Cleveland Jubilarians – 2019 – Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Cleveland Jubilarians – 2019

Sister Mary Ann Lavelle, CSJ

(Sister Mary Ellen)

75 years

Sister Mary Ann Lavelle was one of thirteen children born to Michael and Maud Kilbane Lavelle. She attended high school at St. Therese Academy and Saint Joseph Academy in Cleveland, and college at St. John College in Cleveland where she earned a B.S. degree in Education. She entered religious life on December 8, 1943, from St. Patrick Parish in the Westpark neighborhood of Cleveland. During her long career in education, she taught at schools throughout the diocese including St. Aloysius (Cleveland), St. Mary (Berea), St. Angela Merici (Fairview Park), Our Lady of Angels (Cleveland), St. John (Lorain), St. Brendan (North Olmsted), St. Colman (Cleveland), Assumption (Brookpark), St. Vincent de Paul (Elyria), St. Bartholomew (Middleburg Hts.), and St. Clement (Lakewood). She also taught at Our Lady of Grace in Encino, CA, from 1952-1954, and served as a teacher and principal of Lorain County Catholic Day Care Center from 1979-1983. In 2003, Sister Mary Ann began a new ministry when she became the director of the CSJ Prayer Line. She enjoyed talking with people who depended on the prayers of the sisters and considers her time spent there to be a gift. This year, she moved into the new center where she is active in prayer ministry.

“Seventy years of journeying with the Lord as a Sister of St. Joseph is a reminder of my constant thanksgiving – a song of perpetual praise for all God has done with me, in me, and continues to do for me.”


Sister Patricia Finn, CSJ

(Sister Marilyn)

70 years

Sister Pat Finn entered the Congregation of St. Joseph on February 2, 1949, from St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Cleveland. She spent her long career in the ministry of education teaching at St. Ignatius (Cleveland), St. Mary (Berea), Saint Joseph Academy (Cleveland), and Cleveland Central Catholic High School. She served at various times as teacher, assistant principal, and principal. After retiring from teaching, Sister Pat joined the team in the archives at the Cleveland center, where she loved working with the history of the sisters and community. She recently moved into the new center to begin the next chapter of her life.

“As a CSJ, my life has been filled with many experiences and a lot of change, all moving me forward to a richer and fuller life. I spent 52 years in education and I loved it. I met many wonderful colleagues and friends from a variety of schools, committees, boards and communities. For this 70th Jubilee, I want to celebrate the faith that began in my family, grew in my life in the CSJ community, and continued in all the place I have served. I had the privilege of working with so many dedicated teachers, students and staff and have been supported all the way by the CSJ community. I have been strengthened by God’s constant love and presence in my life, and by those with whom I have journeyed.”


Sister Dorothy Turk, CSJ

(Sister Mary Rosarie)

70 years

Sister Dorothy Turk entered religious life on September 8, 1948, from St. Vitus Parish in Cleveland. She taught elementary school for many years at schools throughout the diocese including St. Clement in Lakewood, St. Wenceslas in Maple Hts., St. Francis de Sales in Akron, Immaculate Conception in Cleveland, and Immaculate Conception in Akron. She also served as a volunteer in Appalachia, a pastoral minister, mission director, and parochial coordinator for Risen Lord Catholic Church in West Virginia. After returning to Ohio, Sister Dorothy began a new ministry visiting the sick and elderly of St. Augustine and Prince of Peace Parishes in Barberton, Ohio. In 2013, Sister Dorothy retired and moved back to Cleveland to reside at St. Joseph Center, volunteering and helping wherever needed. She especially loves working in the garden and caring for the beautiful plants, flowers and landscaping on the property. This year, she moved into the new center, and looks forward to once again working outdoors in the gardens.

