Copyright©2008. Congregation of Saint Joseph.
Sister Judy Cole, CSJ
(formerly Sister Mary St Jude)
Sister Judy entered religious life on September 8, 1955, from St. Ignatius Parish in Cleveland, Ohio. Her ministry has been primarily in education and spiritual direction where she has a rich history. Sister started out teaching elementary school at parishes including St. Clement (Lakewood), St. Bridget (Parma), and St. Vincent de Paul (Cleveland). After 11 years of teaching, Sister Judy transitioned to a new position - Director of Religious Education at St. Anthony of Padua Parish (Parma), where she worked for 6 years. She then went on to Immaculate Conception Parish (Madison) where she served as Pastoral Minister for 5 years, and later to the Diocese of Cleveland where she worked in the Permanent Diaconate Office for 5 years. Sister then accepted a position as Spiritual Director/Retreat Director at Loyola of the Lakes Retreat House, where she served for 2 years. This position helped to prepare her for her current ministry – Spiritual Direction and Retreat ministry at River’s Edge at St. Joseph Center.
“Ceremonies are how we remember to remember. As we gather for our Jubilee celebrations, I am remembering my parent's and my brothers' YES to my YES to religious life sixty years ago and the YES I have said every morning upon rising. Some of those YESES have been delightful, some exciting. Others have been hard, spoken through tears, painful. All were freely prayed. YES is what I am remembering as I celebrate the Beloved's YES to us.”
Sister Jeanne Cmolik, CSJ
Sister Jeanne entered religious life on September 1, 1965 from St. Frances de Sales parish in Parma, Ohio. She started out teaching at St. Rose Elementary School (Cleveland) in 1970. In 1973, she began teaching at Annunciation (Cleveland) and later became an administrator and did parish work. In 1979, Sister came home to Saint Joseph Academy where she was a teacher and a Spiritual Services Director from 1979-1984. After 14 years of teaching, Sister Jeanne transitioned to a new position - Director of New Members for the Congregation of Saint Joseph. In 1989, she was elected to the Congregation’s Leadership Team for a 5-year term. In 1994, she then accepted the position of Director of Religious Education at St. Christopher (Rocky River) where she stayed until 2004. At this point, the Congregation of Saint Joseph was considering joining with other congregation’s of Sisters of St. Joseph, and Sister Jeanne served on Cleveland Leadership Team (2004-2007) and then on the Interim Leadership Team, which helped make this reconfiguration a reality. She was then elected to the first Leadership Team of the new Congregation of Saint Joseph – a position she held from 2007-2013. Currently, Sister Jeanne serves as Director of New Members for the Congregation and coordinates RCIA at St. Christopher Parish.
“I was drawn to our Congregation because I saw joyful women, filled with love and zeal for the gospel, and I wanted to be part of that. Over the years, I have been blessed by living with and working with many wonderful women in our community who have loved me and inspired me. I want to celebrate all that love.”
Sister Nancy Conway, CSJ
(formerly Sister Mary Lia)
Nancy entered religious life on January 26, 1966, from Ascension Parish in Cleveland, Ohio. She started out teaching at St. Rose Elementary School (Cleveland) in 1970. In 1971, she began teaching at Saint Joseph Academy where she taught Spanish from 1971-1978. After 8 years of teaching, she transitioned to a new role within the Congregation of Saint Joseph administration – Coordinator of Research and Development, where she stayed for four years. She then pursued a Masters Degree in Social Work and served as the Interim Director for Woman Space—a resource center for women in the Cleveland area. She then served as a patient advocate for women receiving care from the Maternity and Infant Care Program at Metro Health Medical Center, a position she held for 2 years. In 1984, Nancy was elected to the Leadership Team of the founding congregation of Cleveland and served in that role for 5-years. She received a PhD in Organizational Development and with Jean Alvarez, Ed D, created the consulting and facilitation firm, Organizational Leadership, Inc., which over 27 years, served over 130 religious congregations of women. During the years that the Congregation of Saint Joseph was considering joining with 6 other congregations of Sisters of St. Joseph to create one new congregation, Nancy served on several committees. Once the Congregation of St. Joseph became a reality in 2007, Nancy was elected to the first Leadership Team of the new Congregation of Saint Joseph – a position she still holds after being re-elected in 2013.
“As a CSJ, my life has been filled with wonderful people, exciting ministry opportunities and great companions on the journey. I am very grateful for “all the love I have known” because I am a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. My life right now is full of the many and varied activities of being a member of the Congregation Leadership Team—an experience I have greatly enjoyed for the past 9 years.”
