International Centre of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Thursday, August 1, 2019

New Archives Program Launched

Seventeen sisters and three translators from 11 countries on five continents came to the Centre for a workshop on archival materials. This is the first time the workshop has been offered. They learned about the different types of archives (written, sound, architectural, artistic, etc.) and the ways archivists handle them in order to write history. They also learned about the purpose of archives, ways of preserving them, and various means of transmitting them to future generations. The program was designed for archivists who had no professional training but who are in charge of or just starting an archive in their congregation. It was also for persons who just have an interest in archives.

The Presenters
Nadia Boudon-Lashermes (left) from the Institut of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in France, is trained in History and Geography.

Catherine Louis (right) was the first Superior General of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Institut. She lives in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Both sisters participated in the implementation of the Living History Centre in Le Puy, which guests of the Centre regularly visit during their programs, retreats, and pilgrimages.

The Participants
The International Centre Board strives to engender intercultural diversity among its participants. Besides recruiting sisters from their communities around the world, board members also offer scholarships that help pay sisters' expenses in order to help achieve a multicultural environment.

Participants spoke four languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Each language group had a translator who spoke into a microphone while the participants tuned into a specific channel on their headphones.

During the five days, the presenters shared historical background information as well as archival records from original documents. Participants had several opportunities for break-out groups to try their hand in interpreting the original documents in their historical and contemporary contexts. These groups were divided according to the sisters' languages.

French speakers
"I cannot say enough about the value of the diversity of the group--the work that made it possible was tremendous. The participants with multiple lanugaes were so good about translating at meal time."

English speakers
"The presence and participation of 22 Sisters of St. Joseph from [five] continents speaking at least four languages facilitated by translators gave me the experience of oneness in diversity of languages and culture. Everyone took their time to wait for the translations and also used gestures to reach/convey understanding. An example for our world which now tends toward 'nationalism' and closed borders. This witness of the double union is needed now more than ever. I hope you will continue multi-lingual, multi-cultural programs. It's the way forward and our charism is needed."

"I experienced internationality in the group. Diverse cultures, diverse language, but still I felt as one family. Though I did not understand all the languages, still I was able to communicate in various ways. I felt that all the sisters were very simple as simplicity is one of the virtues of St. Joseph."

Portuguese and Spanish speakers
"Diversity of the group seemed to be essential for this program. It was a living witness to the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Very stimulating!"

more English speakers

Nadalina (Chambéry-Brazil)
Ann Joseph (Lyon-India)

Josephine (Lyon-India)
Josette (Institut-France)

Marietta (Annecy-India), Marsa (Lyon-Egypt) and Lidwine (Aoeste-Madagascar

Nadia (Institut-France), Tessy (Annecy-India), and Catherine (Institut-France)

English speakers

Portuguese and Spanish speakers 

Rita (Lyon-Winslow) (center) translated French to English

 Pepis (right) (Lyon-Mexico) translated French to Spanish.

Elisabete (Chambéry-Brazil) translated French to Portuguese

During the workshop, the sisters took cars to visit the Kitchen and the Living History Centre. Fortunately, there were three cars available to take the sisters up the hill and into the city of Le Puy.

Nadia (right) used her car to take Zerbo (Lyon-Burkina Faso), Amala (Annecy-India), Josephine (Lyon-India), and Adele (Cuneo-Congo).

Josette (Institut-France) drove Tessy (Annecy-India), Margaret Mary and Kathleen (both Philadelphia-USA).


Rita (Lyon-Winslow) recently received her French driver's license. She used the Centre's car not only to take sisters to the city but to pick them up and take them to  the train station. On the last morning of the workshop, she went beyond the call of duty and took sisters to the train station at 5:15 a.m. Thank you, Rita!!


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