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Copyright©2008. Congregation of Saint Joseph.

Meet some Sisters


Meet Sister Angelina Cavallaro

Why did you come to religious life?
I am 84 years old. I was 18 when I left home to enter religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph. Why? Wish I could say God tapped me on the shoulder or that a voice whispered God's plan for my life. Nothing so dramatic! I only knew in my heart from the time I was a 7th grader that "I was going to be a sister." And through high school, the desire never left me. Looking back, I find that God was speaking to my heart, not directly, but through those who influenced my young life, especially, my faith-filled parents, teachers and my pastor who believed in my desire. Most especially, it was the inspiration and influence of the favorite saint of my youth, St. Therese of Lisieux, whose "Story of a Soul" I read several times. Her love for God was TOTAL. That became and remains my evergrowing desire-to be in love with the God of my life and to reflect God's love as a Sister of St. Joseph, whose mission of loving union I embrace.

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?

  • to remain faithful to my call when living my call in difficult times.
  • my struggle with the confusion, doubts, and initial pain brought on by the changes in religious life mandated by Vatican II.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?

  • the experience of a deep love, peace and joy in the knowledge that I am where God desires me to be
  • being a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph that has always risen to the challenges of the changes needed for us to remain and be who we are called to be, women moving always toward profound love of God and love of the "dear neighbor" without distinction.

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?

  • a teacher in elementary, special education and a faculty member in the Education department at West Liberty College
  • Hospital Chaplaincy
  • Community service at Mount St Joseph

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
Experience of God's love and desire for my life as expressed in one of my favorite antiphons: "I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have loved you and you are mine."

And my life's response: FIAT

Angelina Cavallaro, CSJ, Wheeling, W.Va.
Current Ministry: Sacristan at Mount St. Joseph


Meet Sister Jackie Schmitz

Why did you come to religious life?
I was taught by the CSJ's in elementary school and high school and was so impressed with their dedication and energy that I wanted to be a part of them. I had some excellent teachers, played some mean volleyball, ice-skated and roller skated with some of the best. They loved life and I wanted some of that too!

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?

At times, it has been difficult to be excited about community when it felt as if we were "drifting." But now, with the new congregation, there is energy and excitement once again.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
The CSJ's have always been ready and willing to respond to the needs of the times. They are not afraid to step up and do what is needed. I love that nothing gets in our way. We are, also, a highly creative and fun-loving group of women who know how to enjoy life.

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
I have spent my entire professional career in secondary education, doing a variety of things. I love being around young folks...they keep me young...and I hope I am influencing them with our CSJ values.

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
Religious life allows me to respond to the critical needs of our times by embracing the vision of Jesus. Ours is certainly a counter-cultural life style but one that is greatly needed in these times.

Jackie Schmitz, CSJ, LaGrange Park, Ill.
Current Ministry: Administrator at Nazareth Academy


Meet Sister Janine Beniger

Why did you come to religious life?
In some ways, it's a mystery. I entered thinking I wouldn't stay, that I'd be back home in about a month. I can think of several small reasons, but nothing outstanding comes to mind. And I remember my novice mistress saying "it isn't why you come, it's why you stay", and that is mostly what I have held on to through the years.

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?
While it is a wonderful thing, especially in times of loss and need, community is, for me, perhaps the greatest challenge. I say this mostly because quality community is so much a matter of communication-a skill to be deliberately cultivated, and of diligence to individual and communal prayer, as well as sharing of the state of the heart and house. What makes it challenging is that we don't all come to that awareness at the same time, in the same way, and to the same degree.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
Being part of another or others' growth; walking with rather than leading the way in gaining skill, increasing awareness, growing in self-esteem and confidence. I love the ministry of adult faith formation and ministry training, and am always moved by the faith Iencounter, particularly as folks live through the difficulties and challenges of their lives. I rather enjoy discerning gifts and being cheerleader, encouraging those gifts and watching folks learn to "pastor" themselves and their communities. It just delights my heart!

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
Overall, I have been involved in some form of education and faith formation. My first experiences in ministry were in a grade school setting. Much of my professional career, however, has been with adults-adult faith formation and ministry training, adult basic education and GED prep--in a corrections institution and community education center. I am now back in the classroom after 25+ years, teaching religion to sophs, juniors and seniors at De La Salle High School in New Orleans. I'm also a trained spiritual director and have had some experience in that field.

