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  • 150+ There is still so much work to be done

    YEARS

    SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF CARONDELET

    4

    SERVICE WITH A TWIST

  • The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have worked for more than 150 years to build the Twin Cities into a place where concern for the common good is common place. The women started hospitals where there were none, provided healthcare to all, taught generations of children the values of service, and created nonprofits to work with the poor and marginalized.

    At the dawn of the 21st Century sitting around a campfire one warm summer evening, a group of Sisters of St. Joseph dreamed together about creating a way for young women to soak in the mission of the CSJ community while living and working together. The vision was to spread the mission, build leaders for the future, and invigorate the communi-ty with energy and passion. That campfire conversation ignited the St. Joseph Worker Program. Since the program began in 2002, young women became St. Joseph Workers and have been changed, supported, and energized for lives of service.

    The SJW community is growing!

    There is still so much work to be done!

    5

    SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF

    CARONDELET

    ST. JOSEPH WORKER

    PROGRAM

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Writers Mary Louise Menikheim Andrea Pearson Tande

    Editors Ralph Scorpio Greg Zeglen

    Contact Suzanne Herder, CSJ and Director The St Joseph Worker Program

    Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet

    add 1884 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105-1747

    tel 651.696.2762

    web http://www.stjosephworkers.org

    6

    SERVICE WITH A TWIST

  • CONTENTS

    Service with a Twist 09

    Jumping Through the Safety Net 10

    Expanding Horizons 12

    FOUR Alums Speak 14

    Leadership is a Relationship 18

    Social Justice 24

    My Faith Was Sort of a Bully to Me 30

    Welcoming the Strangers Among Us 34

    A Partners Perspective 39

    7

    SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF

    CARONDELET

    ST. JOSEPH WORKER

    PROGRAM

  • 8SERVICE WITH A TWIST

    SERVICE WITH A TWIST

  • SERVICE WITH A TWISTCertain moments of our lives can follow and change us forever.

    The change can manifest when we make a declaration, begin a practice, or simply walk in a certain direction. For many women, their experience in the St. Joseph Worker (SJW) Program is one of these special moments.

    The St. Joseph Worker Program is a year-long, full time volunteer program for young women supported by the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet. Its based on the values of social justice, leader-ship, spirituality, and community. The participants live together in intentional community and receive housing, food, insurance, monthly stipend, transportation to and from work. They also are provided with excellent training and development. Each woman is placed for work at a different site that addresses social issues. Some may be involved in the issues of domestic violence, home-lessness, education, and immigration. Others may be involved in helping to provide access to healthy food, health care for the uninsured, and affordable child care. Over the course of the year, these positions provide multiple opportunities for both personal and professional growth.

    In this collection of essays and photos, youll hear about the St. Joseph Worker experience through the voices of the women who have lived it. Let them tell you about the moments in the SJW Program that changed their lives, for the better, forever.

    Mary Louise MenikheimAndrea Pearson Tande

    9

    SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF

    CARONDELET

    ST. JOSEPH WORKER

    PROGRAM

  • JUMPING THROUGH THE SAFETY NET

    10

    SERVICE WITH A TWIST

    JJUMPING THROUGH THE SAFETY NET

    SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH

    ST. JOSEPH WORKER PROGRAM

  • In 2002, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ) initiated the St. Joseph Worker Program to attract younger women to their mission of serving God and the dear neighbor. This initiative illustrates the CSJs openness to those who feel called to affiliate with the Sisters and Consociates to work toward justice, to carry the mission forward within the context of their lives.

    11

    SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF

    CARONDELET

    ST. JOSEPH WORKER

    PROGRAM

  • EXPANDING HORIZONS

    In an age when fewer women are becoming Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, programs like SJWs engage young women to extend the CSJ mission and ministries, said Sister Suzanne Herder, CSJ and SJW Director. The SJWs expand our horizons into ministries with new partners for justice and plant seeds for tomorrow. Were leveraging their work in agencies across the Twin Cities to engage more people in serving God and the dear neighbor. Whether or not a person has taken vows is not the issue. What counts is that society has leaders to help people address the problems of the times and help where there is need. Thats the reason we mentor these young women and why weve invested in this major program.

