The Magnificat Center was started in 2007 to further the mission and ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph that “All may be one.” Because the retreat center is attached to the sisters’ convent, the presence of the sisters adds a special touch of prayer and hospitality for our guests.
The title of The Magnificat Center was chosen because Mary’s prayer at the scene of the Visitation reflects our hopes for peace, justice and reconciliation in our world today.
The ministry of The Magnificat Center consists of retreats, programs and workshops provided by staff and guest speakers. We also offer our meeting space as a resource for interfaith groups who choose to use our facility for their own programs.
It is our hope and prayer that all who come to The Magnificat Center will be led to a deeper appreciation and experience of God’s love for them through their interaction with staff and sisters.
About The Congregation of St. Joseph
The Magnificat Center is a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph. The Mission of the Congregation of St. Joseph is unity. “We live and work to bring all people into union with God, each other and all creation.” (CSJ Constitutions)
The Sisters of St. Joseph have been inspired by this mission since their foundation in 1650 France, when six women united their call to a profound inner life with God and an equally profound love for their neighbors in any kind of need, whom they came to call their dear neighbors.
These women, with the spiritual direction of a Jesuit priest, Jean Pierre Medaille, formed the first community of Sisters of St. Joseph. Although disbanded by the state during the French Revolution, the congregation was re-established in 1807 by Mother St. John Fontbonne in Lyon, France. As word of the sisters' services and good deeds grew, dioceses throughout France requested the services of the order. Later, bishops in newly established dioceses in the United States asked for their assistance. In 1836, six Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in the United States to establish a Foundation in Carondelet, near St. Louis, Missouri. Once established, the Congregation began to spread throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2007, the Congregation of St. Joseph formed through the joining of seven formerly independent U.S. Congregations of Sisters of St. Joseph for the purpose of furthering the mission of unity. Today, as in the past, the Congregation, consisting of over 700 women religious and 500 of their associated laity, is dedicated to the love of God and neighbor, and missioned to be a unifying, reconciling presence wherever they live and minister. The Congregation has a significant presence in Wichita, Cleveland, Chicago, Tipton, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wheeling, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Paul-Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and Japan serving needs from the Canadian Border to the Gulf of Mexico, Japan to Appalachia.
Today, Sisters of St. Joseph work to recognize and respond to the unmet and critical needs of contemporary society and the world. The Congregation’s vision move the Sisters always forward in search of ways to respond, in a spirit of unifying love, to the needs of our local communities, the call of the Church, the people of God, and the challenges of the global community.
Sisters serve through education, healthcare, pastoral, parish and campus ministry, work with homeless and battered women, prison ministry, the ministry of prayer and presence, social work, spiritual care and faith development, work with the deaf, mentally challenged adults, and Native Americans. They are engaged in community organizations and advocate for peace and justice. To further extend their mission, the Congregation specifically sponsors 38 ministries.
Some specific concerns of the Congregation today include: elimination of the death penalty in the United States; restoration and healing of the ecological fabric of the planet; immigration reform; addressing systemic change to bring about a culture of inclusivity and mutuality; and, transforming our Congregational Centers into environmentally friendly, sustainable Centers for our members and our communities.
Call it the spirit of the founders, the spirit of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, or all of these, it is a spirit that enables the Congregation of St. Joseph to heal, to reconcile, to love, and to be receptive to the challenges, gifts, and visions of all whom they meet and serve. Find out more about the Congregation of St. Joseph by visiting their website.