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astjosephToday is the feast of St. Joseph, celebrated by Roman Catholics as the Patron of the Universal Church. For me, and for members of religious orders around the world, this day is one of great rejoicing and devotion. Soon we will be on the road, traveling to our province center for a ceremony honoring those who mark anniversaries of 50, 60, 70, 75 and this year even 80 years in religious life. Taken together these 29 women have given 1,735 years of dedication to God in our religious congregation. In a time of demographic diminishment, we come together to proclaim God’s faithfulness and love that never wanes, a faithful love that is embodied in these women – very diverse though they may be but unified in purpose and perseverance. It is a hopeful day for all of us, a day of joy and a day for all of us to renew our commitment to what we are known to call “the Congregation of the great love of God.”

As always, we are reminded today of Joseph, “the Just Man,” the one who was called to be protector of Mary and Jesus and whom we claim as patron of our community. The americancatholic.org website comments today: “By saying Joseph was ‘just’ the Bible means that he was one who was completely open to all that God wanted to do for him. He became holy by opening himself totally to God.” Whether able to be present in body and spirit on this feast, each of our Sisters is joined today in the desire to imitate Joseph in that openness and we give thanks for the privilege of sharing life under the tutelage of this holy, humble man.