Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul has applied for a conditional use permit with the City of Saint Paul to use the Provincial House as a family shelter. The public will have an opportunity to provide comments on this application at a Zoning Committee hearing on Thursday, February 25, at 3:30 p.m. A link to the meeting will be posted on the City’s website this week. You can share your input on the proposed family shelter by emailing your comments to PED-ZoningCommitteeSecretary@ci.stpaul.mn.us by noon on February 24, or by testifying during the meeting (previously submitted comments will be included in the public record for the upcoming public hearing). The Zoning Committee’s recommendation will go to the Planning Commission for a vote on Friday, March 5. Pending approvals, the proposed family shelter could open in March.
February 15th, 2021
We have exciting updates from two St. Joseph Workers – both are currently working as nurses.
Just one year ago I was living in Boston, completing an accelerated Registered Nurse degree program, and planning a much-anticipated trip to Berlin to visit another SJW, Rachel! As can be imagined, the trip sadly didn’t happen, but this year certainly delivered adventure. My husband Ben and I decided to move to Stillwater, MN in June and have since found joy through canoe rides on the St Croix River, beaver watching at William O’Brien State Park, and being a quick drive away from family and friends. I’ve been working as a home care nurse for Lakeview Hospital for the past 7 months, serving patients in the St Croix River Valley. It’s been a wild and fulfilling role. My greatest challenge in this work, as it has been for most people living through this pandemic, has been to remain pliable yet decisive amidst a steady flow of new experiences. I continue to feel grateful for the many opportunities for reflection and change over the past year as well as the people who hold me accountable for intentional actions. Looking forward, I’m eager to root deeper into my communities, work on not falling down hills on cross country skis, and dive into a new hobby of beekeeping!
Meg (Kenknight) Grzesiak
I was an SJW ‘09-‘10 at the Joseph house at Franklin and Portland in Minneapolis. Following my SJW year I eventually went to nursing school and now I serve as a public health nurse for the local public health department in Madison, Wisconsin for about the last 5 years. I provide tuberculosis nursing care and immunizations to the public (though not the Covid vaccine yet!) All of us in public health are working very hard to provide much needed health services as well as get control of the covid pandemic locally. My colleagues are busy contact tracing and vaccinating at mass clinic sites to end one of the newest diseases, while my team and I continue forward in our fight against centuries-old TB.
Personally, I have a small update: my son William was born into a weary world June 2020. He’s a sign of hope though, and I look forward to a more healthy and equitable world.
February 8th, 2021
Ash Wednesday is February 17 and as we approach the season of Lent, we offer the below prayer.
O God of Every New Day,
You offer us the gift of Lent …
You teach us that this time is not about guilt.
You teach us that this Lent is about awareness.
This year, in a very singular way
you have gifted us with a great pause…
that we may notice what and who is all around us,
reflect and assess our present course,
discern what it is you call of us to,
right here, and right now.
Make us aware…
Aware of the voices we have been ignoring
Aware of the choices we have made
that have damaged or hurt your cause
Aware of your presence in those
we would sometimes choose to avoid.
Teach us to learn from our past,
to listen to your future,
to sing glad songs of love and hope,
knowing you are with us
throughout this sacred season. Amen.
February 2nd, 2021
We join the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, in praying for peace after witnessing the violence and terrorism yesterday in our nation’s Capitol. We are deeply concerned about the state of our country and the future of our democracy. Review the entire statement from the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
We invite our entire CSJ Community and all to join us in a Prayer of Lament for our nation.
January 7th, 2021
When it comes to Christmas, Las Vegas Raiders linebacker, James Onwualu hasn’t forgotten his St. Paul roots. The Cretin-Derham Hall graduate recently worked with the foundation Beyond The Basics, Inc. and others who surprised four local families with up to $800 in Amazon gift cards to help navigate the global pandemic during the holiday season.
“I hope this gift can take some of the pressure off of these parents that have already been working so hard and allow them to really enjoy this holiday season with their families,” said Onwualu.
The families are all patients of St. Paul’s St. Mary’s Health Clinics (SMHC) that provides primary care to uninsured persons who have no other source of healthcare and are not eligible for subsidized healthcare coverage. “The recipients were chosen because they had a very hard year filled with chronic issues including COVID and difficult personal and family situations,” said Christina Flood- Urdangarin, SMHC Outreach manager. “I’d like to thank James and his family for making this happen, for thinking of us, and giving the opportunity to help Latino families. It is a blessing.”
This outreach to four St. Paul families was part of “A December To Remember” initiated by New England Patriots Linebacker Brandon Copeland’s foundation in partnership with Amazon, 19 other current and former NFL players, The NFL Foundation and Zebra Technologies, Beyond The Basics, Inc.