My years as a Sister of St. Joseph have been filled with much gratitude and love for our Congregation. I am grateful to know so many wonderful sisters and to have lived with these gentle and humble companions in my many years of religious life. Being surrounded by the prayerfulness and apostolic zeal of the members of my religious community was one of the greatest gifts I have received. Along with them, I am happy to have shared in the teaching ministry in Catholic schools, in and out of state, in serving the poor in the hollows of Appalachia, and in visiting the sick and elderly persons in the parishes of our diocese. I thank God for having presented me with numerous opportunities where I could serve the ‘dear neighbor’. Our Generous Promises have also helped me to be more alert and to live more consciously in my service to others. Being ONE with the neighbor and with Earth is an invitation that will lead me to better witness a spirit of unity in our world. I am grateful to everyone who has been an inspiration to me, and I hope that I, too, will be a beacon of light as I continue my life as a religious in the Congregation of the Great Love of God.


Sister Karen Kirby, CSJ

50 Years

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Sister Karen Kirby was the last of nine children born to Florence and Thomas Kirby. She attended Saint Joseph Academy and earned her B. S. in Education from St. John College, both in Cleveland. After a year spent as a CSJ Associate, she officially entered the Congregation of St. Joseph on July 20, 1969, from St. Brendan Parish in Cleveland.

She began her teaching career in 1973 at St. John in Lorain, Ohio, and then taught at St. Peter, Akron; St. Thomas Aquinas, Cleveland; St. Thomas More, Brooklyn; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Cleveland; and St. Angela Merici, Fairview Park. After her many years teaching, sister went onto serve the community in 1993 by managing the WellSpring bookstore in Elyria, where she also served on the board of the South Elyria Neighborhood Development (SEND). In 2006, sister joined Pflaum Publishing Company as Religious Education Consultant. She then became the Adult Faith Formation Coordinator at St. Bernard parish in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 2008. In 2010, she joined the staff at Gesu parish in University Heights, Ohio, as Director of Religious Education.

Sister Karen currently serves on the Pastoral Care Team at Wheeling Hospital’s Continuous Care Center in Wheeling, West Virginia, where she also resides.

“In addition to my more formal ministries, some of my fondest experiences over the years have been contributing to and editing the second and third grade phonics texts for Modern Curriculum Press, assisting with the medical mission trip of Gesu parish to Honduras, volunteering in McAllen, Texas, and a pilgrimage to Le Puy, France, the birthplace of the Sisters of St. Joseph. I am ever grateful to the CSJ community and to God for the many opportunities I have had over the years and the wonderful people I have met along the way. I am blessed and humbled to be celebrating 50 years as a Sister of St. Joseph!”


Sister Carrie Vall, CSJ

25 Years

Sister Carrie Vall was one of seven children born to Robert and Patricia Vall in Cleveland. Soon after her birth, the family moved to South Euclid where they joined St. Paschal Baylon parish, which is where Carrie attended elementary school. She attended high school at Beaumont in Cleveland Heights, and Regina in South Euclid, and later college at Edinboro State University in Edinboro, PA, and Kent State University in Kent, OH, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1981. Carrie then moved to Baltimore, MD, where she worked as a Child Advocate for the Montrose Training Center from 1987-1988, and then as an aide at St. Elizabeth School, also in Baltimore, until 1989. That same year, Carrie moved back to the Cleveland area where she served the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a Habilitation Specialist at the Euclid Adult Activities Center in Euclid, OH, until 1994.

It was during this time that Carrie decided to enter religious life. She entered the Congregation of St. Joseph from St. Paschal Baylon parish in 1993, and began working as an artist for St. Joseph Wellness Center in Cleveland until 1997. She then served as an art teacher at Saint Joseph Academy until 2001, and professed final vows with the Congregation that same year. Sister Carrie then went back to school to earn a Masters degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, OH, in 2004. That year, Sister Carrie along with Sisters Felicia Petruziello, CSJ, and Patti Gentile, SND, opened the Women’s Outreach Center in Cleveland, where she ministered to homeless and formerly homeless women and utilized her art therapy training. The Women’s Outreach Center is a program of River’s Edge Spirituality Center, which is a sponsored ministry of the Congregation. During this time, Sister Carrie also provided art therapy services to New Life Community (now Family Promise of Greater Cleveland), and Welcome House, which she continues today. Sister Carrie also works on holistic retreats with a focus on art therapy and respite retreats with survivors of human trafficking.

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