Catholic Educational Heritage: Sisters of Saint Joseph

There are several orders of nuns associated with education that founded and now run many colleges and universities across the United States.

I was another six-year-old girl in a plaid uniform at a country day school in Massachusetts. My first teachers and school administrators were nuns. They were tirelessly jovial, patient, and kind, except for one, who played into the unfortunate stereotype of the unsmiling, ruler-whacking scary nun.

Back then I was vaguely aware of what nuns stood for. I knew they were devoted to God and wore different clothes from my Mom. Now I know that these women also dedicate themselves to unique convent missions, including educational missions.

Convent-ional education

There are several orders of nuns associated with education that founded and now run many colleges and universities across the United States. (Same goes for monks and monasteries, but other posts for other days.) Now, to shine some light on one such order, the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

The Association of Colleges of Sisters of Saint Joseph (ACSSJ) represents the nine schools upholding the mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph:

Defining a Sisters of Saint Joseph campus

Nuns don’t vary widely in their foundational beliefs, but the Sisters of Saint Joseph schools are united by a particular common mission and goals. According to the ACSSJ, they “develop hospitable and caring communities, manifest concern for all without distinction, address the needs of the times, strive for excellence in all endeavors, and make a difference in the local and world community.” The ACSSJ schools also cooperate, offering student exchange opportunities, joint leadership workshops, and shared resources.

If service to others is important to you, you’ll be in good company at an ACSSJ school! You’ll find ample opportunities to volunteer in the surrounding community, perhaps serving a meal at a homeless shelter or spending an afternoon reading to young children. You might even do such things in a foreign country as part of an international mission trip. Whatever you do, you’ll return to a supportive, caring community, one committed to educational excellence and making the world just a little bit brighter.

Want more info? Visit or check out any of the schools listed above.

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About Jessica Tomer

Jessica Tomer

Jessica Tomer is the Director of Communications at the Commonwealth School in Boston. You can follow her on Twitter @JessicaTomer


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