St. Mary’s Health Clinics (SMHC) provide primary care to uninsured persons who have no other source of healthcare and are not eligible for subsidized healthcare coverage. A ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, its model is volunteer based—there are no paid providers and even the medical director is a volunteer; many volunteers are retired from clinical practice. Clinics are held in donated spaces in the community, primarily in schools and churches and with support from the major local health care systems. Many of its patients have chronic health problems including diabetes and hypertension that are typically addressed at Twin Cities-wide in-person SMHC clinics.
Beyond The Basics, Inc., established in 2017 by Brandon and Taylor Copeland, is an award-winning non-profit organization focused on empowering young people to maximize their potential by exposing them to enriching experiences. Beyond The Basics coordinates significant annual community initiatives focused on youth empowerment across the country, such as BTB Youth Football Camp, A December To Remember Holiday Shopping Spree, COVID-19 Food Initiative and Growth Through Golf.
Christina Urdangarin-Flood, SMHC Outreach manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-287-7767
Ann Thompson, email@example.com, 651-592-3900
December 24th, 2020
On December 21, there was a Town Hall meeting regarding the use of our Provincial House as part of Interfaith Action’s Project Home program. More information, a recording of the meeting and the presentation can be found on the Ramsey County Housing Stability webpage (see the “Project Home at the Provincial House” section).
FAQs regarding the project will be available soon.
December 22nd, 2020
Twin Cities Business recognized our own Susan Gehlsen, Executive Director of St. Mary’s Health Clinics, as one of TCB’s 2020 Notable Heroes in Health Care. The Heroes in Health Care are profiled in the special editorial December/January issue of Twin Cities Business. These individuals are recognized for going above and beyond; serving as role models, driving change and innovation, and developing solutions that improve the lives of those in our community. The Notable series honors the best-of-the-best across a range of industries. The profiled leaders were nominated by their professional and community peers. Congratulations Sue and all at St. Mary’s Health Clinics!
View the issue here (the feature is on page 78, the related congratulations is on page 85).
December 16th, 2020
Ramsey County, Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are exploring an opportunity to use the Provincial House at 1880 Randolph Avenue in Saint Paul (part of the Sisters’ campus, building photo featured to the left) for safe shelter for families with children experiencing homelessness. The building served as offices and a residence for the Sisters for nearly 100 years and has been underutilized since 2010.
The Sisters would lease the site to Interfaith Action, which anticipates it would serve approximately 20 families through its Project Home program. Project Home serves families with minor children, with nearly 90% of children under the age of 12. With support from Ramsey County, Project Home at the Provincial House would help address the significant waiting list for shelter, which is expected to grow when the eviction ban is rescinded.
As a first step in the exploration process, the community will be invited to two town hall meetings from 5 – 6:30 p.m. on December 21 and January 5. Meeting information was just posted on the Ramsey County website.
The Sisters believe this arrangement aligns with our long history of caring for the “dear neighbor” and our pursuit of “moving always toward the profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.”
“We are very sensitive to the impact this decision may have on those who live and work on our CSJ campus and our dear neighbors whom we deeply value and respect,” said the Sisters’ Leadership Team. “We look forward to working with our neighbors who have been open and supportive of our work serving our dear neighbor here in St. Paul. It seems particularly fitting during this Advent as we recall the Holy Family who was in need of a home.”
Also, see these related articles from the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, and a video from Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul detailing their Project Home Overview 2020.
December 15th, 2020
Forty years after their brutal murders on Dec. 2, 1980, we remember the lives, loving service and tragic deaths of four American churchwomen, Ursuline Sr. Dorothy Kazel, Maryknoll Srs. Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, and lay missioner Jean Donovan, murdered in El Salvador. We encourage you to attend upcoming prayer services, vigils and online events. Resources and more information can be found in this Global Sisters Report article.
November 26th, 2020
From our Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Congregation (also, see this related opportunity from Catholic Mobilizing Network):
With the continued and increased use of the death penalty, we the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are impelled to boldly oppose the use of the death penalty and end “the cycle of violence perpetuated by the death penalty.” In this stance, we look to the way of mercy and forgiveness exemplified by Jesus’ own life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and our CSJ charism. As a congregation of religious women of the great love of God, we value “respect for the sanctity of human life, the protection of human life,” and the sanctity of all life.
Pope Francis calls the use of the death penalty an attack on the dignity of the person and deems capital punishment “inadmissible” in all cases. These words are reflected in the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, which the Vatican updated in 2018.
This issue of capital punishment “challenges our consciences and requires us to act.” Understanding that the death penalty does not provide easy or simple solutions, we continue, as we have for decades, our opposition to the death penalty. Our community, with our partners in mission, has long ministered to and advocated for our siblings on death row including praying, visiting, and writing personal letters.
Enlivened by our charism to move always toward the profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction, we recommit to peace, nonviolence, and upholding the sanctity of all life. As a community, we reaffirm our opposition by committing to action to end the use of the death penalty locally and nationally.
November 6th, 2020