The Twin Cities is on edge with yet another shooting by police of a black man. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Daunte Wright. Mr. Wright’s April 11, 2021 death exacerbates the pain, suffering, and frustration by our already on-edge community as we await the outcome of the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd last summer. This is a very difficult time for our deeply hurting community. We ask all who see this to join us in praying for justice and nonviolence.
April 14th, 2021
April 7, 2021
CSJ Statement on SCU’s MMA Report Findings
It is with continued sadness that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJs) reviewed St. Catherine University’s recent report pertaining to its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against composer David Haas as they related to the independent 501(c)(3) organization known as Music Ministry Alive! (MMA). As a community of women religious, the CSJs are acutely aware of and have great compassion for the devastation sexual abuse wields on victims, many of whom we serve through our various ministries. The Report was addressed in the April 7, 2021 Star Tribune article, “St. Kate’s inquiry finds claims against composer.”
We believe the Report’s findings and recommendations help clarify and address the tragic Haas allegations. We note its important conclusion that, “We did not find evidence that during MMA’s operation, MMA leadership, team members, interns or any St. Catherine University employees were made aware of the allegations of sexual abuse reported to Into Account (a Kanas City-based victims advocacy group) relating to MMA and the University.” Similarly, neither the CSJs nor their staff had any knowledge of the alleged abuse.
The Sisters of St. Joseph, a non-profit entity separate from St. Catherine University, did not sponsor nor were they associated with MMA. Upon learning of the allegations against Mr. Haas while working with MMA, CSJ Leadership reviewed its records and found that Carondelet Center, a CSJ host facility, rented limited space to MMA in 2012 and 2013. Some community members did attend MMA events. In the past, Mr. Haas provided periodic musical support for CSJ liturgies and rituals. The CSJs did not sponsor nor did we receive any reports of alleged related misconduct on our premises. In response to the allegations and the Report, CSJ Leadership will be reviewing its related operational policies to increase safeguards.
April 8th, 2021
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province, condemn all forms of violence, whether rooted in hate, ideology or discrimination. We are deeply appalled and overwhelmingly heartbroken that our country has witnessed seven mass shootings in seven days.
We grieve not only with our neighbors in Boulder, CO, and Atlanta, GA, but also with our neighbors in Stockton, CA; Gresham, OR, Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; and Philadelphia, PA. We mourn with and pray for those who have lost loved ones or have been injured due to acts of violence, those who live in fear, and those whose dignity has been diminished.
As the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, we are committed to working individually and collectively to better understand our own complicity. We support with our action, the recent statement by the St. Catherine University, that says, “Violence aimed at persons of Asian descent is unacceptable and must end. In order to end the violence, everyone must do their part. In many cases, we are unwitting supporters of the systems that contain tragic shortcomings when it comes to treating each of us as equals. We must change this, starting with ourselves. Recognize, call out and stand against instances of terrorism, racist violence, hate crimes, and acts of white supremacy wherever you see them.”
March 27th, 2021
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