When the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester met for their recent Chapter of Affairs, one of the important items on the agenda was the election of a new leadership team — president, vice president and three councilors.
I was delighted to accept the congregation’s kind invitation to preside at the election of its new president, and to remain for the election of the four other members of the leadership team.
In case you have not already heard the news, I want to tell you that the following were chosen by their sisters to serve as leaders of the congregation for the next four years: Sister Mary Louise Mitchell, president; Sister Barbara Staropoli, vice president; and Sister Eileen Daly, Sister Marilyn Pray and Sister Elaine Hollis, councilors.
If you know the sisters I just named, you know that the congregation chose a group of women who — individually and collectively — bring much talent and wise experience to the task for which they have been chosen.
That outcome was no surprise. I remember thinking several times during the course of the morning’s process that it would be difficult for the sisters to do anything but very well, given the talent, education and experience of every one of the candidates who stood for election.
The quiet hours through which the elections unfolded offered a wonderful opportunity for thought and prayer. I was happy to pray for all of the candidates, for those voting and for all members of the congregation. And, I was happy to pray for all deceased members of this congregation who have enriched the people of this region since before the foundation of our diocese in 1868.
They have always been an important part of the diocese, but the shape and form and manner of offering their gifts to the diocese have evolved over time. Indeed, I am quite certain that an important part of the agenda for their Chapter of Affairs was devoted to this theme: How do we best express our deepest values in today’s reality? How do we, while remaining faithful to our deepest values, best serve our neighbors today?
I have little doubt that today’s sisters, with God’s grace, will find the best way into tomorrow. They always have.
Following their elections, I had the chance to congratulate the newly elected leaders and to assure them that they could count on the love and support of the people of our diocese when they officially begin their terms of service on June 23.
A closing word: Sister Janice Morgan, the outgoing president of the congregation, will complete her 16th year in leadership on that day in June — eight years on the council and eight years as president. I just want her to know how deeply so many of us appreciate the contribution she has made in those years to her congregation and to our diocese. She has been an effective leader, a wise adviser, a joyful spirit and a good friend. She will continue to be all of the above for many more years. It will just happen in a different way.
Peace to all.