Skip to main content


October 2018 Do you like to look at old photos? Most of us do, even though the quality of the photos may have faded over time. Here I am at about age 11 or 12 standing with my Mother and my sister Barbara's mother-in-law, Mrs. Leila Ponce, in Mrs. Ponce's front yard in north Jacksonville. My Mother, Grace Stovall, is holding my first nephew and her first grandson, Patrick Ponce, in her arms following his baptism, I believe. This was around 1960 or 1961. See the old cars behind us?

My nephew had to find a copy of his baptismal certificate recently because he plans to get married in April in a Catholic church up in North Carolina. He was baptized in our home parish, Holy Rosary, in Jacksonville. At this time I was a student at Holy Rosary School. My parents allowed me to go there after it opened, which for me was when I was entering fourth grade. My first teacher in Catholic school was Sister Philip Neri, an Irish Sister of St. Joseph who died tragically in an automobile crash.

Recent posts
August 2018
What does it mean to live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Sister of St. Joseph today? How do we explain the evangelical counsels to others?  On Aug. 2-5 a meeting was held in Chicago of the CSSJ (Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph) Into the Future Collaborative entitled "Self-Emptying Love: Living the Vows for Our Times." Four Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine attended: Ss. Diane Couture, Mary Kuester, Rosa Lopez and Carol Stovall. The gathering was held at the Felician Sisters central convent in a suburb of Chicago.
Sisters Diane Couture and Mary Kuester in front of Felician convent, Chicago.

Sister Mary Pellegrino, from Baden, Pennsylvania, spoke on the vow of obedience. In the reign of God , she said, the way things are is that all belong, all have what they need, all are loved and all are free. Religious life is called to model life in the reign of God.  She began by explaining the root of the word obedience is "to listen.&qu…
Summer in St. Augustine is full of concerts, Fourth of July fireworks, and hot and muggy weather with the occasional thunderstorm. Many take their vacations in July to enjoy the beach or the mountains or some other relaxing locale.
Here at the Motherhouse, we are preparing to welcome a new sister as part of the local community in mid-July and then a new sister as our new General Superior who is also part of the Motherhouse community the last weekend in July. Our current General Superior, Sister Jane Stoecker, will be moving across the street  in late July to become director of our newly-named St. Joseph Renewal Center (the former Villa Flora-Brown Hall Renewal Center). She will reside there with another sister, S. Florence Bryan, who is arriving in August.
Vacations are an opportunity to remember that we are human beings, not human "doings" and that we need time away from work sometimes to reflect on our lives and our relationships. Time to "re-create" ourselves. …
April went by in a bit of a blur at the Motherhouse due to the Chapter of Affairs and Chapter of Elections being held here April 2-7 and the annual Associates Gathering  also held at the Motherhouse on April 28. The temperatures in St. Augustine were pleasant and humidity remained low, so there were very few April showers to water the lawn and flowers. The day lilies began to bloom on April 2nd and some are still blooming. The Easter lilies waited until May to start blooming. The hydrangeas still have buds but no real blooms yet, but soon.

Our work on the Chapter Planning Committee finished on April 5th. The newly elected leadership team of the Congregation will be installed on July 31st, the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, in the Motherhouse chapel. The new General Superior is Sister Kathleen Carr. Councilors are Sisters Ann Kuhn, Suzan Foster, Stephanie Flynn,and myself, Carol Stovall,
Change is in the air at the Motherhouse complex. Sister Jane Stoecker will leave office as General Sup…
March  March 19th is the feast of St. Joseph Spouse of Mary.  St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ and spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the patron of the Sisters of St. Joseph. He is chosen by God and in the New Testament  he is  shown as their protector.
This statue (above) is in the entrance foyer of our Motherhouse in St. Augustine. Joseph is depicted holding the Christ child and lilies. Jesus is shown holding a cross. 

This  second statue of St. Joseph and the child Jesus (above) is in the second floor front window of our Motherhouse. It was donated to our first sisters from France from their Motherhouse in Le Puy, France after the St. Augustine convent was built around 1876. The palm fronds are a reflection off of the glass in the window.  Today, Good Friday in the Catholic liturgical year, we join with Christians throughout the world in remembering the day Jesus was crucified and died. The paschal mystery, dying and rising to new life, becomes a pattern in our lives when we…

February 2018

February in Florida is full of sunshine while our neighbors to the North often experience gray days and snow. While we have had some cold weather this winter here in Northeast Florida, St. Augustine still has blooming flowers and green grass in many lawns. Pansies and petunias are winter blooms that survive the cold weather in most cases.
      Here at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph we are getting ready for our congregation's Chapter of Affairs and Chapter of Elections that will be held the first week in April, right after Easter. These meetings are where we set the direction for the congregation for the next four years and elect new leaders we hope that will enable our plans to be fulfilled as far as possible.
      On February 14th Lent begins, the 40-day period of preparation for Easter in the Catholic Church. The Motherhouse community has agreed to have simple meals each Thursday of Lent : soup, salad, and bread only. No dessert. And then we donate the money save…
December 2017

In December the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine prepare for the Christmas holidays in keeping with the Advent season. We put up a manger scene in the second floor front window of the Motherhouse in place of our usual St. Joseph and the child Jesus statue. We have an Advent wreath in the chapel that is lit during Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. Closer to Christmas we put up a nativity scene in the chapel also. We pray together a Christmas Novena that starts on Dec. 16th, nine days before Christmas.

In the dining room we have our Christmas tree to the left of the fireplace.  On Christmas Eve we exchange gifts and on Christmas day we have dinner together with several  guests. 

As consecrated women Religious, we celebrate with joy the birth of Jesus Christ and especially recognize the role played in the Nativity by both Mary and our patron, St. Joseph. 
Last Sunday we had a special Open House of the newly renovated Villa Flora across the street from the Motherhouse…