Sister Colleen Michelle Gibson, S.S.J., professed final vows as a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia last month during a liturgy in St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart Chapel at Mount St. Joseph Convent in Chestnut Hill.
Hundreds of sisters, family members, associates, partners in mission and friends gathered for the liturgy Sept. 15 celebrated by Augustinian Father Kevin DePrinzio. Sister Eileen Marnien, S.S.J., congregational vice president, welcomed the guests.
Sister Maureen G. Erdlen, S.S.J., congregational president, and Sister Marcella Springer, S.S.J., formation director, accompanied Sister Colleen, who vowed to live her life in chastity, poverty and obedience according to the Constitutions of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia.
“Today, I rejoice as I make my perpetual profession as a Sister of St. Joseph,” said Sister Colleen. “This is all I ever wanted — to be in union with God — one in love, as our congregational ring is inscribed. And with this ring, I give to God and to this congregation the cycle of my days. How good it is to be ‘One in Love!’”
Sister Colleen is a native parishioner of St. Joseph Parish in East Millstone, N.J., in the Metuchen Diocese. She attended public elementary and high school in Hillsborough Township, N.J. and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut in 2009 and was the class valedictorian.
She serves as coordinator of services and social media with the SSJ Neighborhood Center in Camden, N.J.
She was a 2018 Catholic Press Association award recipient for her work as one of the writers of the “Young Voices” blog for the National Catholic Reporter. Sister Colleen and team won first place for “Best Blog: layperson.” The Awards Committee commended the blog for their “focus on issues facing America’s youth” including topics such as racism, women’s rights issues and drug addiction.
As she professed final vows with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Sister Colleen gave thanks “for my parents who by their love and tender care have fostered in me a love of God and neighbor without distinction,” she said. “I offer my immense gratitude to this community of faithful women with whom I journey. Today, I commit myself not only to God but to this congregation. Thank you, sisters, for your presence, your faithfulness, and your example.
“I give thanks to God for this day and for my life. May all that I am and all that I do depend solely on God; may I live out this ‘yes’ each day, making my life an Amen to the love of God that has called me to be exactly who I was created to be; and may the God who has begun this good work in me/us see it to completion.”
Sister Maureen, the head of the congregation, said the occasion “was truly a joy-filled day for all of us as we participated in the vow celebration of Sister Colleen Gibson. Her courageous commitment inspires each one of us to recall and rekindle the desire to follow and respond to God’s call within our own hearts. She gives us hope for the future and reminds us that we are ‘… consecrated and sent forth among all people as Sisters of St. Joseph.’”
The Sisters of St. Joseph, based in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill section, consists of approximately 665 women religious who minister in 14 states, tracing their roots from LePuy, France (1650) and arriving in Philadelphia in 1847. Their response to the needs of the people of God is characterized by a cordial and hospitable spirit, a willing heart ready for any good work, a quiet sense of hiddenness, coupled with a desire to serve to the best of our ability.
The congregation’s sponsored works include Academy Village, Bethlehem Village, Cecilian Village, Chestnut Hill College, Mount St. Joseph Academy, Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, St. Joseph Villa; St. Joseph Village; St. Mary by-the-Sea Retreat House, SSJ Earth Center, SSJ Neighborhood Center and the SSJ Welcome Center.
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