    12

    SERVICE WITH A TWIST

    EXPANDING HORIZONS

  • The SJWs work is direct service with a twist. The work challenges the womens leadership capacity. It teaches them to creatively engage others and bring into their daily work the CSJ spirituality of right rela-tionships. It instills recognition of the dignity of each person and joins with them in mutually determined efforts. The twist in these relationships is those who participate are part of and joined to all others. In this reciprocal relationship, each person engages the dignity and gifts of the others without regard to their situation in life.

    13

    SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF

    CARONDELET

    ST. JOSEPH WORKER

    PROGRAM

  • What does it mean to dedicate a full year to learning about

    justice, leadership, spirituality, and living simply in an intentional

    community? According to four St. Joseph Worker alums, it means

    their lives were deeply changed for the better, for good.

    Donna Bonicatto

    FOUR ALUMS SPEAK

    I had the different experience of being on the street, and entering into their world, said Donna Bonicatto. I talked to people who may not have wanted to talk to me, or who were struggling with mental illness, and I met them exactly where they were. I learned from them the dynamics of their world. How could I enter respectfully? If I entered into one of their camps, I learned to say, knock, knock, because it was their home.

    You can read whatever you want in a text book and you can do simulations, but you dont un-derstand people until you work with people, says Donna. I learned to see a client not through knowledge obtained from a textbook, but as a person to listen to and communicate with. This is not saying I understand, because I dont; but I can listen. Often, they simply wanted me to listen.

    Before her SJW year, going to a Twins game and seeing a panhandler on the way was kind of scary to Donna, but it became her job to go up and talk with them. I will never look at people on the street, homeless people, the same way again. Each one is a person with a story, no matter what they struggle with, they are a person. Instead of seeing them as Oh, this poor man, I know there are stories behind them and that they are not scary.

    14

    SERVICE WITH A TWIST

    FOUR ALUMS SPEAK

  • Lauren Boleen

    brought us vegetables from their gardens and helped us close the clinic at the end of the day.

    I got to go home at the end of the day to a house with-out a lot of adversity, Lauren related. I had a warm meal; and although at the beginning, it didnt seem too comfortable, it became home. And my patients at the end of their work day went home to something hard. Their reality was a barrier which I didnt know how to cross over, and I didnt know if I could. Ive never been an immigrant being deported or had a family member deported, and I didnt understand what that would be like. But no matter how different we are, we are all human, and I can put my hand on your shoulder. That means more than any words. I want to understand, but I can be supportive, even when I dont understand. I can remember that youre a human just like me, and you have rights and feelings like I do.

    I remember before the program started I was driving through St. Paul and by the house where I ended up living. I realized how different it was from the safety where I grew up and from where I went to college, said Lauren. Now I drive around those places, and it doesnt at all feel scary and dangerous. It doesnt feel foreign to me anymore.

    One thing that I learned in working with my patients at St. Marys Health Clinics is that my whole idea of reality was changed, says Lauren. Growing up as a white, upper middle class citizen, my life has given me a lot of opportunities and resources. I cant pretend to know what it would feel like to have a family member be sick without health insurance, or to be in an abusive relationship. But my patients every day taught me what reality is; I dont think I would have learned this any other way. They taught me that even with those struggles, they persevere.

    We had a woman whose 18-year-old son was deport-ed to Honduras and then murdered a week after he arrived there, Lauren recalls. Seeing her coming in, being strong and being a role model for her other kids that showed a lot of power to me and inspired me. When things are hard, I remember these patients and how they get through their hard times.

    We go into these volunteer opportunities thinking we will be the giver, but a lot of days I felt as if I was the one being taught, she said. It was often simple things such as new Spanish phrases. Helping ea