Our Sisters’ Lives in Their Own Words
Read about our Sisters’ lives in their own words in connection with National Catholic Sisters Week.
Autobiography of Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, OSBM
My journey began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I was born the fourth child of Mary and Anthony Busowski. Family lore has it that there was great rejoicing by my parents since I was the long sought daughter following the birth of my three older brothers, Peter, John and Joseph. It was also related that since I was born on August 17, 1938, in the throes of the Great Depression, that my father, who was unemployed up to that point, got a job. Thus, I became a “lucky charm”.
I remember living in two different homes as I grew up – first in a small four room house in Glenwood and then an eleven room house in Hazelwood. Pittsburgh, of course, is noted for its hills so it is not surprising that we lived at the top of a long hilly street that was ideal for sledding. We were not abundantly wealthy but I would say we were comfortable.
My father worked at the B & O Railroad as a boilermaker. I remember him getting up early in the morning – saying his matins – and then going to work on the day shift. Jack eventually joined him at the railroad. Peter and Joseph ended up working in the mills in this “steel town” – Jones & Laughlin (J & L) and United States Steel (USS). Mom, like most women of that era, was a stay-at-home mom. And…I might add the disciplinarian.
We attended St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in what was called the Southside of Pittsburgh. Each Sunday, and on holydays, we would board the streetcar to the Seventh Street Bridge where we would transfer to a second streetcar to get to the church. I remember going to some of the Lenten and May services with my father. It only occurred to me after I entered the community of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great that my father was quite a spiritual person. I would often see him praying before the icons of the Mother of God and Christ that we had in our dining room. These prayers I now realize were Matins and Vespers. Likewise, my mother also had her special devotions which she said each day. On the whole we were not overly religious but I did have a spiritual upbringing. I do sometimes wonder whether something like the Morning Call obits would have revealed anything interesting about my past family, particularly if there was anyone with such a strong tie to faith as I myself now have.
I attended the local public schools from kindergarten through Senior High. I was not particularly interested in school work although I found it to be quite easy. I really did not put much effort into studies since my passion was more toward having nice clothes, a car and a good time. Dancing was my favorite pastime. My ambition at that time was to marry and have twelve boys. I had no interest in pursuing higher education.
In high school I opted for the business course (that meant I never did any homework) over the academic and before graduation I was hired by Johns Manville Corporation as a secretary. I continued in that position after graduation for at least 3 years. After the death of my father, since I was the sole support of my mother and myself, I switched to Hardware Mutual Insurance Company because they paid a better salary.
While in high school one of my friends, Janet Kramer, often spoke about the Mercy Sisters and her desire to join them. I began to visit them with her and, lo and behold, I too began to think about entering the convent. On one occasion she went with me to St. John’s church where we were approached by Sister Chrysantha and quite to my surprise when she asked “Do you want to be a sister?” I responded “Yes”. That was the first time that I expressed this desire. I began to make regular visits to talk with Sister Chrysantha and the urge within me to enter grew. However, when I expressed this to my parents I met with strong resistance from my mother. My father approved but would not go contrary to my mother’s wishes. So I began a long journey of wavering back and forth over the possibility of becoming a sister.
When my father died at the relatively young age of 62 I became aware that there was more to life than boys, cars and clothes. To lose someone whom you loved so much at what was rather a young age (20 years old) it became clear to me that the person did not simply disappear but there was a God and there was a heaven and you do not lose contact with the person. Once you have been connected – you are connected forever. The desire to become a sister had grown stronger since the first thought of it at age 16. There was something going on that I was not able to describe but it was surely the work of God.
I experienced a restlessness that steadily grew deeper and affected all that I was doing. Although I still enjoyed my work, my social life, my car and my clothes, this persistent urging kept getting stronger and so I took the step of entering the Order of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great in Philadelphia. This was not an easy decision to make since I was met with much resistance by my mother who was a widow at this point and somewhat dependent upon me. Nonetheless, I heeded the call and came to Fox Chase. I had never been here before so everything was strange.
Persevering through novitiate I went on to begin my first mission which was at St. Basil Academy. This was followed by a short stint at Holy Ghost in Chester, Pennsylvania, a year at St. Basil Home on Lindley Avenue and three years at St. Nicholas in Watervliet, NY. In each instance, although there were tough times, I enjoyed the students and teaching and for the most part the sisters with whom I lived.
