The home directors of the Concordia novitiate team, Federation Executive Director, and the novices celebrate the close of a successful year.

May 4 marked the closing of this year’s novitiate for Sr. Kristine Fernandez, a novice from Toronto, Canada; Sr. Jean McKinney, a novice from Boston, and Sr. Mary Alice Collar, a St. Louis Carondelet novice. Before the three women left for their respective congregations, Sr. Betty Suther - their novice director – reminded them that the tools they learned in the novitiate will be crucial for their future. 

“You have a deep understanding of our roots and that can help you understand and respond to what is coming next,”Sr. Betty told the novices.

Sr. Ann Ashwood, an agrégée and the program coordinator for the novitiate shared, “I believe these novices are women with a social conscience deeply rooted in love of God and love of neighbor.  They have a broad world view.” 

The main goal of the Federation Novitiate is to provide a program that steeps the novices in the spirituality of the Sisters of St Joseph and prepares them to be discerning women responsive to God’s will. Sr. Kristine said that this process helped her connect with her fellow novices and to the rest in her community.

“All the presenters were speaking the same language about our core spirituality.  Having Sisters of St Joseph teach the classes reinforced everything,”Sr.Kristine said.

Sr. Jean added, “I have a foundation from which to build and grow.  Like a caterpillar to a butterfly, I have the tools to keep transforming.”

Sr. Mary Alice also felt that the novitiate provided a foundation for “opportunities to get more and more comfortable with our center, and trusting what is coming out of that.”

Srs. Ann Ashwood, Mary Jo Thummel, and Betty Suther were apart of the novitiate teamAs the novices prepared to leave, Sr. Mary Jo Thummel, assistant novice director noticed that the novitiate community really gelled as a group. She told the novices “I hope you will find ways to continue these relationships.”

During the closing, the novices shared some of the important lessons they learned during their eight months at the novitiate. Sr. Mary Alice felt that as discerning women it was essential to have a good spiritual director with whom you can be upfront and honest.  Sr. Kristine learned a lot through journaling. Sr. Jean was surprised how art exposed her to new ways of perceiving and doing.

As the novices return home, Sr. Denise Kelly of Boston – one of the home novice directors – offered some wisdom “If we know how to listen and be silent, we will be ready for what’s coming down the road.”

All indications are that these three women are prepared and ready to face that future.  As they return to their home congregations, they recognize that they have formed relationships with each other which will endure long after the closing.