Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 27, 2020

Sisters' Stories

Sister Rosemary Casaleno, CSJ

Our Life Journey Continues Forever

When Sister Carol asked me to write an article about being a Sister of St. Joseph, I prayed about what to write. Then I thought how fitting it would be for me to tell about my journey to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as I was moving forward to transfer my vows. (The transfer Liturgy took place on October 18, 2009.
I was a Sister from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Watertown, NY. I transferred to Latham in October 2005. My journey began in South Troy, living at St. William’s Convent with Sisters Rita Duggan and Kate Arseneau. When I arrived, I had to begin a whole new life. I felt somewhat overwhelmed. I had to find a ministry, a new doctor, new dentist, etc. I had to learn where everything was and how to get there. This new territory is very different from the North Country where it takes an hour at least to get anywhere! I found a new ministry at Parsons Child and Family Center where I was a clinical social worker in their Residential Treatment Facility. I ministered at Parsons for three-and-a-half years. I enjoyed working at Parsons as it gave me many opportunities to learn the culture of the Capital District. It also helped me to transition into the Sisters of St. Joseph in Latham by allowing me to use my gifts and talents with young people who have extreme mental-health problems. This ministry daily helped me to put my life in perspective. Sisters Rita and Kate helped me to adjust and meet many area Sisters of St. Joseph. They provided social opportunities and helped me feel comfortable at many of my first community gatherings.
After two years of living in South Troy, I moved for another community experience to St. Pius X in Loudonville. I moved in with Sisters Anne Tranelli, Mary Damien Cushing, Jeanne Marie Gocha, Monica Murphy and Sara Kirsch. I continued to do my ministry at Parsons. During the second part of my first year, I began feeling uncertain as to whether I should stay at Parsons. I felt I was being called to go into parish work again. This quandary led me to contact the Diocesan Office for Evangelization. I began conversing with Jeanne Schrempf to see if there were any Youth Ministry positions available. I have known Jeanne for many years because of my contact with the Albany Youth Ministry Department when I was the Ogdensburg Diocesan Youth Director. Jeanne advised me to send her my resume and references because she did know of a parish that was looking for a youth director which was not going to be affected by Church closing/mergers. The youth-director position was going to be ministering at two parishes and I was not sure I could do this. I thought, Wow! God must really be moving the ball in this. It was amazing that everything seemed to be falling right in place, and even the struggle for a decision to change ministries was becoming clearer. I began to feel that this was the right step, especially because we had a change in administration at Parsons. I did not feel working with a new administration was good for me at this time. I needed to move on and God “opened another door.”
I interviewed for the position Jeanne had told me about and was offered the job. I was still not sure I could handle the two parishes with completely different cultures. Well, I am now starting my second year in this ministry. I admit the first year was very difficult. I am hoping I have learned a lot. This next year should be smoother…I pray! Also, during this first year of my ministering at St. Edward’s/St. Mary’s Churches, three other sisters and I moved into the former St. Edward’s Rectory. It was not being occupied, and it would suit us just fine. With a new ministry, a new community, opening a new house, and preparing my final year of the transfer process, I was challenged with activities and adjustments.
During this busy year, I was also seeking out a retreat center and applying to make a 30-day Ignatian Retreat. I investigated many Retreat Houses and chose to go to St. Mary’s by the Sea in Cape May Point, NJ. I thought, “If God wants me to have this experience, I will be accepted for the program.” To be accepted, you have to write a lengthy autobiography, so that too took some work. I applied and was accepted. I went to Cape May Point from June 28 until July 31. Before leaving for retreat I had to organize all my paperwork and meet with the leadership team in preparation for their decision whether or not to accept my request for final transfer. The team would meet on June 25 with Sister Linda Neil who is my transfer director.
I was leaving for New Jersey on Wednesday June 24, so a member of the leadership team would call me at my brother’s house with the decision. As I left for retreat,I was nervous about keeping silence for 30 days and questioning, “Will I have a yes to finalize my transfer of vows. Well, let me tell you I did get a “yes”; I kept silence (and liked it). I did not even want to talk when I came home! If I did not realize the grace God provides us before this experience, I certainly do now! I had an extremely awesome experience. For me the experience like something you have been waiting for your whole life and did not know it until you have the experience. It truly was life changing for me. I have a whole different appreciation for silence as well.
So here we come close to the end of my transfer journey. Our life journey continues forever; yet, for right now, this portion of my journey was completed on October 18, 2009 at the Liturgy celebrating the transfer of my final vows from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Watertown to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Albany Province.
May God’s grace and blessings be with you!
Peace to you!
Sister Rose