Sister Joyce Joecken, CSJ
Sister Joyce entered religious life on September 1, 1965, from Holy Family Parish in Parma, Ohio. She started teaching elementary school at Our Lady of Angels (Cleveland) in 1965, and then taught at various parishes for the next ten years including St. Colman (Cleveland), St. Columbkille (Parma), St. Bridget (Parma), and St. Joseph (Strongsville) where she then became Director of Religious Education. In 1976, Sister Joyce transitioned to a new role within the Congregation of Saint Joseph administration – Director of Formation, where she served for five years. She then served as Pastoral Associate at St. Martin of Tours (Maple Heights) until 1994, as Pastoral Associate at St. Leo (Cleveland) until 1998, and then began a Pastoral Care Residency with the Cleveland Clinic until 1999. Sister then returned to St. Joseph Center where she served as Liturgy Coordinator for two years, while serving as Chaplain at The Welsh Home (Rocky River) until 2004. For the past fifteen years until her recent retirement Sister Joyce continued her ministry in health care serving as the Director of Spiritual Care for the Altercare Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers (Ohio and Michigan). She looks forward to new ministry opportunities in the future.
“As I reflect on these years I am especially grateful for the gift of each day with its opportunities for growth in wisdom, compassion, and Unioning Love. Being a member of the Congregation has blessed my days in countless ways that I never would have imagined 50 years ago. And now with much joy and gratitude I stand within the circle of the Congregation, my family and friends and look toward the future giving “thanks for unknown blessings already on the way.”
Sister Kathy Thomas, CSJ
Sister Kathy entered the Congregation on Sept. 7, 1966, from dual membership in St. Mark Parish and St. Maron Parish, both in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from St. John College in 1970 with a B.S. Ed, and then taught at St. John Parish, Lorain for three years. She then accepted a position at St. Joseph, Strongsville, and taught there for four years. During that time, she began a Masters’ Program at University of Akron, and in 1978, moved to Akron to complete her M.S. Ed. while serving as Director of Religious Education at Immaculate Conception. She was then hired as Principal of the newly established SS. Joseph & John Interparochial School, where she served until 1982. Feeling a call to serve in Pastoral Ministry, she accepted a position at St. John Vianney Parish in Mentor. While serving there, the parish began the National RENEW Program, and she was asked to accept a position with the Diocese of Cleveland as Director of RENEW, a position she held until 1989, when she was elected as a member of the CSJ Leadership Team for a five year term. While serving on the Leadership Team, she completed Certification in Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve, and at the completion of her term, was hired as Assistant Director of Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford where she served until 1998, when she was asked by the Congregation to establish a new Conference Center (now, River’s Edge). In 2002, she returned to her position at Light of Hearts Villa until 2005. Following an opportunity for a sabbatical, she became Pastoral Minister at St. Clement Parish in Lakewood. With a desire to return to work with seniors, she accepted a position in 2009 from National Church Residences as Service Coordinator at Colman Court Senior Apartments, and served in that position for five years. At the present time, she is overseeing the care of her mother and seeking opportunities to work with the growing refugee population in the Cleveland area.
“When I entered the Congregation of St. Joseph fifty years ago, my family thought I would be isolated from them and from the world. Thanks to the 2nd Vatican Council and to the visionary leaders of our Congregation who embraced change, our lives and our ministries became far more connected with each other and our world than we could ever have imagined. As I reflect on these fifty years, I’m deeply grateful to our members who have gone before us, and to those with whom I stand today, for the vision, courage and compassion that continue to move us to live and serve with integrity and grace in this twenty-first century. We are truly challenged to live the Gospel in new ways and in new venues, with the same hope, ‘that all may be one.’”
Sister Jan Henniger, CSJ
Sister Jan entered religious life on September 29, 1991, from Immaculate Conception Parish in Akron, Ohio. Her ministry has been primarily in computers and technology, and in serving the CSJ community in a variety of ways. Her first job was as a computer operator at Babcock & Wilcox (Barberton), a position she held from 1969-1987. Sister then worked in data entry for Tenk Machine (Cleveland) for two years, and as a secretary at St. Joseph Center for one year. In 1992, Sister Jan transitioned to a new role as a Nurse’ Aide at Regina Health Center (Richfield), where she served until 1998. Sister then began serving in CSJ Administration in many capacities including Development, Computer Services, Donations and as Coordinator of Community Vehicles. She was also the Liaison with Regina Health Center for many years. Currently, Sister Jan is an Administrative Assistant for CSJ Administration.
“I cannot imagine my life in any other way except as a Sister of St. Joseph. Being, living, working, companioning with other Sisters and Associates gives me a joy of helping the ‘dear neighbor’ and asking myself ‘what would Jesus do?’ I am grateful for all of the experiences that I have had as a Sister of St. Joseph and the opportunities to be one with others. We are all one!”