Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 25, 2020

Sisters' Stories

Sister Mary Ellen Curtin, CSJ (Sister Marie Adele)

I was born and raised in Syracuse, NY, the second oldest of nine children. Both of my parents were raised on farms in northern New York. It was always a joy for me to visit my grandparents and spend time on the farms. This experience kept me close to the earth and helped me to have a great love of the natural world.

In my senior year of high school, I gave entering religious life some thought. I was drawn to deepen my spiritual life, to be more contemplative and to be of service in some way. My grandmother would kid me and say I would make a good Trappistine or farmer’s wife, knowing my love for the country and being outdoors. However, to my family and friends it was a shock; an “out-of-the-blue” decision, because I was so adventurous and full of life.
After my studies in the novitiate, I taught various grades in five elementary schools for about ten years. About this time, new high schools were being built, so the community asked me to return to college to get my degree in math. I taught math for only a few years when I was asked to become a grade school principal. Are you getting the picture? I was on the move often and usually doing something new. This has been the story of my life.
In 1970, I was selected to be a regional superior, which meant I was to assist the 200 sisters in my region with all of the changes that were happening in religious life. It was during this time that I began to realize some of my gifts: giving spiritual talks, good listening and relational skills. It was a wonderful time in my life, to deepen my spiritual life through prayer, workshops, classes and reading.
In the early 1980s I served as associate and novice director for new members. Women from all walks of life with very different backgrounds and education were desirous to live community and to join us in the ministry. It was a privilege and a challenge to accompany these women as they discerned God’s call.
In 1985 I went to Oakland, CA, to study at the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality. Here, my world view was totally changed as I studied cosmology and learned about the new story of the universe. It became my path for the following years up to the present: to give workshops and retreats integrating spirituality and cosmology. I worked at SpiritEarth and Still Point Interfaith Retreat and then on my own, creating Earth Weaver Learning Center. Today, I continue my ministry as retreat director/spiritual director.
All in all, being and becoming a Sister of St. Joseph has been a very fulfilling life. As in any life it has had its ups and downs, but after 50+ years I am very happy and continue to be graced by God’s transforming love!