The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace have always had a missionary component. We were first founded by Irish sisters who left their homeland to serve in the missions in the United States, England, and Canada.
In 1890 two Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Teresa and Stanislaus, made their way by train from New Jersey to Bellingham, Washington, to start the town's first hospital. They begged in mines and lumber camps, and within a year had raised enough money to build St. Joseph Hospital. These courageous women were the pioneers of the Western region of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace and certainly were missionaries in the true sense.
Later, sisters went to the Philippines where they served in a hospital, a dispensary, and two high schools, and Africa, where they taught in educational facilities from nursery school to diocesan seminaries. More recently, one of our nurse-sisters ministered in Rwanda with people living with HIV/AIDS. Other sisters worked with Catholic Relief Services in Vietnam and Maryknoll in Chile.
Today our sisters and associates minister in Haiti and Guatemala and the congregation sponsors a health mission in El Salvador.
The 125th Anniversary Project of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace was officially launched October 5, 2009 with the arrival of Sisters Maureen Boggins, CSJP, Ann Crawley, CSJP, and Marilee Murphy, CSJP at Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Milot, Haiti. The hospital was founded by Sacred Heart brothers in the 1960's and today is sponsored by CRUDEM Foundation which requested the sisters' presence. The sisters in Haiti truly were sent at a poignant time in the history of Haiti. They were personally involved in aiding the people of Haiti who have been so affected by the earthquake which rocked the country in January 2010. Learn more about our CSJP mission presence in Haiti.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace first lived and worked with Salvadoran refugees in the mid-1980s—in time of civil war—and have continued this mission through natural disasters and reconstruction. In January 2001 Sister Eleanor Gilmore, CSJP founded PazSalud, a health care mission in El Salvador, jointly administered by the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace and PeaceHealth.
Sheila McShane, a CSJP Associate, is a lay missionary and nurse, working in the Helena, Montana diocese Guatemala Mission since 2006. She had previously ministered for 17 years in the same mission. The parish clinic is located in the Mountainous region of Guatemala, serving the Mayan Indigenous population.
Sr. Sheila with Haitian school children.
"The important thing is that we remain open to God as he reveals himself to us in the circumstances of life and do everything possible to bring the body of his Son to completion."
Catherine O'Connor, CSJP