During this time I pursued my studies at Villanova University and Siena College (while in Watervliet). I received my bachelors from Villanova in Secondary Education with my area of specialty in American History. Likewise, I received my Masters from Villanova in American History (1865 – present); the world in the twentieth century; Latin American History and Political Science. My second Masters is from Chestnut Hill College in Holistic Spirituality. I believe that knowledge is important and that we are students all of our lives.
But I am getting ahead of myself here. After having taught in elementary school (grades 5 and 6), as well as Business courses and History at St. Basil Academy on a secondary level I was made principal of St. Basil Academy. This was a highlight in my ministry. I loved every moment in this position. It was challenging, stimulating, and most rewarding. It was while I was principal that the academy received its first Middle States Accreditation, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the school and a chapel was realized. All of this was due to a very energetic and dedicated faculty with whom I immensely enjoyed working with and sharing a true sense of professional community.
This was followed by five years as the Assistant to Sister Miriam Claire Kowal, Provincial. During this time I was given the additional responsibility of Province Secretary and overseeing the gutting and renovations of the Motherhouse. This was a daunting task that required moving out forty sisters with all their personal belongings as well as all the furniture from all the rooms. A job, projected to take six months, took eighteen. The day we moved back into the newly renovated building was further complicated with the arrival of the Sisters from the Lindley property which had been sold along with all the furniture and personal items.
Having been physically, emotionally, and mentally wiped out, I requested, and received a one year sabbatical which was spent first at St. Stephen’s Priory in Boston and then in Uniontown with our Sister Province. It was during this time that many new relationships that endure to this day were formed both at St. Stephens and in Uniontown. Both places gave me a new sense of direction both spiritually and ministerially. My stay at Uniontown was extended by three more years when I was asked to serve as a consultant to their Provincial Council. Meanwhile back in my own Province, Sister Paula, Joan Crompton and I began our Office of Development. These were good years – busy but not overly extended even though I traveled back and forth between Fox Chase and Uniontown every six weeks.
Another exciting experience I had during this interlude in my life was to realize a life-long dream of learning iconography writing. Several workshops at Antiochian Village with Phil Zimmerman laid the foundation for this prayerful study. Commissioned by Sister Miriam Claire I painted six icons for the new Motherhouse – The Nativity, the Resurrection, St. Basil and St. Macrina, Christ the Teacher and the Mother of God. I have furthered this study under Father Damien Higgins and Peter Pearson. On several occasions I have spoken to groups on the writing and praying with icons.
Most important during these years of sabbatical and fallow times my spirituality deepened. I gained a greater appreciation of myself, others and my Church. I especially grew in a realization of the gift of the Eastern Church to the Universal Church. My knowledge of St. Basil and St. Macrina and our Order expanded and continues to grow.
In 1995 I was elected to leadership as Provincial and reelected in 2000. This position was challenging, rewarding and affirming and in both administrations I was blessed with four wonderful councilors. During the first term, after a successful capital campaign we realized the building of Holy Trinity Chapel and the Basilian Spirituality Center. This was further enhanced by the inclusion of iconography within the Chapel. Other outstanding attempts included the inviting of young women from Ukraine with the hope that they would eventually join us. It was during this time that I traveled to Ukraine for the first of four trips solidifying our relationship with our Sister Province. I was privileged during one of these trips to touch base with my father’s family.
With the election of 2000 much was in place physically and so the emphasis was more on the growth and development of the Province spiritually, technologically and relationally. I became active in the Archieparchial Vocation Committee, annual Women’s Day Committee, expanded council in Rome, and the most exciting the Music Tour with our young Ukrainian Sisters. We celebrated who we were as well with the 90th anniversary of the Province and the publishing of Sister Emellia’s book “Keepers of the Flame”. Realizing the importance of preserving our future we began a thorough study of finance, land and buildings. In all of these areas I was privileged to work with not only the sisters but some fine lay persons who volunteered their time and talent to assist us.
That brings me up to the present time and a third term as provincial. In the interluding years from 2005 to 2010 I found myself back in the Development Office, but as a new office that had grown considerably since 1990. It is now staffed by three persons, is technologically savvy, and projects a positive image of the community. In addition, I was faced with the challenge of the selling of the Chesapeake City property, building the Basilian Legacy Institute, chairing the Annual Archieparchial Women’s Day, keeping the community abreast of the issue of Trafficking of Persons and environmental issues and the planning of the Province centennial celebration which will commence in November 2010.