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
"Behold, I make all things new." Living in our world today, such as it is; waiting and wading through the loss and recovery of lives, property, and my great city, New Orleans; appreciating the potential of the new CSJ congregation; and feeling the power of God's transforming presence in my own life…well, I know it is the Holy One that makes all that possible, the Holy One that renews the face of the earth and makes all things new.

Janine Beniger, CSJ, New Orleans, La.
Current Ministry: Educator, Religion Dept., De La Salle High School, New Orleans, La.


Meet Sister Marty McEntee

Why did you come to religious life?
I became acquainted with the Sisters of St. Joseph while a youngster in St. Patrick School, Kokomo, IN. I greatly admired their spirit, their sense of joy, and their relationship with one another. I experienced the "school-girl" sense of being called to their lifestyle. While in public high school, that "call" was somewhat "muted" by involvement in many and varied activities and dating fairly seriously. However, after graduation, I again felt the desire so strongly, and as my mother said to me: "This is something you have to try, isn't it?" It was, it is, and I thank God for being patient with me all these years!

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?
The greatest challenge for me has always been in finding the balance between ministry and the longing for a deeper prayer life. I have always felt that my work WAS prayer, and that those I was privileged to serve were Christ to me. My heart tells me that I can be Christ to them only if I am grounded in relationship with my God. My mind too often tells me "just finish this one project, THEN spend more time with God."

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
Surely the 2007 Chapter, which initiated our new congregation, ranks very high among those joys! What a marvelous experience…what an opportunity to share life with so many who share our enthusiasm for the future! Another great joy/satisfaction has been the opportunity to use the gifts God has given me through various ministries…and to feel the support and encouragement of my Sisters!

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
I recently "retired" from service as the President of our Tipton founding congregation. Prior to those nine years, I served for twenty- eight years as the President/CEO of St. Joseph Hospital in Kokomo, Ind. Prior to the educational experience which prepared me for health administration, I taught junior high for eight years.

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
The greatest gift is to love and be loved…and religious life has provided so many opportunities to experience this love!

Marty McEntee, CSJ, Kokomo, Ind.
Current Ministry: Sabbatical


Meet Sister Juli Caron

Why did you come to religious life?
The only reason a woman comes to religious life is because of a call and that she has fallen in love with God. God is already in love with her. I have felt called to religious life since I was a child, with my first memory being my mother teaching me how to pray. So, at 19 years old, I entered the Benedictine Monastery. I learned so very much about prayer, discipline of prayer and rituals and, of course, community life. After 17 years, I received another call and that was to leave the Monastery. I lived as a single woman, never leaving the life of prayer and discernment, however. I continued to "feel" a nudge from God, a call, if you will. This call was at least to ask myself the question about entering the CSJ's. I was an associate, but felt like I was enjoying all the benefits of religious life and not making a commitment, and I did not think that was fair to the congregation or to myself. I also learned that living a single life, I could do as I pleased and was not accountable to anyone. Being accountable to someone about my life was very important to me. I had fallen deeper and deeper in love with Jesus. So, after 18 years of living a single life, owning my own condo, driving a nice car, having a great job, I was still empty, missing something. Then, with the help of my spiritual director, I began to search the question, and entered the CSJ's.

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?
The questions asked of me as to why such an attractive woman would "waste" my life in the convent.
Balancing prayer, community, ministry, and family.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
My greatest joy as a sister is the fact that my life totally belongs to Jesus, and I know that He has given His life for me and is crazy about me. I know Jesus is faithful and always will be. There is no where I can go, that He is not there. Living in the freedom of my vows is joyful for me. Of course belonging to a large congregation of women, who love and support me and who I support is wonderful, too!

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
I am a nurse and have been for many years. I am also a trained chaplain and currently minister as one. I work mostly with the dying and love every minute of it. I am also the chaplain in our Cancer Center, Children's Hospital, our Palliative Care Unit, and several other units in the hospital. I was born to do this ministry.

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
"May those who come behind me find me faithful." Being totally espoused to Jesus, is for me, the most meaningful way to live.

