A Brave Beginning Amid Great Changes

Our community was founded amid great changes in the Church that occurred after the Second Vatican Council. At that time, the liturgy was changing, and so was religious life. While many religious congregations welcomed these experiments with great enthusiasm, some religious saw signs of danger.

One such person was our foundress, Mother Ellen Curran. As a member of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, she lamented what she saw as an emphasis away from certain essentials of religious life: living the common life, common prayer, a common apostolate, and the wearing of the habit. She often said,

In the early years there were a lot of struggles and misunderstandings. But on June 1, 1973, The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker was founded by Bishop Richard H. Ackerman and Mother Ellen Curran in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, and is of Diocesan right. It was approved by the Holy See on May 1, 1974.

Authentic Teachings of Vatican Council II

The congregation desired to live religious life in accordance with the authentic teachings of Vatican Council II: scheduled periods of prayer, designated times for silence, a local superior in each community, factual poverty, engaging in only ecclesial apostolates, and the wearing of the habit.

As a new congregation in the Church, the Sisters chose the title “Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker” because the Church had instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker just a few years before in 1955. Our patronal feast is celebrated on May 1st.

The Sisters have as their special purpose the worship of God, with a special devotion to the Holy Eucharist, and the sanctification of each member through total consecration to God by means of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. We daily strive to live our charism through the practice of the virtues of simplicity, self-sacrifice, charity, and loyalty to the Magisterium of the Church.

Our community symbol, a censer, symbolizes the continuous burning out and offering up of ourselves in the love and service of Christ. In that spirit, each Sister has made her own the community motto: “HERE I AM, LORD, I COME TO DO YOUR WILL.”
Mother Ellen Curran, SJW
1923 - 2008
Bishop Richard Ackerman
1903 - 1992
“We were ready and eager to undertake the fulfillment of a second call to Religious Life: to follow the traditions of Mother Catherine Spalding and Bishop David; to emulate their lives of charity for God and His people; to do this in the light of Vatican II and the directions of the Holy See. May God give us courage and unfailing trust in Him!”