LaGrange Park Jubilarians – 2023 – Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph

LaGrange Park Jubilarians – 2023

Sister Michele Elfering CSJ

75 years

Sister Michele Elfering was one of seven children born to Ruby and Felix Elfering of Libertyville, Illinois. After entering the congregation, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English from Loyola University and a Master of Arts in Special Education from Cardinal Stritch College.

Sister Michele taught in elementary classrooms for over twenty years, and went on to serve an additional twenty years as principal of parish schools at Mt. Carmel, St. Hugh, and St. John Fisher. From 1988-1992, she served the congregation in leadership as Vice President. She returned to teaching ministry as a teacher’s aide and English tutor for those preparing for citizenship exams. She also served as a Eucharistic minister and lector, volunteered at a homeless shelter, and delivered food to the poor.

After moving into the LaGrange Park center, Sister Michele continued to be engaged in all aspects of community life, sharing her warm smile with everyone she met.

She currently resides at Resurrection Life Center in Chicago where she is active in prayer ministry.

Sister Jean McGrath, CSJ

60 years

Sister Jean McGrath has been an educator most of her life. Her parents, James and Margaret, put a high priority on Catholic education for each of their seven children. After graduating from high school in the 1960’s, she entered religious life and when on to earn her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, then taught at both the elementary and high school levels. She also served in community leadership as a Community Councilor.

Sister Jean has been the administrator at three schools, most recently St. John Fisher School in Chicago where she served as principal for 32 years before her retirement in 2018. She often mused that she thought she would stay at the school for about the years! “Vital Catholic Parishes can be a wonderful microcosm of the Church,” she said. “I was privileged to work with colleagues and parish families who cared deeply about each other and about the needs of those well beyond the local community.” Today, Sister Jean’s days are filled with volunteer work, prayer ministry, and enjoying the perks of retirement living.

Sister Sue Torgersen, CSJ

(Sister Marisa)

60 years

Sister Sue Torgersen was one of four children born to Ralph Morse and Marie Torgersen of Westchester, IL, where the family attended Divine Infant Parish and, later, Divine Providence Parish. She entered the congregation and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rosary College (now Dominican University) in 1967, a master’s degree in outdoor education from Northern Illinois University in 1974, and a master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, Chicago, in 1981.

Sister Sue began her ministry teaching elementary grades in the Chicago Archdiocese for 10 years. She served the next ten years at the Archdiocese of Chicago Religious Education Office with a primary focus on directing the Teens Encounter Christ Retreat Program.

Later responsibilities included director of youth ministry for the Diocese of Joliet (1989 to 1993); associate vocation director and director of clergy continuing education for the Diocese of New Ulm, MN, (1994-2004); director of faith formation for St. Joseph Parish in Waconia, MN (2004-06); Director of Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center in Arbor Vitae, WI, 2006-08). From 2008 to 2018, Sister Sue served at Annunciation Parish in Minneapolis with a focus on Faith Formation, RCIA, and Peace and Justice. With the parish’s strong connection to Mission Haiti, Inc., Sister Sue worked to develop collaborative relationships between Mission Haiti, our own Congregation and the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph.

In the five years since her time at Annunciation parish, Sister Sue completed a 3-year program in spiritual direction at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, WI. She helped develop a vocation committee for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. She has also been instrumental in founding the organization U.S. Catholic Indigenous Boarding School Accountability and Healing Project, whose purpose is to educate people within the Catholic Church and beyond, about the injustices and harms brought about by the boarding school system which was imposed universally on multiple generations of Native American children, and the Catholic Church’s role in assisting this U.S. government with this program. Sr. Sue is also involved in various projects and committees within the Congregation and in August will begin a five-year term of service on the Congregational Leadership Team.

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