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Carmelites elect new Prioress to serve three-year term

Nuns at the Carmelite Monastery in Sioux City on Oct. 8 elected Sister Joseph of Jesus as the community’s new Prioress. Mother Joseph will serve a three-year term. The previous Prioress, Mother Kateri Marie, had served in this capacity for the past three terms.

Father Bonaventure Sauer, OCD, Vicar for the Carmelite Nuns in the Oklahoma Province, presided at the election. The community also elected the Counselors who will assist the Prioress. Sister Kateri Marie is the First Counselor, Sister Jeanne Marie is the Second Counselor and the Third Counselor is Sister Mary John.

“I feel very humbled that the sisters have entrusted me with the office of prioress, and of course it is a privilege for me to serve the community in this capacity,” Mother Joseph said.  “Now I must admit that my first reaction was a sense of feeling totally overwhelmed.  But really it is God who does everything in us and gives us the grace to carry out all that he asks of us in his loving will.  We firmly believe one receives the ‘grace of the office’ which I have already felt throughout these first weeks.  We are just His instruments -- or as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta says, ‘His little pencil’ that He can write with.”  

Previously she had served as the first councilor, or subprioress, and in that position she worked closely with the then prioress, Mother Kateri Marie, who herself admits to experiencing a great deal of support and love from the community.

Mother Joseph commented on her vocation.

“I love being a Carmelite Nun. I wish I had entered when I was younger. Why shouldn't I enjoy being a Carmelite nun?  It is such a beautiful privilege and joy to live in God's house, under the same roof where the Eucharistic Presence dwells, living a life that enables me the time for prayer -- being alone with Him who we know loves us -- for time to just ‘be’ with God loving him,” she said. “And it is a joy to know that my life can make a difference in the lives of so many others who entrust their intentions to us.  It is a beautiful life, and I am in awe that God chose me among so many others.”

Mother Joseph said Jesus was her spouse.  She belongs to him and nothing will separate that.

“We were made to know, love and serve God and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.  And living a joyful life in community in sisterly charity, a life centered on love for the Lord -- a life of prayer and sacrifice in imitation of Jesus, who emptied himself -- is a great joy,” she said. “I have often thought that if young women only knew the joy and peace of living a life totally dedicated and committed to God -- seeking union with Him, being love in the heart of the Church, for souls, for the Church, and for our priests -- our monasteries would be filled.  Being a Carmelite Nun is a gift from God for which I am truly grateful.”                   

Mother Joseph of Jesus entered the Sioux City Carmel in 1991. She is a native of Massillon, Ohio.




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