015) Diarmuid O’Murchu

The strongest case yet for an inclusive church, the kind that was and has been, and lays bare its historical, theological, and spiritual roots. Diarmuid O’Murchu holds tight the millions on the margins as well as the outsiders who honor Jesus but feel they don’t fit in because of alternative vision or minority status resulting form race, ethnicity, social standing or sexual orientation. Inclusivity is not only for Christians but also for people of other faiths attracted to the vision and life of Jesus but disenchanted with the language of exclusivity and power. It presents faith dynamic characterized by discipleship with an adult Jesus in the service of an adult God. It is a gift of the “Pope Francis effect,” an inevitable drive to reach out and bring in. It is the next step in a movement toward spiritual wholeness.

The Christian Future and the Face of Earth – Thomas Berry

Like no other religious thinker, Thomas Berry has been a prophetic voice regarding Earth’s destruction and the urgent need for human response from the Christian community. This book collects Berry’s signature views on the interrelatedness of both Earth’s future and the Christian future. He ponders why Christians have been late in coming to the issue of the environment. He reflects insightfully on how the environment must be seen as a religious issue, not simply a scientific or economic problem. In powerful and poetic language Berry presents a compelling vision of the sacredness of the universe and the interrelatedness of the Earth community. Drawing on Thomas Aquinas and Teilhard de Chardin he brings the Christian tradition into a cosmology of care for the whole of creation.

Personal Transformation and a New Creation – Ilia Delio (editor)

“Dr. Bruteau is a philosopher of great measure whose work should be required reading for all who seek the deepest truth about themselves.” –Sue Monk Kidd, author, The Secret Life of Bees

Top scholars examine the theories of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin through the lens of Beatrice Bruteau’s pioneering work on evolution and consciousness. Contributors include Cynthia Bourgeault, Ursula King, Barbara Fiand, Kerrie Hide, Gabrielle Stoner, Kathleen Duffy, John Shea, Carla De Sola, and Joshua Tysinger.

Partaking of God – Denis Edwards

The natural world around us is in crisis. We know it has a dynamic, evolutionary character. How might we understand this world in relationship to God?
Partaking of God builds on the foundations of the dynamic Trinitarian theology of Athanasius. It develops into a theology of the Word as the divine Attractor and the Spirit as the Energy of Love in evolutionary emergence. Then it explores God’s suffering with creatures, the humility of God in creation, church teaching on the human soul in relation to neuroscience, and grace and original sin in relationship to evolution. It culminates in a Christian theology of ecological conversion.

So Far From Home – Margaret Wheatley

I wrote this book for you if you offer your work as a contribution to others, whatever your work might be, and if now you find yourself feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and sometimes despairing even as you paradoxically experience moments of joy, belonging, and greater resolve to do your work. This book describes how we can do our good work with dedication, energy, discipline, and joy by consciously choosing a new role for ourselves.

‘The Gruffalo’ to be featured story for April’s ‘Reading with Friends’

March 20, 2017 by  

Young readers will have a rollicking good time as they root for an enterprising mouse who makes up a terrifying monster — a gruffalo — to scare off would-be bullies.  The children’s story “The Gruffalo” will be featured at  the next “Reading with Friends” on Friday, April 7. 

The cheerful, rhyming text will lead Concordia preschoolers through the forest as the tale of the imaginary gruffalo becomes more and more menacing. Soon all of the mouse’s tormentors are scared away. The mouse scoffs at them, for everyone knows “There’s no such thing as a gruffal… .” But a turn of the page reveals — you guessed it — a gruffalo, that thinks the mouse will “… taste good on a slice of bread.” Undaunted, the rodent devises a plan to frighten the monster off. 

The story, by author Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler, is an international best-selling and award-winning sensation with more than 13.5 million copies in print worldwide. It has been made into an Oscar-nominated animated film and a stage musical that was performed on Broadway. It was voted England’s favorite bedtime story. Ron Elniff of Concordia will be the guest reader.

The “Reading with Friends” monthly story times for children ages 3, 4 and 5 begin at 10 a.m. at Neighbor to Neighbor, 103 E. Sixth St. Each session includes playtime and a snack, plus children receive a free copy of that day’s book to take home. Parents, grandparents and other caregivers are invited to enjoy coffee and snacks downstairs at the day center for women while the story is being read upstairs.

There is a limit of 30 children per session so parents need to register for each session in advance by calling Neighbor to Neighbor at 785/262-4215 or mailing

The monthly program has been part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012. This is the final session for the 2016-17 school year.

“Reading with Friends” is funded in part by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Fund, through the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

Deadline nears for Weekend of Exploration in June

March 20, 2017 by  

During what may be the busiest weekend of the year at the Nazareth Motherhouse, the Sisters of St. Joseph are inviting single, Catholic women to join the festivities — and to learn more about religious life.

