By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
After serving for 22 years as the assistant director of the archdiocesan Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Sister Josephine Kase, I.H.M., is now serving the Church in upstate Pennsylvania at the I.H.M. House of Prayer in Nesquehoning, Diocese of Allentown.
“I am grateful to the Archdiocese for the opportunity to serve the Church of Philadelphia in this capacity,” she said of the more than two decades she has devoted to ecumenical and interreligious affairs. “I appreciate the leadership and support of the Church of Philadelphia. It’s been a privilege to work with the people of the Archdiocese.”
Sister Josephine noted in particular the numerous clergy, lay people in the parishes and those of other Christian and non-Christian faith traditions with whom she worked. “We shared a common vision of wanting to build bridges of understanding and harmony among spanerse cultures and traditions.
“It’s been a very enriching experience for me as I’ve been able to witness the deep faith convictions of people from other religious backgrounds,” Sister Josephine said.
She also has accolades for her religious order. “I have enjoyed the encouragement and support of my congregation in this work.”
This past April, during the National Workshop on Christian Unity, the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers honored Sister Josephine by presenting her its annual James Fitzgerald Award for Ecumenism.
A native of Reading, Sister Josephine attended St. Joseph’s School and Reading Central Catholic High School before entering the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in West Chester in 1949. She made her final vows in 1955.
Before her work in ecumenical and interreligious affairs, Sister Josephine was a teacher in the dioceses of Harrisburg, Arlington, Va. and Philadelphia. Here, she taught at St. Dorothy in Drexel Hill, St. John the Baptist in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, Bishop Conwell High School in Levittown, West Philadelphia Catholic Girls’ High School, Archbishop Wood High School for Girls in Warminster and Immaculata College in Immaculata.
Sister Josephine concluded her work at the ecumenical and interreligious affairs office on Oct. 31, moving to the House of Prayer on Nov. 10. “It’s a ministry of prayer, presence and hospitality,” she said of the apostolate for those who have experienced a call to deepen their prayer life in a more contemplative setting for a period of time. “I’m looking forward to enjoying this particular kind of ministry,” she said.
Through her work in ecumenical and interreligious affairs, Sister Josephine gleaned many life lessons. “The most important attitude that we need to have in our approach to other people is a willingness to listen, talk, dialogue and share so that we get to know other people as persons and not just a label as part of a group….
“I would hope that the Catholics of the Archdiocese would appreciate how important the Catholic Church’s teaching and leadership hold ecumenical and interfaith relations. It is such a priority. Our popes and bishops have shown us the importance of being open to other people if we are going to build a better and more peaceful world.”
CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.