Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 25, 2020

Sisters' Stories

Sister Lamese Farhart, CSJ (Sister Marie de Montfort)

My first encounter with women religious was when I enrolled at The College of Saint Rose in the early 1940s. Born into an average Catholic family and educated in public schools, I complained in my diary that we were “praying all the time.” However, by the end of freshman year, I was attending Mass daily and participating in the mission unit of Our Lady’s Sodality. The next three years saw a growth in my relationship with Christ while I led a happy life on campus, deeply involved in extracurricular activities.

 My summers were spent as counselor at various camps for disadvantaged children, and this awakened in me a desire to help the less fortunate. I also volunteered to help with a Girl Scout troop at St. Vincent’s Home in Albany where I met the Daughters of Charity whose work I came to admire greatly. It was at this time that I began to think about a religious vocation. My first reaction was “I must be losing my mind,” but gradually the idea grew into a real desire and I pursued it under the guidance of the college chaplain. Because of my interest in the missions, Maryknoll was a real possibility, as were the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (a good friend had just entered that community). I didn’t give much consideration to the Sisters of St. Joseph since they seemed to be so much more lady-like than I thought I could ever be--and this, in spite of the fact that I loved the sisters at The College of Saint Rose, especially the ones in our house who entered into many of our good times, as we boasted that St. Agnes Hall was “the best house on campus.”
My parents objected to my entering the convent because I had always been so active, and they thought I would be “throwing my life away.” So even though I was fairly certain of my calling when I graduated from college, out of deference to their wishes I put the idea on hold. That resulted in a wonderful year of teaching business subjects at Ravena-Coeymans High School where a young faculty made the teaching fun. It also gave me more time to discern with regard to a particular congregation, and after much prayer on my part and that of friends who joined the Sisters of St. Joseph, I decided to become one of them. This carefully thought-out decision was a necessary one for me and has resulted in great stability with regard to my CSJ-ness.
The ensuing years have been very good to me, whether teaching in various diocesan high schools, serving as provincial secretary, spending eleven years with our sisters in Hawaii, or my present work in the leadership office at our Provincial House. All has been good, all has been gift, and I can only say, “Thank you, dear God!”