For the second year, the Sisters have scheduled the Weekend of Exploration — set for June 8-10 — to coincide with their Spring Assembly, “Profession Day” and annual Jubilee celebration.

The reason for the timing, say the three members of the sisters’ Vocations Team, is to give women who may be interested in the diverse forms of membership offered by the Concordia congregation a chance to meet all the Sisters of St. Joseph who “come home” for this weekend each spring.

Sister Lorren Harbin

“The busiest weekend at the Motherhouse is the perfect weekend to have guests,” said Sister Lorren Harbin, an agrégée sister who lives in Fruita, Colo. “Sisters from all over the states are home and enjoying the Jubilee celebrations of years of service and new members are with family and friends to celebrate their vows of commitment as well. It is a joyous time.”

The Weekend of Exploration begins with supper Thursday evening, June 8, and continues through Saturday evening, June 10.

On Saturday, the women participating will be invited to attend the special “Profession Mass” in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Motherhouse.

Sister Dian Hall

Sister Dian Hall — one of the three members of the Vocations Team — will profess her final vows as a canonical Sister of St. Joseph, while D.J. Rak of Junction City, Kan., and Mary Jo Sullivan of Norman, Okla., will profess their vows as agrégée Sisters.

They will also be invited to stay for the Jubilee Mass and celebration on Sunday, June 11, honoring seven Sisters who are marking significant anniversaries of when they were received into the congregation as novices. Together those seven women represent 450 years of love and service as Sisters of St. Joseph.

“The women here for the Weekend of Exploration will experience a myriad of experiences of our life, from the candidacy, to profession, to the Jubilee celebration of many, many years of fidelity. It is a unique opportunity to experience all aspects of religious life,” explained Sister Dian, who lives in Cartersville, Ga. “Although society tells us that nothing lasts and promises are often broken, our life tells a much different story of faithfulness and trust.”

In 2006, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia reached back to their roots in 17th century France and re-established a type of committed spiritual life for women known as “agrégées.”

An agrégée — pronounced ah-gre-ZHEY — did not make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. But she lived according to the rules of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and was recognized by the local people and the local churches as a Sister of St. Joseph.

Agrégée sisters are defined as single Catholic women (who may be never married or widowed, or who have had their marriage annulled) who commit themselves to active and inclusive love of God and the dear neighbor as expressed in the spirit and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

There are three significant differences, however.

  • “Canonically vowed sisters” profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, as defined by canon — or Church — law. As part of the vow of poverty, an individual sister relinquishes all personal wealth and income; at the same time, the congregation assumes responsibility for her economic well being for the rest of her life.
  • “Agrégée sisters” profess a vow of fidelity to the congregation, but it is noncanonical, meaning that it is not governed by Church law and is instead a private vow between that sister and the Concordia congregation. It also means that the agrégée does not relinquish her finances to the congregation, and the congregation assumes no financial responsibility for her.
  • Women interested in either form of membership begin their candidacy with about two years of discernment and study. At the end of that time, those who feel called to canonically vowed religious life will enter a “novitiate,” when they leave their previous life and live as part of the sisters’ community but have not yet taken up their works as a Sister of St. Joseph. For a woman who feels called to agrégée membership, there is also a third year of study and preparation, but they do not leave behind their outside lives. Instead, they meet with mentors and study around their regular work and life schedules. And once they have professed their vows, they continue in that work and life schedule.


In the past decade, nearly 20 women have come to the congregation, most as candidates for agrégée membership and two as canonical sisters.

For the June Weekend, four “inquirers” — or women interested in learning more — have registered to attend so far. And there’s plenty of room for more; eight women took part in the 2016 Weekend. The deadline to register is June 1.

Sister Pat Eichner

“My hope is that the women that participate come away with a better idea of who we are as Sisters of St. Joseph,” said Sister Pat Eichner, the third member of the Vocations Team who lives in Concordia. “They get a glimpse into our lives and what we are about as women religious, which will help them in their discernment of if they are being called to our community.”

During the Weekend of Exploration, the women will have a chance to meet both canonical and agrégée sisters and candidates at the Motherhouse and Manna House, the sisters’ spiritual retreat center. There are also presentations planned on the history and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, plus Mass in the Sacred Heart Chapel and time for prayer and contemplation.

Women interested in learning more are invited to contact any of the Vocations Team members:

Sister Dian Hall, at  770-546-6461   or

Sister Lorren Harbin, at 970-260-2287  or

Sister Pat Eichner, at 785-243-4428 or

More information about the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia is also available at and

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