Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feast of St. Joseph

Our western community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace had a very special Feast of St. Joseph today - we were all invited by Father Paul Magnano, pastor of the new downtown Catholic Church, Christ our Hope, to celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Father Paul invited the CSJPs because our history is so entwined with this new church, and with its home, the Josephinum, an elegant former hotel on 2nd and Stewart in downtown Seattle.

Back in the 1970s-1980s (before I entered the community, so I don't have the precise dates), the Catholic Church bought the hotel, which Elvis Presley once slept in, and turned it into senior housing, administered by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. We called it the Josephinum, in honor of our patron saint, and put a chapel in the former ballroom. The Josephinum has since become low-income housing, serving many formerly homeless people in downtown Seattle, and about six months ago, the chapel - beautifully remodeled - was transformed into the Christ our Hope Parish. A statue of St. Joseph which used to stand in the chapel now is placed in the Josephinum lobby.

We were invited to join in the Mass and to bless and rededicate the statue of St. Joseph - we all got to take turns sprinkling Joseph with holy water (that's Sister Noreen Linane at work in the photo). And we were honored by Fr. Paul's homily, which concluded:

The example of Joseph is precious to each of us. His Sisters of Peace who ministered in this building for 23 years are also precious to each of us. These sisters continue in their ministries today the commitment of Joseph to right relationships, justice and peace. This Solemnity of St. Joseph triggers our own response to care for each Jesus and each Mary in our lives, given us to cherish, to protect, to help grow. We pray for joy in discouraging days, for confidence in hopeless situations, for joy in our heartbreaking service to all God’s holy people

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