Friday, June 21, 2024
Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church

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Introducing the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia

History was made with the elections for the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Sister Jean Rosemarynoski was elected president of the congregation for a third term on Feb. 7, 2024, as the sisters’ four-day Senate of Elections began. The Senate — the congregation’s highest deliberative body — convenes every four years. This Senate started in October 2023 at which time they deliberated the direction of the Congregation for the next four years. Members then discerned who could lead the community to fulfill that direction. It culminated in February, 2024 with the elections.
     Sister Jean will renew her office on July 1, having previously served as president for the past eight years. The congregation petitioned Rome for permission since their constitution states that only two consecutive terms can be served by the president. She had served from 2016-2020 and again from 2020-2024. Approval was received on February 19. This is the second time in the 140-year history of the Congregation that a president was postulated. The first was Sister Mary Rose Waller in 1936.
     Sister Jean is a native of Wichita. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Washburn University and then Master’s degrees at Kansas State University and St. Mary University in Winona, Minn. Before being received as a novice in 1994, she worked as an educator for the Topeka Public School. She has served as communications director and development director for the congregation and was first elected to the Leadership Council in 2008.       
     She has been active in civic organizations as a member and president of the Rotary Club, board chair for the Concordia Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee and a member of the North Central Kansas Medical Center Board. She currently is on the seminarian board for the Diocese of Salina.
Another notable moment in the election was Sister Alexsandra da Silva making history as the first native Brazilian Sister to be elected to the Leadership Council. Sister Alexsandra is from Picos, Piaui, Brazil, and came to the Motherhouse in 2023. She will return to Brazil in four years after gaining more insight into the governmental structure of the Congregation. When asked about being the first Brazilian Sister elected to the Council, she said, “I’m so honored to be the first Sister from Brazil on the Leadership Council. I am thankful to God for the opportunity and blessing, and I am happy to represent the Sisters in Brazil.”
     She had been in the U.S. previously and studied English as a Second Language at Kansas State University from 2013-2014. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maranhao State in 2021.  In Brazil, she taught Portuguese and English, was Director for new sisters, and was Treasurer of the Network for the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Latin America and the Caribbean. In Concordia, she offers support and translation services to families and students. She provides a variety of services for sisters in assisted living. Sister Alexsandra is excited to be a part of the Council while developing a closer relationship between the Sisters in Brazil and the United States. 
     Sister Alexsandra has a heart full of gratitude. “I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the first Sisters who went to Brazil and started the mission 60 years ago. I am so grateful for this place and for the Sisters who gave their lives for this opportunity to come true,” she said.
     Sister Janet Lander, originally from Santa Monica, Calif., was elected Vice-President of the congregation. Sister Janet earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles and another master’s in pastoral ministry from Boston College. She also completed a post-master’s certificate in the practice of spirituality at Boston College.
     She has been co-director of the CSJ Associates program and has been a member of numerous congregational committees. She has had an active role in the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph. She was elected to the Leadership Council in 2016. Since then, she has served as secretary of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious Region XIII, and has been active in the Leadership Collaborative with programs.
     Sister Pat Eichner was elected as Councilor. She was born and raised in Ogallala, NE. Sister Pat received an Associate degree in Soil and Water Management from the University of Nebraska and a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from St. Mary of the Plains in Dodge City, Kansas. She earned her Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She has been serving as the Treasurer and CFO for the Community since 2021. 
     Sister Pat has served on numerous committees. She has been a mentor for the community’s Candidacy Program, served as a Representative Payee, and active on the Search Board for the Grand Island Diocesan Youth Office.
     Her past ministries include being a Pastoral Minister for several parishes in the Grand Island (Neb.) Diocese, a youth minister at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Salina, work in the Justice and Peace office in Salina, and teaching at Sacred Heart High School. She has also been a staff member at Manna House of Prayer.    
Sister Dian Hall, elected Councilor, was born and raised in Cedartown, Ga., and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of West Georgia. By the early 1990s, she was teaching in a migrant education program in Cartersville, GA.
     It was during that time that she stepped in to help raise one of her teenage students when the girl’s parents were killed. When Juana — now 34 — was in her 20s, Hall adopted her. Juana is now a married mother of three sons and lives in Cartersville.
     That’s where Sister Dian lived and worked in 1994 when she met three Sisters from Concordia who lived in the Atlanta area. That began her introduction to the sisters. In November 2009 S. Dian came to Concordia as a candidate for membership.
Sister Dian serves as Director of Neighbor to Neighbor in Concordia and is the coordinator for the Vietnamese sisters who are living with the sisters and learning English. She is a Pastoral Musician, an ESL Instructor at the community college and Vocations Team member.
Sister Jan McCormick also made history with her election as the first Agrégée member of the non-canonical Leadership Circle, which serves alongside the Council in an advisory capacity. She is originally from Chapman, Kan. She was an Associate in the CSJ community starting in 1998. S. Jan was received as an Agrégée Candidate to the sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia in 2008 and took her Vow of Fidelity in 2011. She received an Associate of Arts Degree from Cloud County Community College in 1982 and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Chemical Dependency from Marymount College in 1986. She completed her graduate hours in Marriage and Family studies the following year
Sister Jan was a drug and alcohol counselor between 1981 and 1998 in Concordia, Salina, and Oklahoma City. She worked for the State Department of Commerce and then worked at Fort Riley as an EAP, where she helped military families and retirees. She was the Senior Citizen Center Manager at Chapman and coordinated the Meals on Wheels Program. She is a member of the Silver Haired Legislature representing Cloud County, and a Board Member/Vice Chair of the Area Agency on Aging. Sister Jan is the Director of Development and for the congregation.

Front L to R: Sisters Jean Rosemarynoski, Janet Lander. Back L to R: Sisters Jan McCormick, Alexsandra da Silva, Dian Hall and Pat Eichner.