Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet: A Photo Series

By Brittany Hanewinkel

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJs) were founded in 1650 in Le Puy, France by Father Jean Pierre Medaille, a Jesuit priest. The sisters found their way to America in 1836 when Bishop Rosati of St. Louis requested six CSJs presence to educate the deaf. Fontbonne University was founded by the CSJs in 1923. The St. Louis province is one of four congregations in the United States. The others are located in St. Paul, Albany and Los Angeles. According to their organizational website, the CSJ mission is “to form loving relationships with ourselves, with God, within community, Church, society and all creation.” The sisters are known for their do so through prayer, direct service, consciousness raising, and systemic change.”

This spring, Fontbonne celebrated I Heart CSJ week. The following photos capture the kickoff event, Mass at the Doer Chapel, on March 8th. Other events included “Hands across Fontbonne,” “Rocking with the Sisters,” a historical tour of Fontbonne’s campus, and a service day with the sisters.

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“When I met the Sisters of St. Joseph and learned the charism of ‘loving God and neighbor without distinction and uniting neighbor with God and neighbor with each other so that all may be one,’ I knew they would be a good fit for me. I also admired how they empowered each woman to best live this [the CSJ Mission] out in her life. Ultimately I chose the CSJs because it was a natural and good fit for my life.” – Sr. Clare Bass
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Sister Janet Kuciejczyk shares a laugh with a Fontbonne student before Mass.
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“My fellow Sisters help me to live as a Sister of St. Joseph. They inspire me to be ‘more’ and to live more authentically. I am inspired by their prayer, by their service to the dear neighbor, by their commitment to the Community of St. Joseph. They invite me to use my gifts and to give of my time and talent. They challenge me to live faithfully to live my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They also allow me to share the joys and sorrows of my life and the way God is acting in my life.” – Sister Janet Kuciejczyk
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“One of my brothers told me on the day that I made vows that I was ‘glowing’. I believe because I am who I am and that means a woman, a CSJ my inner joy, peace and love is what causes the glow and keeps the flame going.” – Sister Linda Markway
Fr. Kamanzi is finishing his first year as Chaplain at Fontbonne University. His presence has brought a refreshed visible sense of Catholicism to the Fontbonne campus.
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“I believe that hugs are therapeutic. I know they create a positive aura around me and hopefully those who receive them. In some of my readings, I heard that a minimum of 15 hugs a day is the goal. I try to honor an individual’s comfort zone with hugs often asking their permission though sometimes I forget.” – Sister Linda Markway (Pictured is Fontbonne student Kayla Winkler receiving a hug from Markway.)
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“Joseph was a family man. As little as he is mentioned in the Bible, what we do know is that he loved his family very much and was committed to them. He trusted God and did what was asked of him. As CSJs, we remain faithful to God and try to do what is asked of us as best we can.” – Sister Clare Bass
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Two sisters demonstrate their connection as they cheerfully await the beginning of Mass.
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“My fellow sisters are friends and companions on our journey in life. They provide support when needed and challenge me to grow. Sharing life and prayer with the sisters gives me the strength and courage I need to be my best self.” – Sister Kathleen Eiler
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Fontbonne University’s Chaplain, Father Speratus Kamanzi proudly dons a t-shirt displaying the logo for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

As Sister Linda compares the Fontbonne and the CSJ community, she can’t help but to find similarities. “Both the CSJ and FBU community are similar because the charism and mission intersect on my levels.  Serving the dear neighbor means the same as the ‘committed to the common good.’ The CSJ mission of ‘unifying love’ and FBU’s ‘transformative education’ are also one in the same as they both speak of making a difference in the world by opening one’s heart, mind and spirit to the ‘other’ and realize that the similarities and differences among all people are something to be treasured and respected.”

Brittany is a sophomore at Fontbonne majoring in Professional Writing and minoring in Literary Studies. She is an assistant to the Carondelet Chair in Catholic Thought. Her favorite involvements at Fontbonne include Service and Justice Coordinators and Campus Ministry events.

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