The following Sisters of St. Joseph are celebrating 75-, 70-, 60-, 50- and 25-year anniversaries in 2010.
Sister Eleanor Seidewand (formerly Sister Mary Leo), entered the congregation from Rochester’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish.
She said her eighth-grade teacher Sister De Neri inspired her to become a Sister of St. Joseph.
“I also wanted to teach little ones like my second-grade teacher Sister Anita,” Sister Seidewand said.
Those inspirations led to a 36-year career as a teacher. She worked at Blessed Sacrament, Holy Rosary and Sacred Heart Cathedral schools and St. Joseph’s Villa, Rochester; St. Alphonsus, Auburn; and St. Joseph, Wayland. After retiring from teaching, she worked for 20 years as a physical-therapy aide at the motherhouse infirmary.
“I’m grateful to my family and religious community, but especially the medical staff that give me such good care. Also, I am blessed by the aides and volunteers who bring joy to my life,” she said.
Sister Concetta Mitrano noted that her family was blessed to have four of its nine children enter religious life; two of her sisters, Ann Regina and Cora Marie, are sisters of St. Joseph, and her brother is Basilian Father Joe Mitrano. She credits her mother for inspiring the four siblings’ callings.
“My mother had great devotion to St. Theresa, the little Flower of Jesus,” she said.
Sister Mitrano grew up in Rochester’s St. Anthony of Padua Parish and entered the congregation in 1939 after graduating from Nazareth Academy.
She taught at Corpus Christi, Holy Apostles, St. Anthony of Padua and Our Lady of Perpetual Help schools and St. Joseph’s Villa, Rochester; St. Patrick, Corning; St. Michael, Penn Yan; Holy Trinity, Webster; St. Patrick, Mt. Morris; and St. Joseph, Wayland.
Sister Mitrano is retired from teaching, but is involved with the prayer ministry and volunteering at Cornerstone Gift Shop at the motherhouse.
Sister Eileen Conheady (formerly Sister Joseph Eileen) entered the congregation from Rochester’s Holy Apostles Parish. She taught at Sacred Heart Cathedral and Holy Rosary schools and St. Agnes High School, Rochester, and Nazareth College, Pittsford. She was pastoral assistant at Rochester’s St. Stanislaus Parish and also worked with the Rochester Diocese’s Office of Black Ministry and a local women’s shelter.
Sister Conheady founded Women’s Place, a Rochester shelter for homeless women with children 5 years or younger. Women’s Place was housed in the former St. Augustine Convent. At the time it was the only shelter in Rochester that provided shelter to women with young children.
At present, Sister Conheady is in charge of coordinating volunteer services at the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Nazareth Convent and working with neighborhood organizations.
Sister Beatrice Ganley credits grace for her good fortunes in life.
“It is all about grace: the grace of belonging to a group of women whose whole lives are devoted to seeking God, the grace of meaningful work in my various ministries, the grace of friendship, support and understanding,” she said. “I often wonder, ‘How did I get so lucky?'”
Sister Ganley entered the congregation from Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament Parish. She is a writer and an educator, and she currently teaches at Nazareth College. She also has taught at St. Bridget, St. Monica, St. Augustine, Nazareth Hall Cadet School and Nazareth Academy, Rochester; St. Patrick, Seneca Falls; St. Agnes, Avon; St. Theodore, Gates; and St. John the Evangelist, Greece.
Sister Marian Johnson (formerly Sister Joan Michael) entered the congregation from St. John the Evangelist Parish in Greece.
“Having had many encounters with the Sisters of St. Joseph in grade school and high school, the call (to religious life) became stronger and clearer each year,” she said.
She taught at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester; St. Paul, Oswego; Christ the King, Irondequoit; St. Rose, Lima; St. Jerome, East Rochester; and St. Theodore and All Saints Junior High, Gates. She now works with Sisters Care, an SSJ ministry that aids the elderly.
“As schools consolidated or closed, I felt called to devote my energies to those at the other end of life’s spectrum — working with the elderly is truly a need of our time,” she said.
When Sister Barbara Joan Lynaugh left her family home in Canandaigua to become a Sister of St. Joseph, she said she had no idea where the light would lead her.
“Each ministry had its own challenges and all these ministries evolved one into the other,” Sister Lynaugh said.
She started out teaching in the Rochester Catholic schools, along with spending time at St. Paul, Oswego, and St. Mary, Auburn.
In 1974, she became a pastoral assistant, working with Father Henry Atwell at St. Agnes Parish, Avon. While at St. Agnes she worked closely with the funeral directors at Stephenson-Dougherty.
From there she joined the congregation’s finance office, coordinating health insurance for sisters.
Sister Lynaugh lives in Bloomfield and volunteers at St. Bridget/St Joseph Parish there as well as St. Mary Parish in Canandaigua. She also volunteers at the motherhouse.
Sister Marie Adelaide Shire said she has always known in her heart that she had a vocation to be a Sister of St. Joseph. A native of Rochester who entered the congregation from St. Monica Parish, she spent her first years in ministry as a teacher.
“My recollections of my first years as a teacher is a love of teaching and a love for the children,” she said.
