Communities look more like a ‘movement’

April 14, 2009 by

(Published April 3, 2009)
By Sister Marcia Allen

India! For the last year and a half I have had India on my mind. In January, 2008, I had the good fortune of going to India to help teach a course on what it means to be a Sister of St. Joseph or, more exactly, what it means to be a member of the Community of St. Joseph as an associate or agregee. The India experience taught me more than I taught those who came for the course. The internationality of the participants convinced me that communities of St. Joseph are not just static groups of women living locked in a geographic setting somewhere. Rather, these communities belong to what looks more like a movement – a “Joseph movement.”

Communities of St. Joseph dot the map. They are located in almost every country – from the reaches of the Far East in China, Japan, and India; throughout Latin America; in the middle east and Africa; across Europe and the North American continent. They are communities of women with canonical vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Some are committed through a non-canonical vow of fidelity. They also contain many kinds of lay associations of women and men. All of these facets are growing and robust. Each community is part of a wide ban of enthusiasm for the values that make life fulfilling and give it meaning.

Where communities of St. Joseph exist one can feel the restless energy inspired by the Holy Spirit. They enter the human struggle to live a fully human life with “glad and practical cooperation.” They grow up where there is need for healing, for hope, and for the struggle to live a fully human life. Their main purpose is to witness through community and personal service to the love of our God who wishes to be known in the experiences of being human.

Consequently, members and associates of communities of St. Joseph are found in every profession and most helping services throughout the world. They are always ready to move toward need; they live with their eyes and ears open, with sleeves rolled up, and with a heart that is ready. They specialize in listening – a special kind of listening for what the heart of the human desires. Always, they are mindful of community – the Christian community who are followers of Jesus, the Catholic community of which they are an integral part, and of their own communities – the special family of St. Joseph.

Why am I a part of this movement, this community of St. Joseph situated in Concordia, Kansas? The reason is simple – once I had met this community, I knew that I had found the love of my life! You, too, can join this vibrant life and make a difference for our world.

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