My life journey has reached its 70th year – my community journey is nearing the 50th year. Years that have been richly blessed by God with gifts of family, friends, talents, education and enough tears to care. Without the presence of God all this would mean nothing – without the presence of God nothing would have been accomplished – without the presence of God I would not be. All praise and glory to God for all that is and always will be.
Autobiography of Sister Susanne Matwijiw, OSBM
My name is Sister Susanne Matwijiw, OSBM. I was born in Lesenburg, a Bavarian region of Germany. I came to the USA as a very young child in 1949.
My earliest and happiest years were spent in Chicago where I grew up. With fond memories, I recall my school St. Nicholas the Basilian Sisters and Fathers, classmates included. Those years were most memorable due to that fact that Chicago had a Ukrainian Village, which in earlier years blossomed with a strong ethnic identity. Everyone knew each other and were closely knit – we as children, were not in need of anything, everyone was there for us.
Our Basilian Sisters were my inspiration, especially as I grew older; I was already contemplating the religious life. The spiritual aspect was imbued into me by my beloved Mother, who instilled the love of God into me with prayer. Praying, for me were not only joyous moments spent with the Lord, but experiencing peace, calmness and tranquility of soul prepared me for my future vocation of embracing monastacism. I even had my goals – to serve my and love God and my people.
After graduating form St. Basil Academy in 1961, I entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great in Philadelphia. Completing the Novitiate, my first assignment was to Hamtramck, Michigan. The Ukrainian people, youth and children of the Immaculate Conception Parish left an indelible sot spot in my heart – two wonderful, blessed years.
Nine years, altogether, were spent in teaching elementary levels. Other assignments were in Olyphont, hindley and St. Nicholas in Philadelphia. Upon completing my secondary level degrees, I was assigned to Fox Chase, to teach young girls at our institution, St. Basil Academy.
I enjoyed teaching my fields of History, Fine Arts and Ukrainian, 2009 will have completed 36 years of my teaching at the Academy. The challenges, much work, times of stress, jays and sorrows, of teaching young women, filled an abundant crop of fruits of my labor into my life. It is of great satisfaction to see in return what your students produced, what you have taught them.
Autobiography of Sister Mary Bernarda Arkatin, OSBM: “Memories of My Life in the Convent”
My earliest years with the Sisters of St. Basil the Great were fondly remembered since our first Bishop Soter Ortynsky invited them to serve the orphans in Chesapeake City, Md. Our family belonged to St. Basil Parish in and this in and this is how our acquaintance grew.
My father, orphaned in his early years, had a great devotion to the orphans and I can recall him driving them to the parish picnic to treat them most generously to any goodies! He was also very fond of the Sisters and would never fail to respond immediately to any of their requests regardless of how difficult or time consuming they might have been. The Sisters were always first in his life and even after suffering several heart attacks he did not refuse the Sisters their last request and died on their property after completing the job. It stands to reason that he would never even think of charging for any of his services! After witnessing such devotion to our Sisters is it any wonder then that I choose to enter this particular convent?
How fortunate we were to have the Sisters in our parish to teach us the elements of religion and Ukrainian. Sister Appolonia was a sister whom we all revered with her kindness and patience. With the coming of Mother Zenobia Bezushko our education expanded since she taught us all of the church hymns, Christmas carols, Eastern hymns and “Hailky” (Easter dances) and all of the Ukrainian folk dances. We sang during the Divine Liturgy and performed may concerts throughout the year. Throughout my teaching career in the various schools I was able to pass on everything I learned to the hundreds of children I encountered.
After completing St. Basil Academy I considered entering the convent but wanted to ascertain weather this choice was truly meant for me. After enjoying great time at dances I realized that these pleasures were most fleeting and I was searching for something more permanent. For this reason I choose to consecrate my life to God wholly and entirely never looking back at what I left behind. I was determined to give everything without counting the cost!
My entire life in the convent was spent with the children of God, either teaching in the classroom or preparing them for the sacraments of reconciliation and Holy Communion. My first parish was St. John’s, in Newark, NJ. With Sisters Dionysia and Benigna who were the pioneers there in the early forties. The Redemptorist Father had just arrived to take over the parish at the request of Bishop Bohachevsky.
