Saturday program focuses on ‘the agrégée movement’

Sister Marcia Allen, at right, welcomes the two "inquirers" to dinner with the sisters at the Nazareth Motherhouse Saturday.

The “agrégée team” played host Saturday to two women who wanted to learn more about this form of religious life offered only by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

The women came from Douglasville, Ga., and Wakeeny, Kan.

Sister Bette Moslander, considered the author of the agrégée movement, talks about the deeper meaning of "Christian vocation" and her own experience of being called to religious life.

Team members Sisters Bette Moslander, Pat McLennon and Rosabel Flax were joined in the five-hour presentation by other sisters, both agrégée and canonically vowed, and three of the five current agrégée candidates.

The term agrégée — pronounced ah-gre-ZHEY — comes from the French for “attached to” or “aggregated with.” It is a form of membership in the religious congregation that dates back to our founding in 17th-century France, when Sisters of St. Joseph were either canonically vowed “principal sisters” or so-called agrégée or “country” sisters. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia re-established — and revitalized — this form of religious life in 2006. Today there are six women who have professed the vow of fidelity to God and to the congregation as “agrégées.” Another four are in varying stages of the process of deciding if this form of religious life fits them and their spiritual needs.

Saturday’s “Agrégée Information Day” at the Nazareth Motherhouse was designed to allow more women to learn about this alternative. It also provided something of a crash course in the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the mission and ministry of the sisters in Concordia. The two “inquirers” were not asked to make a commitment during the day, but they were encouraged to use the information as part of their process in discerning the next steps in their religious life.

“The faith life is something more than doctrine or following rules,” Sister Bette said in her presentation to the group. “It requires that we ask ourselves the deeper questions: Who am I? Why am I here.

The two newest professed agrégées, Sister Sharon Hayes, center, and Jan McCormick, right chat with Sister Agnes Bernita Green over dinner Saturday.

“A Christian vocation is a personal yielding to God’s love for us,” she added. “It is not a stage in life — like married, single or religious; it is a direction in life. …”

Sister Bette, who is considered the author of the agrégée movement for the Concordia congregation, urged the two women to give careful thought and prayer to their next step.

“A Christian vocation is a risky undertaking,” she said with a slight laugh. “Much is asked of you, as much was asked for the first disciples who followed Christ. But like those first disciple, it is a choice.”

If either of the two women decide that they want to pursue agrégée membership in the congregation, she will make a formal commitment to enter into a period of study and discernment with a mentor. That period has generally been about three years. The next step would be profession as an agrégée, which would take place as part of a Mass at the Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia.

Also taking part in Saturday’s presentations was Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Concordia congregation, a historian who described herself as the “chief educator” for agrégée candidates. Also on hand to introduce themselves to the two “inquirers” and answer questions were Sisters Jean Befort, Regina Ann Brummel, Agnes Bernita Green, Sharon Hayes, Loretta Jasper, Janet Lander, Jan McCormick, Mary Esther Otter, Liberata Pellerin, Carolyn Teter, Jean Ann Walton and Sylvia Winterscheidt. Several of those sisters serve as mentors to agrégée candidates.

Agrégée candidates who were able to attend were Beth Weddle of Concordia, Kathy Schaefer of Augusta, Kan., and Susan Klepper of St. Louis, Mo.

To learn more, contact Sister Bette at 785/243/4428 or by email at

Or, CLICK HERE to read everything that’s been published about the agrégée movement of the Concordia congregation.

2 thoughts on “Saturday program focuses on ‘the agrégée movement’

  • September 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you for providing this opportunity for those who are seeking. Move on with courage!

  • September 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    What a wonderful movement! I join these two women in prayer during their discernment process.

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