By: Sr. Patty Johnson

Sr. Patty Johnson at Event 2016.It is time for me to bid farewell to my position as the Executive Director of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. It has been a wonderful 8.5 years. Having been elected to the Carondelet congregational leadership team, my last day at the Federation was December 31. I cannot begin to tell you how deeply this work has impacted me. I am enriched by the many meaningful relationships I have formed. We have accomplished so much together.

I am especially proud of our Leaders as Leaven program, the movement of our archives to Avila University, (I am very fond of the Talks and Speeches section where so many great presentations from our past are available online), and our corporate voice statements done in collaboration with LCWR. These have provided a vehicle for timely reactions to the justice issues of our times.

Our programs, which help us grow in living our spirituality and charism, are being delivered in new ways. We are shifting our resources to make them more available to our membership in recognition of their changing needs. This can be seen through our TIM (Together in Mission) talks, “Justice through the Eyes of the Charism” reflections which include questions for group discussion, regional workshops, our resource and prayer sections on our website, and much more.

Sisters Patty Johnson and Charlene Diorka enjoying the lunch break in the sun.I am very excited about our membership expanding to include agrégées, associates, partners in mission, the St. Joseph Worker community and others who share the charism as full members. This offers us great hope for the future.

I am especially grateful for the relationships with the international Sisters of St. Joseph with whom I have worked. Our Federation mission statement says that we embrace unifying love for the transformation of the world; I know that my life has been transformed through this work.

The second volume of the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States is almost ready to go to print. I have enjoyed reading the chapters as Sr. Mary McGlone has finished each one and I am sure you will enjoy the book when it becomes available.

My small role with the Federation Novitiate has enabled me to develop relationships with the women who are joining our congregations. I truly value the time we have spent together.

I am very happy about our support groups for novice directors, that the Unified Vision for Lifelong Formation — approved by the Leadership Assembly in 2016 — has been implemented and is in the process of being evaluated for its effectiveness, as well as the four-part series for Associate Directors.

Sr. Patty Johnson (center) at a former school in Moutier, France.The Conrad N. Hilton grant that we received allowed us to train 125 Sisters of St. Joseph from around the world on Cultural Diversity and Conflict Management in Le Puy, France and an additional 12 online. The curriculum — developed by an international team of our sisters — produced statistically significant change in the participants, who are now using the program back in their own country. Two professional papers on the impact of this program have been presented at professional conferences and will be published in professional journals this year. We have seven sisters prepared to offer this program across our Federation.

Our international efforts at the United Nations and the International Center continue to forge strong bonds among all who share the charism around the world. Our website is currently being revamped to make it more attractive and user-friendly. We use social media, a monthly electronic newsletter, and a new members-only resource area to keep our members fully informed of what is happening across the U.S. Federation. We have an electronic database, Breeze that makes communication easier.

So, as I say good-by, I want to thank you in a heartfelt way for this wonderful opportunity. It was more than I ever could have imagined.