Poor Sisters of St. Joseph

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On October 23, 1968, a Community of Poor Sisters of St. Joseph was founded in Alexandria (Virginia). The good sisters founded a child care center for children and opened their doors in September of 1970. The Child Care Center was called San Gabriel, in gratitude to Archbishop Gabriel Maiorielo who was a providential protector to the sisters in the United States. He was father, mentor and guide to the Sisters, was available to them at any time, attentive and generous in providing everything they needed, were it material or spiritual.

Accreditation: St. Gabriel’s Day Care Center is fully accredited through the Commonwealth of Virginia to operate within the County of Fairfax. We are compliant with all state regulations and requirments for child care facilities. Our licensure is available for inspection by appointment.

History of the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph: The Congregation of Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph was founded in Mercedes, a village near Buenos Aires, the Capital of Argentina. Mother Camila Rolon was the founding mother superior for this newly formed religious congregation. Mother Camila’s life was one of heroic love of God, and a zealous desire to help the poor and suffering.

On January 28, 1880, the young Camila moved out of her father’s house and, accompanied by two friends and eleven orphan girls, journeyed to the village of Mercedes to begin their divine adventure. Letting charity become the ideal of their life, they settled down in an old, poor house, however, Camila’s tremendous faith and total reliance upon Divine Providence, strengthened her to go on with the work she had envisioned for the greater part of her life.

A rich and generous gentleman, Leon Gallardo, heard about Mother Camila’s orphanage and he promised to erect a building that would serve as the Mother House for this newly emerging Congregation. This promise became a reality, in 1889, at which time the Mother House was established in Muñiz, Buenos Aires. Hundreds of children found refuge in the loving care offered by the humble congregation and, in Camila, Rolon, they embraced a second mother.

Mother Camila was destined for even greater works by God when she was inspired to establish a community of sisters to continue and expand the works of charity for love of God and for His Church. With great prudence and zeal, she directed her community for thirty three years having established thirty two houses of charity and two novitiates, throughout Argentina, Uruguay and Italy.

She died in Rome, on February 16, 1913, leaving behind a wonderful legacy of great sanctity. In 1950, her cause for beatification was introduced in Rome and, on April 2, 1993, the Magisterium of the Church, guided by His Holiness John Paul II, recognized the sanctity of Mother Camila of Saint Joseph Rolon, by the Decree in which her heroic virtues were examined and she was declared “Venerable”. Today, many people have received blessings and spiritual healing through her intercession.

The charism of the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph is HOLY EVANGLICAL POVERTY: Conforming to the perfect example of Christ Filially obedient to the Father that is expressed in the practice of indiscriminant charity to all, with a particular devotion to caring for the poor, abandoned Children young people, the helpless aged and indigent sick.

Their main Patron is Saint Joseph, so their spirituality takes on the characteristics of the “clean, beautiful and perfect poverty of Nazareth” as lived so beautifully by the Holy Family. Simplicity, In the world yet not of the world, love and complete reliance upon Divine Providence, fraternal love and mutual care among them.

The Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, “Queen and Lady of the Congregation”, under whose protection the Congregation was placed, gives the poor sisters of St. Joseph a special character, expressed in their belonging to the Carmelite family.

Saint and Doctor of the Church, Teresa of Avila, espoused “God alone suffices.” As a favored Patron Saint of the poor sisters, Mother Camila very closely identified with this particular aspect of Carmelite spirituality in that she lived in total devotion to and absolute reliance upon God alone. She inspired and continues to inspire those who are blessed to follow her excellent example; This simple understanding and Way of Life.

Their mission in the Church of God is to be proclaimers of the Good News of salvation.

Coordinator: Mother Maria Gonzalez