In 1988, two Sisters of St. Joseph, Joan Mitchell, CSJ, and Therese Sherlock, CSJ, founded Good Ground Press, a name that reflects our catechetical mission to sow the gospels in the good ground of people’s lives today. Jesus’ parable of the farmer and the seed identifies the seed with the Word of God. With our work we hope to prepare the “good ground” so that the seed may bear a crop a hundredfold.
Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.Mark 4
Good Ground Press publishes gospel-centered Catholic resources to draw people in to reflecting together, opening their faith lives to nourish one another, and sustaining one another in their commitments to the gospel work of mercy and justice.
Our catechetical methods reflect our spirituality. From our beginnings nearly 370 years ago, Sisters of St. Joseph have gathered in groups for “sharing of the heart.” In these groups sisters talk together about their experience, the needs they see, their worries and hopes, and about the proddings of the Spirit in their lives. Today we might call sharing of the heart by such names as faith sharing or transformative conversation. In our resources we hand on our spiritual practice of nourishing one another through reflecting, praying, and taking action together.
Our Sisters of St. Joseph Story
In 1650 the Sisters of St. Joseph began in pre-revolutionary France. We are the daughters of thousands of women who took up an apostolic mission rather than a monastic way of life. The first sisters moved into a house among the poor and aimed to live indistinguishably from other people. The streets were their convent; the works of mercy their divine office. They rolled up their sleeves to divide the city, serve the needs of their neighbors, and share community life.
In 1836 six Sisters of St. Joseph from France arrived in New Orleans, journeying up the Mississippi River to St. Louis and out its tributaries to spread across the United States and Canada. Our congregation takes its name from a village now part of St. Louis called Carondelet.
In 1851 four Sisters of St. Joseph traveled up the Mississippi to St. Paul by steamboat, planning to teach. Instead they rolled up their sleeves and responded to the needs of the times, starting the first hospital in the Minnesota Territory in response to a cholera epidemic.
Today, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have 1,000 sisters in four U.S. provinces — St. Paul, St. Louis, Albany, and Los Angeles — and three vice provinces — Hawaii, Japan, and Peru. In the past 25 years some 600 men and woman associates have joined the sisters in living our charism.