Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 27, 2020

Sisters' Stories

Sister Chris Pologa, CSJ

My first encounter with the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJs) occurred when I enrolled at St. James Grammar School in Albany, New York. I was greeted by a smiling young Sister of St. Joseph whose joy and love of learning rubbed off into my soul. Entering Cardinal McCloskey High School, I was thrilled to be taught once again by the CSJs, whose presence and dedication to academic excellence would shape my life. 

Graduating with honors, I headed west to Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. I flourished in a liberal-arts setting, rooted in the Jesuit tradition, while reveling in the camaraderie which is the hallmark of participation in varsity sports. Ignatian spirituality, service to the poor and love for sacred Scripture captured my imagination and fed my inner hunger. 

Living in a lay Christian community, active in my parish and working as a Catholic school educator was a full life, but I continued to be restless. Denying the Spirit’s urgings, I headed off to Notre Dame for a theology degree. Upon completion of my studies, I entered the Sisters of St. Joseph with an attitude of getting this “call” out of my system. To my amazement, I loved religious life!

As a teacher of sacred Scriptures, I bring the Gospel message to life through stories, DVD clips and service projects. The adventure of teaching is changing as I mend hearts torn by divorce or abuse; cry with teenagers asking questions such as: Why did my friend commit suicide? or Why did my sibling die in a drive-by shooting? I minister to gay-lesbian young adults who feel rejected by the Church. I sit with parents awaiting the drug assessment on their teenager. I visit injured athletes in the hospital and lost sheep in the county jail, and I bring communion to the homebound.

Presently, I am missioned to St. Joseph’s Academy, an internationally recognized school of technology and a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As the second-largest all-girls high school in the United States, I challenge the young women to full, active participation in our Church. My goal is to birth a new generation of global Catholic leaders ready to transform the Church to meet the needs of today.

I am a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and I stand on the shoulders of the valiant women who have gone before me. We CSJs are prophetic witnesses to the power of inclusive love, rooted in Jesus Christ for the well-being of the “dear neighbor.”