My next assignment was the Immaculate Conception School in Hamtramck, MI. Besides teaching full time in the grades I also prepared the children for first Holy Communion. From Hamtramck I was transferred to Chicago where I taught at the St. Nicholas School later called the cathedral school.
Here I was asked to organize children’s orchestra and recall asking the principal, Sister Athanasius, for some cash assistance with which to start. To date, I never received a cent but with fees collected from the renting of instruments I was able to purchase new instruments for the school. Since the enrolment of the school exceeded a thousand children, many of them were interested in playing music instruments and eventually participating in the orchestra.
Over and above teaching a full time class I had over thirty students studying piano and the instruments of the orchestra. I had a music teacher, Mr. Pape, assisting in the teaching of the wind instruments. Space was very scarce for teaching music and I can recall having children under the church stairs of the church, in closets and basement corners. However, the children studied, practiced and made great progress. All of the music the children performed ha to be written for various instruments according to their playing ability and this had to be done in the wee hours of the night. It was never a matter of just purchasing music from stores!
With time, the orchestra grew to number seventy performers with all of the instruments of a symphony orchestra. The children were proud and happy to perform for many dignitaries including Cardinal Stritch, Mayor Daley, Bishop Priashko, from Australia, and of course, their own beloved Bishop Gabro beside many other prominent figures.
Each year the children participated in the annual Chicago music contest and received the first prize. Upon my return to St. Nicholas after fifteen years, it was surprising and good to hear the many former participants of the orchestra remark that it was one of the greatest experiences of their lives! Unfortunately, after my transfer from St. Nicholas and return after a number of years there was absolutely no trace of any instrument in the school which were all given away, or disposed of by other mean – the French horns, double basses, cellos and all others!
A girls and boys choir was organized and these sang alternately for Divine Liturgies each Sunday. The lovely soprano voices of the boys could hardly be differentiated from the girls by the congregation who thoroughly enjoyed their participation in the Liturgy! The children also produced a very popular recording of Christmas Carols prepared under the direction of Myron Fedoriw.
Many concerts were produced throughout the school year during which the girls’ choir of 100 voices performed together with the accompaniment of the orchestra. The greatest highlight was Sister Laura’s composition: “In the Cathedral of St. George” honoring our great Servant of God, Andrew Sheptycky! The Christmas concert was always my responsibility and I can recall how the children performed Dicken’s “Christmas Carol” translated in Ukrainian by R. Zavadovycz, the father of the students and a prominent children’s writer.
In St, Nicholas School, Philadelphia, besides teaching and undertaking the responsibility of a principal, I introduced our Ukrainian instrument, the bandura, to the children. With time, this group became very popular, not only in Ukrainian circles but also as far as Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA where they were invited to perform. With the charming voice of six year old Daria Knysh, the granddaughter of our cantor, singing solos, their performances were outstanding. An elderly woman remarked that she traveled throughout the world but never saw or heard anything the likes of this group!
They were also invited to perform for the company making Tylenol in Fort Washington, PA for the employees’ annual picnic. After touring the plant, the children performed Ukrainian dances and played the bandura. Until this time, all of the performers were aged men and it was a delight for the audience to see and hear youngster performers. One gentleman was heard to have remarked that he didn’t have to see heaven having seen it on this day!
The children also performed in Chesapeake City, MD for the 100th anniversary of the school, for the League of Ukr. Women in Allentown, PA, for various parish functions in the Philadelphia area, for ethnic groups, the Cliveden Nursing Home, the superintendent of catholic schools, at Christmas for Metropolitan Lubachisky, later cardinal, for the bishop and annually at Christmas and Easter for the Senior Citizens of Ascension Manor and the Manor College Festival. It stands to reason that they performed at every parish function at their own St. Nicholas Parish.
Another activity pursued was the singing of carols during the Christmas Season in many nursing home senior citizens homes and hospitals. Our eminent artist’s sister: Peter Andrusiw, was confined to a nursing home for fifteen years and complained that in all of these years she never heard a word spoken in Ukrainian. This inspired me to reach out to as many of our people as possible together with a few Sisters or children.
It was the greatest joy for these sick people to hear our group, to hear “God Eternal” and other carols sung to the accompaniment of my accordion. One patient, at the Inglis House for Incurable Cripples didn’t hear our carols for years and we were compelled to please her by singing practically all of them was told several times not to bother some of the elderly as they spoke to no one. What a pleasant surprise it was to hear our dear Sister Apollonia over 90 years old smile and start singing with us! This happened many times and all of our people at the Cliveden Home arose to our singing of “God Eternal” during supper. To the amazement of nursing staff these people all joined in the singing! The residents of Ascension Manor always awaited our coming and said they would not have Christmas without our caroling. For 25 years I visited over twenty homes with my little groups bringing joy to hundreds of people of God!
