Olga relaxing after a long week in language schoolOlga Bonfiglio will become the first Associate to serve on the staff of the International Center in Le Puy.  “I’ve always wanted to live in Europe and this is a dream come true in an unexpected unique and fabulous way,” said Olga.   She will be joining Sisters Line Rioux (Maine- USA who is completing 5 years of service), Eluiza Andrade (A Brazilian sister in her third year) and Anita (another sister from Chambery Brazil)who began a two year term this February.

Sr. Patty Johnson shared that as more Associates, partners in ministry, and lay people with significant contacts with the Sisters of St Joseph attend programs at the International Center, it is appropriate that we engage a lay person on our staff.  The Board of the International Center worked out the process with the French government to have Olga volunteer her services.  The International Center provides a small stipend and health insurance for Olga during her two year commitment. International Center Board and Staff

In speaking about the position, Olga shared, “I consider this work to be a ministry.  It makes me feel closer to the (global) congregations of St Joseph.  That it is in Le Puy at the foundation of the congregations, makes it more essential in my mind.” 

From the right is Sr. Ieda the President of the International Center board welcoming Olga and Anita to the staff with Sr. Catherine Vice President on the left“I am from Detroit, I’ve lived in Kalamazoo most of my adult life. I was a Sister of St Joseph in the Kalamazoo, Michigan Congregation from 1975 to 1984.  I have been a professor in education and business writing, as well as English as a Second Language. I have my Doctorate in International Education. I have been employed in public relations. Over the last 15 years I have been a journalist and writer in the Kalamazoo area.  For the last 3 years, I have been working part-time at the history room at Nazareth, Michigan community (COSJ) working on archives,” Olga offered.  Hopefully, she will bring many of her professional skills to the work at the International Center.

Sharing on a personal level, Olga noted, “I grew up in an Italian ethnic family and have always enjoyed international flavor.  The International Center will broaden that even more.  I have visited 26 countries and all continents except Australia and Antarctica.  This offers not just an opportunity to visit but to live in a different culture and welcome people from all over the world to participate in our history and charism.”At language school in Lyon Olga converses with one of the teachers in French of course

Last June Olga and a friend toured Europe.  They stayed for 3 nights and Olga knew she was interested in returning. This March the Board provided an orientation to Olga and Anita.  Olga continued her study of French for a month at a language school in Lyon.   She will begin her position in mid-July.

In closing Olga said, “For me this is a privilege to be a part of the community in a very different way.  As we open the center to more people, I hope that more Associates will take advantage and come to the Center.”