She taught at Holy Apostles, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Stanislaus, Rochester; St. Mary, Elmira; St. Mary, Canandaigua; Christ the King, Irondequoit; St. Joseph, Wayland; and St. John the Evangelist, Greece.
After almost 20 years in education, she changed careers to business and worked on the administrative staff at St. John the Evangelist.
“I spent 10 years at St. John the Evangelist, and I made quite a few lasting friendships there,” she noted.
Currently, Sister Shire works as an assistant in the archive department at the motherhouse.
Sister Ann Collins (formerly Sister Lambert) believes education is the perennial “need of the day.” Throughout her religious life, she has been engaged in the ministry of education, elementary and secondary.
Sister Collins has ministered at St. John the Evangelist, Greece; St. James, Waverly; St. Paul, Oswego; and St. Ambrose and the Nazareth Schools, Rochester. She is currently on sabbatical.
Reflecting on her 50th jubilee, Sister Collins noted why the SSJs are special.
“To this day, I admire my sisters in community, those who use their gifts and talents unstintingly in service to others, whether it be as educators, pastoral ministers, health-care providers or missionaries,” she said. “I also admire the fact that each sister has the freedom to invest herself in work that best expresses her God-given talents.”
Sister Ellen Galvin (formerly Sister Mark) was born in Corning and attended St. Mary Church. She said her 50 years in religious life have been an exciting journey.
Sister Galvin felt the call to serve in schools and parishes. She taught at St. Alphonsus, Auburn, and St. Ambrose, Rochester. She also ministered in religious-education at St. Ambrose Parish and Holy Spirit Parish in Webster and was a pastoral associate at St. Thomas More Parish in Brighton. Today she serves as one of two coordinators for the motherhouse.
“My call to serve in schools and parishes has shaped and blessed my life beyond my expectations,” she said. “The peoples’ faith, support and generosity have nourished me, and I carry each of you in my heart. At each Eucharist, I will give thanks for the gift you have been to me.”
Sister Jean Rodman (formerly Sister de Paul) has spent the last 25 years as a sign-language interpreter for Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for the Deaf. As an interpreter, she said she feels fortunate to have been invited into people’s lives.
Sister Rodman also taught at Sacred Heart Cathedral and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rochester; St. Aloysius, Auburn; and St. Jerome, East Rochester. She led religious-education programs at St. Mary, Horseheads; served as a religious-education coordinator in the diocesan Pastoral Office; and has performed pastoral work at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Churchville.
Reflecting on the occasion of her 50th jubilee, Sister Rodman said, “I come from a large and loving family, and what I am still learning from good friends, my family and my sisters in community is how to walk with them into each day gratefully, knowing we are in God’s hands.”
Sister Elizabeth Snyder (formerly Sister Lisette) said a lifelong love of learning started when she was just a young girl attending a small country school.
“It was a family-based Catholic school and as I remember, the education I received there helped me build confidence and study skills,” Sister Snyder recalled.
She continued that love of education by becoming a Sister of St. Joseph and pursuing a ministry as a teacher at St. Monica and Blessed Sacrament, Rochester; St. Paul, Oswego; Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton; and as principal at Nazareth Hall Middle School.
She retired from education after 15 years of teaching and 31 years of being a principal.
“My ministry and story continue as I now am engaged in hospitality ministry at our motherhouse under the title of house director,” she explained. “Only our gracious God knows what will unfold in my life along the journey of service for him through others.”
Sister Phyllis Tierney (formerly Sister Vincentia) entered the congregation in 1959 and for part of her ministry spent time as the director of education for a small community outside of Oswego called Hannibal.
“The wise women of Hannibal taught me much about encountering God. These women were parish volunteers who had withstood both poverty and hardship in their personal lives but their focus was always on helping others. Together we shared many prayer and retreat times which were always followed by wonderful potluck lunches,” she said.
Sister Tierney also has worked at St. Patrick, Seneca Falls; St. Mary, Canandaigua; St. Joseph’s Villa, Rochester; and St. Pius X in Greensboro, N.C. Her home parish is St. Joseph in Weedsport. She is currently the congregation’s justice-and-peace coordinator.
Sister Joana Dalva Alves Mendes is Brazilian and lives in community with the Sisters of St. Joseph who are missioned in Brazil.
“I was born shortly after the Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Mateira, Brazil,” she explained. “They came to my hometown in 1968. Their friendly approach, their simplicity, their commitment to the poor always attracted me.”
In the past 25 years as a Sister of St. Joseph she has spent much of her ministerial work as a pastoral agent. One of the most important experiences as a Sister of St. Joseph occurred when she worked as pastoral agent at the Prelazia de S√£o Felix do Araguaia in Ribeir√£o-Cascalheira, MT.
She is currently a student in Goi√¢nia, Brazil.
Sister Ireny Rosa Da Silva was born in Brazil. She entered the congregation from the parish of Nossa Senhora da Immaculada Conceicao in Brazil.
Sister Da Silva is a pastoral agent in the parish of Sao Joao Batista, and she is a school secretary in Uberl√¢ndia.
Sister Chris Burgmaier, who is in Brazil, says this about Sister Da Silva: “She is an analytical, reflective person, and you know she has thought before she acts.”