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placeholder Jubilarians

Salute to our sisters and brothers

As Church growth explodes, parishes can't keep up

Year of Consecrated Life

Bishop Barber
honors jubilarians
with Mass

Aging, the next
frontier for Holy
Family Sisters

Redemptorists fulfill mission of bringing Gospel to the poor

Over time, Mercy Sisters focus
shifted from
education to care

Precious Blood Missionaries celebrating
200th anniversary

New principals welcomed
at diocesan
elementary schools

Father Sullivan joins BOD as religion teacher, chaplain

Going back to
school with FACE

Holy Names
students inspired
at Youth Justice

Leadership changes
at Berkeley's School
of Applied Theology

Adoration gives
people a time to
contemplate God

Catholics@Work unveils 2015-16 speaker series

Apply now for grants
to feed hungry


• Rev. Austin
Conterno, SDB

• Sister Marian
Arroyo, SHF

St. Elizabeth golf tournament part of
the Lema legacy

St. Anne's wraps up
50th year events

Vailankanni festival
coming up

St. Patrick's Seminary
plans annual gala

Chautauqua focuses on Mary

placeholder August 10, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
Year of Consecrated Life
Above, the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Holy Family overlooks the beautifully landscaped core area. Left, St. Vincent's Day Home, founded by the Holy Family Sisters, is the oldest and largest child development center and child care facility in Alameda County, and has been a fixture in
west Oakland
for 100 years.
All: Catholic Voice file photos

Aging, the next frontier for Holy Family Sisters

The Sisters of the Holy Family continue the work they were commissioned by San Francisco Archbishop Joseph Alemany, OP, to carry out in 1872: Seek out the hidden poor who were outside the boundaries of Catholic institutions.


Sisters of the
Holy Family

Founded in San Francisco, 1872
Arrived in East Bay, 1911, established St. Vincent's Day Home, caring for children of working parents
Original ministries: Seeking and finding those who need help, religious training for children who did not attend Catholic school
Current ministries: Kmhmú/Laotioan Pastoral and Cultural Center; St. Lawrence O'Toole-St. Cyril Parish, parish Adult faith formation, child development centers, parish administration, social work, personal growth, spiritual direction and a host of collaborative projects to meet emerging needs without neglecting the ministries of the past.
No. in order: 73, "most of them" in the East Bay: Fremont; Oakland; Richmond
Contact: Sisters of the Holy Family, 159 Washington Blvd., P.O. Box 3248, Fremont
94539-0324; 510-624-4500; www.holyfamilysisters.org

They enthusiastically embraced their ministry, which, over the years, has included caring for the children of the working poor, offering religious education to students who did not attend Catholic schools and so much more.

Their work in what would become the Diocese of Oakland began in 1911, with the establishment of St. Vincent's Day Home, where children were cared for while their parents worked. Under a nonprofit board, the day home continues.

The Sisters were also responsible for religious education in parishes throughout the diocese, including two in Richmond and Pinole, where Sister Judeana Davidson, SHF, who is vice president of the congregation today, first met the sisters.

The Sisters' service to people on the margins is reflected today in its human trafficking ministry. Involved since 2007, the Sisters not only work with the victims of human trafficking, but educate the public on how to identify human trafficking, and how to work with law enforcement that is engaged in its eradication. Sister Caritas Foster, SHF, is the lead on this issue.

With the Super Bowl scheduled for the Bay Area next year, expect to see the Sisters active in putting out warnings regarding human trafficking, particularly of sex workers, at that time.

As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, they began hearing about human trafficking in their regional meetings, and began to explore ways they might be able to minister. They began by helping their sisters become more aware. The sisters' active peace and justice group continues to be involved in other issues, such as immigration.

Sister Michaela O'Connor, SHF, has worked with Kmhmú/Laotian Pastoral Center for more than 20 years. Most of the families live in Richmond, but often she travels with them to other Kmhmú communities in the Central Valley.

"She calls it a ministry of accompaniment," Sister Judeana said. Not only does Sister Michaela provide catechetical training, and prayer in homes, she guides the community through the social services and immigration mazes.

Other sisters include Sister Sharon Flannigan, SHF, and Sister Mario Raffaelli. SHF, who minister at St. Lawrence O'Toole-St. Cyril parish in Oakland.

Sister Aurora Perez, SHF, developed the SPRED ministry in special religious education in the diocese in 1977, retired in 2013. The heart of SPRED is the bringing together of participants — called Friends — with individual catechists, at centers throughout the diocese.

After a long, thoughtful discernment process, the next chapter for the Sisters of the Holy Family is unfolding. Since 1948, the Sisters have made their home on Palmdale Estates, with beautiful lawns, gardens, heritage houses and the motherhouse.

They will deed 5.5 acres to the city of Fremont for open space, preserving the gardens for use by the community at large. Part of their land will be sold to pay for the endowment for the preserved core area, and to build new cottages.

The traditional motherhouse will give way to cottages, where the 15 sisters will live in each household. "With our cottages we're building, we hope to model a new way of working with older people," Sister Judeana said.

The sisters have another gift to give: Show us how to treat age as a stage of life and not a medical condition.

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