By: Betsy Wiest, Agrégée
As an agrégée, I completed a 3-year formation program steeped in the Charism and history of the Sisters of St. Joseph prior to taking my vows in 2016 with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern PA. It was a life-changing event and deepened my love of all things SSJ! In 2017, I began a ministry leadership position in our community and was offered the opportunity to participate in Spirits on Fire. Spirits on Fire is a formation program to assist lay leaders in deepening their knowledge and lived experience of the mission and spiritual tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph, as well as more deeply grow into and lead in the mission of unity from the CSSJ Charism. Spirits on Fire provided the opportunity to meet and bond with other lay leaders across the country who have become my friends. It broadened my exposure to the Charism in ways I could never have imagined. It gave me resources and real people I can call – who are leading other CSSJ ministries – when I want another opinion on something or just for support. Being part of the Spirits on Fire community showed me ways to embody the mission to reach more people and gave me creative ideas on how to effectively lead others in a mission of unity. Participation in Spirits on Fire continues to kindle that flame of God’s love in my heart as well as help me to better serve the dear neighbor.
[Betsy Wiest is an agrégée with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern PA. She is the executive director of St. Patrick’s Haven, a shelter for men experiencing homelessness in Erie, PA.]