Associate director Sr. Rita Woehlcke left speaks with Srs. Mary Ann Mayer and Mary Anne Heenan at the Leadership AssemblyA Bold New Future: Expanding Membership

On June 10, 2016 we announced the beginning of an organizational audit for the US Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph. We asked our sisters, associates, agrégées, partners in mission and others who share the charism for their input to help imagine our future together. After many surveys, focus groups, written reports, and recommendations, the Leadership Assembly composed of elected leaders of member congregations came together in November 2017 to make decisions and propose next steps.

For the second time in our 51-year history, the US Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph is making bold structural changes impacting membership, governance, and future planning. Although there is much to be done to actualize the decisions made at this year’s Leadership Assembly, we have built the framework and put the processes into motion.

To guide us into this bold new future, the 2017 Leadership Assembly approved  new Mission, Values and Vision Statements (Click here to read article on Mission, Values, and Vision) to replace the Federation’s previous purpose statements. This statement, along with those previous purpose statements and the results of the recent organizational audit, will help the Leadership Council prepare a detailed plan to move us forward.

Over the next few weeks we will share the significant bold steps for the future that have been decided and the processes that will lead to implementation.

  1. Expanding Membership
  2. A New Way of Governing
  3. Finances and Staffing

At Event 2016 St Joseph Workers were a big presence and they spoke eloquently of how the charism influences their livesEXPANDING MEMBERSHIP

Expanding our membership is a key piece of the US Federation’s bold new vision. The Leadership Assembly unanimously agreed to open Federation membership to all those associated with our member congregations, including agrégées, associates, partners in mission, St. Joseph Workers, and among those who shared the charism and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph.  Previously they could join in some Federation programs, projects, and committees. Now, the possibility to choose official membership will allow them to find new responsibilities, roles, and ways of participating in our mission.


We are forming a working group to create an implementation plan for these membership changes. Leaders of each congregation and province are being asked to nominate a mixture of elected leaders, sisters, communicators and potential new members to be part of this committee. This working group will be tasked with brainstorming the benefits, roles, and responsibilities for these new members. They would recommend how to encourage potential new members to join and design the application process. Their proposals would be sent to the 2018 Leadership Assembly for consideration.

Another working group would be tasked with proposing a dues structure for these new members. Membership levels may include individual memberships and institutional memberships for partners in mission and sponsored institutions. Working group members will include a mixture of leaders, sisters, and potential new members, including representatives from partners in mission and sponsored ministries. The Federation Finance Committee will assist the group’s work with financial insights. Their recommendations will also be presented at the 2018 Leadership Assembly.