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We Sisters of St. Joseph have a long history that began in mid-17th century in France. The kitchen where the first six women sat to envision a new way of serving God is still there, a pilgrimage site for all of us. In those days women always needed the validation of a male spiritual director to strike out on their own. Happily, our foremothers chose a brilliant and holy Jesuit priest named Jean Pierre Medaille for that role. As I sit in meetings this week working with a small group of my Sisters to formulate a process for discernment of our immediate future, I am grateful for the spirit of Father Medaille which guides our work.

I offer this prayer today from a small book of prayers from the Jesuit priests. The language may call for updating but the sentiment is true and strong in its call to us for who we are to be.

So act, good Jesus, that, in my relationships with whatever neighbor and in all I do for the furthering of your Father’s glory and the salvation of others, I form myself on your pattern: that I be a genuine reflection of your moderation, gentleness, humility, patience, graciousness, tireless zeal, in a word, of all your virtues; and, in order to engrave them in my soul, live eternally in me. (Hearts on Fire, p. 92)