Juli M. Caron, CSJ, Fargo, N.Da.
Current Ministry: Spiritual care


Meet Sister Joan Kreyenbuhl

Why did you come to religious life?
I attended a workshop on Catholic Action when I was a teenager and felt I was called to do something more in the Church. I really entered the Sisters of St. Joseph to prove that I didn't have a call to religious life, even though I loved and respected the Sisters. I had seen them as real people, although my expectations of them remain high. I'm disappointed when we don't live up to being the perfect Christians I want us to be. I discovered that I was called and when I've questioned that vocation as I've lived religious life, I still have come to that same conclusion. I just pray for perseverance more than I used to.

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?
The greatest challenge has been in balancing the needs and expectations of others with my own needs and the needs of community. I'm not very good at saying "No." I want to do it all. Further, it was a challenge to be in community leadership and to be working in a hospital that as a community we were selling. I had to participate in the decision. Then I was there to experience the pain of the people as the decision unfolded. Maintaining my own integrity in the midst those decisions is challenging but what I will not compromise.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
My greatest joy has been the teamwork I've experienced in ministry. We can accomplish anything and everything when people are working together. I've had good people with whom to work. I've enjoyed doing Spiritual Direction, working with RCIA and Christ Renews His Parish as well as formation of newly professed. I enjoy seeing God at work in people's lives. It reminds me that He is at work in my life too.

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
I have been involved in education, healthcare, parish, formation and leadership. It's really all about education. I moved from schools to parish as a Director of Religious Education, and then to healthcare as Vice President of Mission. Each of these ministries includes education.

I have learned to be flexible and find that there are many ways of accomplishing things. I've had the opportunity to travel which gives one a world view and an understanding of cultural differences. This perspective gives me an appreciation of the Gospel call "that all may be one."

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
"More, always a little more, for the glory of God and the good of the 'dear neighbor'."?-paraphrase of Father Marius Nepper, SJ?Scholar of Father Jean Pierre Medaille, SJ,?Founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Le Puy, France

Joan Kreyenbuhl, CSJ, MA, Parkersburg, W.Va.
Current Ministry: Member of Congregational Leadership Team


Meet Sister Kathy Brazda

Why did you come to religious life?
I came to religious life because I felt at home with the community. I felt that being a religious would be the best way for me to grow into who God created me to be…a women truly alive and filled with God's great love.

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?

A challenge for me is keeping my life balanced…honoring all of the relationships that are part it…my relationship with God, myself, community, ministry, family and friends. Another challenge is to be a hopeful presence in the institutional church which at times is not inclusive.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
One of my greatest joys has been deepening my relationship with the Holy One, making personal and communal prayer a priority. I have also been blessed and privileged to minister with and to so many wonderful people.

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
I had been an educator for 17 years, as a junior high and high school teacher, and pastoral associate for 11 years in a diverse Chicago parish. Currently, I am director of Taller de José (Joseph's Workshop) a resource center in an inner city, Latino neighborhood. In addition, I have been in formation ministry for the congregation for the past seven years.

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
"The day will come when after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of Love and then for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire." Teihard de Chardin
As a Sister of St. Joseph, I am inspired by this quote and pray for the grace to be faithful to "harnessing the energies of Love," so that all may be one.

Kathy Brazda, CSJ, Chicago, Ill.
Current Ministry: Director of Taller de José (Joseph's Workshop)


Meet Sister Betsy Meagher

Why did you come to religious life?
I was interested in becoming a teacher and was attracted to the Sisters of St. Joseph, since they were my teachers in elementary school through high school. I entered religious life in 1964 and went to Nazareth College.

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?
Some of the greatest challenges have been to find my way in life, to nurture and accept my personal gifts, to understand how my spiritual life is my daily life and the various expressions this takes as I move among people I meet everyday. Learning to live among other women in religious life who have similar intentions and desires is a challenge as well as very rewarding.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
Some of my greatest joys have been being involved with liturgical music and liturgical ministry in various ways. Presently, I find my work in Transformations Spirituality Center so rewarding as we walk with others or create space in which others can make their own way on their spiritual journey. The consistent support I receive by being a community member and our various gatherings, both large and small, is so moving. It is really heartwarming to connect on a much deeper level as we journey together and have fun doing it.

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
I have been a music director for various parishes; Associate Director of the Worship Office for the Diocese of Gaylord, Mich. Currently, I am the Coordinator of Worship for the Nazareth Congregation of St. Joseph and minister in outreach and programs at Transformations Spirituality Center in Nazareth.

