Novices arrive in Concordia for two weeks of study

January 20, 2014 by

For the third year in a row, the official “Sisters of St. Joseph Federation Novitiate” is making a two-week stop in Concordia.

That means four women early in their religious lives from four different congregations are here to study with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Their first day included Mass and dinner with the Concordia sisters and then a tour of the historic Nazareth Motherhouse.

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The four novices are:

  • Sister Colleen Gibson of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia
  • Sister Suanne Johnson of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Watertown, N.Y.
  • Sister Karin Nuernberg of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, Calif.
  • Sister Melinda Adrienne Pellerin of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Mass.
Sister Colleen Gibson

Sister Colleen Gibson

Sister Suanne Johnson

Sister Suanne Johnson

The novice director accompanying the group is Sister Anne Davis, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet-Los Angeles Province. This is also her third year coming to Concordia.

They arrived in Concordia Tuesday and will be staying here, at Manna House of Prayer, until Jan. 29, when they will return to the home they share in Chicago during their eight-month novitiate.

Joining them in their studies are Sister Dian Hall, a novice with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia who is living at Manna House for a year, and Christina Brodie, a candidate to become an agrégée sister who also lives at Manna House.

Sister Karin Nuernberg

Sister Karin Nuernberg

Sister Melinda Pellerin

Sister Melinda Pellerin

About a dozen years ago, the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph — a cooperative organization of more than a dozen independent congregations that share a “genealogy” that began in LePuy, France, in 1650 — created the yearlong “novitiate” program, in which novices from all the congregations live and learn together.

The idea, according to Sister Anne, was to ensure that novices have a foundation in understanding the congregation’s history and mission, and to have a “peer group” of other sisters about their same age and experience.

The program has evolved into an eight-month residential program, which for the second year now is being hosted by the Congregation of St. Joseph — a community that formed when seven smaller communities (including the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita) merged in 2007. (To learn more about the Federation novitiate and the steps toward religious life, CLICK HERE.)

Sister Dian Hall

Sister Dian Hall

Christina Brodie

Christina Brodie

The novices’ stay at Manna House of Prayer will include extensive study on the history and mission of the original Sisters of St. Joseph, under the direction of Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. They will also have ample opportunity to visit with sisters here — including a day at the Neighbor to Neighbor center in downtown Concordia on Jan. 22 and a trip to Belleville to meet Sisters Mary Savoie and Margaret Nacke.

That’s part of the reason the novitiate includes visits to Concordia and other congregations, Sister Anne adds: It helps novices see how Sisters of St. Joseph put into practice their mission of “loving God and neighbor” no matter who or where they are.

 

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