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About Us

Novitiate Directors


Barbara Starapoli

Barbara Staropoli

Barbara Staropoli has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Rochester for 58 years.

She holds a DMA in from the Eastman School of Music and was a member of the music faculty of Nazareth College of Rochester for 32 years, including 12 years in campus ministry. She was elected to Congregational leadership in 2003 and served until 2011. In 2012, she founded an afterschool program, called Nazareth Neighborhood Arts, which served primarily refugee children and their families. She ministered there until 2017, when she was asked to become Director of Novices.

Michele Lesher

Michelle Lesher

Michelle is a Sister of Saint Joseph from Philadelphia currently serving as the Assistant Novice Director for the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

She participated in the Federation Novitiate in Orange, CA from 2006-2007. Michelle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Religious Studies from Chestnut Hill College and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College. She has experience in education, campus ministry, spiritual direction, and retreat work, most especially with young adults. She is passionate when it comes to companioning others in their relationship with God.