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
"By your fruits you will know them." What fruits do I bear where I speak, where I walk, where I am present? This is the spirit by which I am deeply guided each day.

Betsy Meagher, CSJ, Nazareth, Mich.
Current Ministry: Outreach and program coordinator for Transformations Spirituality Center


Meet Sister Janice Grochowsky

Why did you come to religious life?
I truly believed that becoming a religious sister was God's will for me. This belief was confirmed by a very special "presence of Jesus experience" over the course of several months.

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?
When I first entered, the greatest challenge was the transition from living alone to living in community with six others. Several years later, due to a change in ministry and location, the challenge was the transition from living in community with others to living alone.

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?
The many celebrations have been my greatest joys. First among these are the personal celebrations throughout initial formation: entrance into novitiate, first vows and final vows. Each of these moments provide the opportunity to reflect on what God has been doing in my life as well as what more God might be calling me to–true causes for joy! Secondly, the annual celebrations of jubilee are times of great rejoicing of God's presence in the lives of our great women of faith.

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
My previous ministry was that of a parish pastoral minister: a year-and-a-half in my home parish and six years in another parish. My areas of responsibility included religious education (DRE), liturgy and RCIA. Currently, I am involved in diocesan ministry (Diocese of Dodge City) as Director of the Marriage Tribunal, Chancellor and canonical advisor to the bishop.

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
Although I don't often consciously think about my life as a sister being counter-cultural, the life of a consecrated religious certainly is. This life is needed as a witness to others of the importance of a personal relationship with God, the need for simplicity and solidarity with the poor, the value of single-hearted chaste living, and the openness to hearing the voice of God through others.

Janice Grochowsky, CSJ, Dodge City, Kan.
Current Ministry: Director of the Marriage Tribunal and Chancellor


Meet Sister Janet Kurtz

Why did you come to religious life?
As a teen, while enjoying the social life of high school, I found myself attracted to religious life, but at the same time, questioned whether I'd ever be able to have the discipline that I thought was required. The Sisters I had in school (another community) were very strict, so I never considered exploring the possibility of joining them. At the same time, they did instill in us a desire to serve others, and this was at the root of seeking my destiny. I had a second cousin who was a CSJ in London, Ontario, who was fun to visit because she and the others were very friendly and welcoming. During a retreat in my junior year, I read "And Nora Said Yes" and discovered that there were St. Joseph Sisters in Michigan. Shortly after, I went to St. Francis Home for Boys (a sodality project) to tutor, and there I met Sr. Marlene Lammers and other Sisters. Again, I saw the same friendliness as in the Canadian Sisters. After a year or more of conversations that included LOTS of questions, I applied for entrance. Still with some doubts in my head, two nights before entering I told the fellow I had been dating that I probably wouldn't last more than three weeks! That was over forty-seven years ago!!!

What have been your greatest challenges as a sister?

  • Growing from an "I" to a "We"
  • Living out our charism within community as well as with others
  • Taking risks to live out our prophetic mission
  • "Standing under" in order to understand and appreciate diversity in thinking and acting
  • Enfleshing our Generous Promises so that they are recognized without having to read the written word

What have been your greatest joys as a sister?

  • Belonging to a loving community of great women doing great ministry in ordinary ways that maintain our global vision and local presence
  • Having multicultural/multiracial living and ministerial experiences in the US, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru
  • Sharing ministry with persons of other religious persuasions in a spirit of mutual respect and appreciation

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
1964-1977: Education at the elementary and junior high levels
1977-1979: Peace and justice ministry at Groundwork for a Just World, Lansing, Mich.
1979-1983: Social services ministry at Cristo Rey Community Center in Lansing, Mich.
1984-1987: Parish ministry in Marcona, Peru
1988-2004: Prison ministry in Lima, Peru
2005-2006: Peace and justice ministry at Michigan Peace Team, Lansing, Mich.
2007- .......: Support services at Nazareth Center

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of this life for you:
We are blessed to able to live in this time of new beginnings that calls us not only to become one as a new congregation, but to bring into union the human family through our fidelity to the Gospel, our charism and our Generous Promises.

Jan Kurtz, CSJ, Nazareth, Mich.
Current Ministry: Support services at Nazareth Center

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