My Life is Changed for the Better
Contributor:Laurie Ciarello, the newest associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry
She also is a Eucharistic minister and lector. So, you would think she has an abundance of Catholic influence in her life. But Laurie saw another opportunity to deepen her faith even further when she was introduced to a group of CSJ Associates.
Now Laurie is the newest member of the Sister of St. Joseph of Chambéry Associates, joining a group of 83 lay people known as CSJ Associates who serve as an extension of the congregation as they embrace the same spirituality and charism as the Sisters.
“Since I met the Sisters and Associates I have been inspired to pray more and give more help to others in need,” Laurie says. “I feel an increase in my own knowledge and spirituality… I am pleased and blessed to continue to share the charism of the Sisters and Associates by being the best person I can be with the gifts God gave me.”
CSJ Associates support Sisters’ ability to further their mission and join them in responding to such modern challenges as immigration reform, anti-violence efforts, easing oppression, stopping abuse, and fighting hunger, injustice and homelessness through hands-on ministry, activism and prayer.
Associates also organize social activities with Sisters, such as monthly Bingo sessions at the Sedgwick Cedars Residence on Park Road in West Hartford.
Members of CSJ Associates are men and women, married and single, primarily Catholic, who seek a deeper relationship with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry without becoming vowed members. Associates share in the faith, ministry, prayer and celebrations of our Sisters.
While they maintain their own lifestyles and work - as spouses, professionals, parents, caregivers and retirees - CSJ Associates align themselves with the good works and spirit of the community. Through regular association and prayer experiences among themselves and with our Sisters, they grow in their own vocation to reflect God’s compassion and love in their homes, places of work, parishes and civic communities.
As Associates, they join Sisters in helping to tend to the “needs of the day,” whether that be attending a rally, seminar or prayer session to advocate for a social justice issue, or engage with retired Sisters. With Sisters, Associates can help create positive change in our society while serving the “dear neighbor.”
Associates may form themselves into small geographically close groups to conveniently meet, share, pray and reflect with one another. A five-person Associate Leadership Team coordinates CSJ Associate activities. Today there are CSJ Associate groups in West Hartford, Meriden and Waterbury, Conn., and an Associate group in Fairbanks, Ala.
Shortly after Laurie was introduced to the group by a Waterbury Associate, she made the commitment to join. Over the course of a year, she attended multiple orientation sessions to deepen her knowledge of CSJ charism, spirituality, mission, ministries and history.
“My parish family has been very supportive of my commitment as well as my immediate family,” Laurie said. “They made me feel proud that I was joining this special group of Sisters and Associates.”
Last summer she was formally received into the CSJ Associates with a ceremony and Mass. Her family, her pastor and many Sisters and Associates attended the celebration.
“Being an Associate has changed my life for the better because I have met such wonderful, spiritual and loving people,” she said. “I feel blessed and honored to be part of this group. I love how we are prayerful and continue to strengthen our spiritual lives so we can teach others.”
For more on the CSJ Associates, click here: https://sistersofsaintjoseph.org/new/sistersofsaintjoseph.php