Students and staff from three sponsored works of the Sisters of Saint Joseph – Chestnut Hill College, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, and Norwood-Fontbonne Academy – came together on Friday, January 12 and participated in a prayer service, service projects, and related activities in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The prayer service took place on the Fontbonne Campus of Norwood-Fontbonne Academy (8900 Norwood Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118) from 9-10am and featured presidents from all three schools, including Dr. William W. Latimer of Chestnut Hill College, Sister Charlene Diorka, SSJ, of Mount Saint Joseph Academy, and Dr. Ryan Killeen of Norwood-Fontbonne Academy.
Following the prayer service, students and staff participated in “prayer partner” activities.
In the afternoon, students and staff from all three campuses participated in service projects in support of the Philadelphia chapter of Kids Against Hunger. This event took place in the SJAH Gym on the Norwood Campus (8891 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118) and The Commons on the Fontbonne Campus (8900 Norwood Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118).
Kids Against Hunger’s mission is to feed the hungry through food sharing, advocacy and engaging the community. Since its launch, Kids Against Hunger has provided millions of meals for children and their families in dozens of countries through the efforts of hundreds of thousands of volunteers.
"This was an exciting day for the Sponsored Ministries of the Sisters of Saint Joseph," said Dr. Killeen, who serves as the President of NFA and is also the Director of Sponsorship of The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia. "The legacy of Dr. King calls all of us to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in our one, global human family. Like Dr. King, we want to be people of conviction, putting our faith into action, in service to and relationship with our neighbor. It is beautiful to see our community come together today and deepen the relationships between the educational ministries of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Chestnut Hill College, and Norwood-Fontbonne Academy. I am so grateful to our entire team for planning and executing this day, uniting us with a common purpose so that all people may be united with God and one another. It is a day filled with joy, dedicated to our mission and building lifelong commitments to service"
“It was a pleasure to be part of this special day for the Sponsored Ministries of the Sisters of Saint Joseph," said Sister Charlene Diorka, SSJ, President, Mount Saint Joseph Academy. "Much like the mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph to bring all into unity with God, with one another, and with all creation, Dr. King believed in the power of coming together to create profound change and justice. At the Mount, we foster the belief that our students can live lives as agents of transformation and we saw that in action today as they served the dear neighbor and deepened the bonds between our institutions in the name of caring for our dear neighbors in need.”
"Chestnut Hill College is blessed to be taking part in MLK Day of Service, alongside our friends at Norwood Fontbonne and Mount St. Joseph Academy," says William W. Latimer, Ph.D., MPH, President of Chestnut Hill College. "Today and every day, we share in the mission and charism of our founders, the Sisters of Saint Joseph, as we look to be 'ready for any good work' and to serve the Dear Neighbor, without distinction at home and abroad. As we remember the life and work of the great Dr. King, I can think of no better way to spend this day of service than with other SSJ sponsored ministries in support of Kids Against Hunger, a truly wonderful organization."
In addition to Chestnut Hill College, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, and Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, the Sisters of Saint Joseph have also sponsored social justice initiatives like The Welcome Center in Kensington and The Neighborhood Center in Camden. The Sisters of Saint Joseph arrived in Philadelphia in 1847 and soon had works in various locations, including Center City Philadelphia, Pottsville, and McSherrystown, PA. In August 1858, at the urging of Bishop (Saint) John Neumann, they moved their Motherhouse from McSherrystown to Chestnut Hill.
ABOUT CHESTNUT HILL COLLEGE: Chestnut Hill College is a private Catholic college in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1924 as a women's college by the Sisters of St. Joseph.
ABOUT MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH ACADEMY: Established at Chestnut Hill in 1858, Mount Saint Joseph Academy is a private, Catholic school for young women in grades 9 through 12 sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, offering a college preparatory education in a Catholic tradition and context.
ABOUT NORWOOD-FONTBONNE ACADEMY: Established in Chestnut Hill in 1920, Norwood-Fontbonne is the leading independent Catholic academy for preschool to eighth grade students in the Philadelphia area and is sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. NFA offers a dual academic path in M