Another activity that the children of St. Nicholas School experienced during science classes was the actual planting of flowers and trees in the garden. Two linden (lypa) trees were given the school about two feet in height and these were planted along the Ringgold St. fence. Today, they are at least thirty feet high and are great beautiful shade trees. The two crepe myrtle trees on either side of the front doors of the church also beautify the area each autumn. People were always seen admiring the gardens of peonies, roses, Irises and all other flowers. The children vied with one another when planting tulip and daffodil bulbs claiming the most colorful, to be their own when they bloom. The children truly received the greatest education in the love of God’s nature!
A Sisters’ Choir was organized under the direction of the renowned musicologist, Myron Fedoriw and each Monday evening the Sisters from St. Nicholas, and St. Basil Schools would travel to Fox Chase for rehearsals, The Sisters produced three recordings: the Divine Liturgy sung by Fr. Leo Goldade, Ukrainian folk songs and Marian Hymns. The Divine Liturgy was greatly in demand especially for the home bound. The Sisters were also invited to sing the Liturgy in many Ukrainian parish churches.
From St. Nicholas School I was transferred to St. George in N.Y.C. Here I taught 5th and 6th grades as also a bandura ensemble of twenty children who performed for the annual festival. My sister in the convent, Sister Sophia Tharsilla suffered a stroke and after some time in the nursing home, seeing that her diet was totally neglected, with permishion I brought her to our convent and took care of her for the last two months of her life. These were difficult but very happy years caring for her every need under the most difficult circumstances.
Enroute to teach at St. George School, N.Y.S. in 1990 and leaving Chesapeake City at 5 a.m. on a rainy Monday with no signs visible I suffered a car accident. The diagnosis was not too promising since my back was severely broken and before me was either death or permanent paralysis. Due to the extensiveness of my injuries, I was instructed to get in touch with personal injury lawyers to see about making a compensation claim. If there was any way to remove the strain of having to find the money to pay for my medical bills, I was willing to do it. I just wanted the best recovery possible. But by the grace of God and the intercession of our great Servant of God, Andrew, I recovered and was able to function normally.
My full time teaching career was over but I became a promoter for the cause of beatification of Metropolitan Sheptycky for the next eight years. I traveled to the various parishes in the US lecturing, distributed literature and prayer cards and encouraging people to join the Prayer League to pray for the beatification of our Servant of God. In all, I traveled 350,000 miles by car alone and in all kinds of weather. I also made trips to the western coast by air. Hopefully, his beatification will be forthcoming according to the promise made by Pope John when visiting Ukraine.
I am still cataloging the many articles written in journals and newspapers about our Servant of God as these must all be preserved for the archives! Each copy must be reproduced on paper lasting over a hundred years and it is very time consuming but I have hope it will be completed.
Since God preserved my life after the accident I felt that I should show my gratitude in some way and was inspired to visit the orphans in Ukraine to bring them some joy. With the gracious consent of my superiors, permission was granted. For the past 16 years I have been working with the orphans during the months of July and August. I have traveled far and wide and could write a book on my great experiences there.
To see the children’s faces beaming with joy upon receiving little gifts, bananas (which many never tasted!), cookies, journals plus so many other things – is my greatest reward. One must be truly strong emotionally to visit the psychotic and incurable cripples! The poverty of many really unbelievable and I was happy to have been able to supply 150 sets of dishes and silverware for an almost destitute orphanage in “Novomykolayivsk, Zaporizzhia”
It is only through the generosity of God’s good people that I am able to so this work for His glory. Everything I purchase for the children is possible only because of their gifts offered and therefore I have Divine Liturgies offered at our miraculous shrines of their intentions and good health in gratitude! I am especially grateful for my dear cousin, Miriam Moody, for sponsoring my trips these many years!
Besides visiting the many hundreds of orphans, I also have been given permission by the Bishop Ordinary to speak about the Servant of God, Andrew, in parish churches, to classes of children and seminars. I also recall that during the all night vigil on the anniversary of our Servant of God’s birthday in Prylbycha, his birthplace, I was asked to give a talk about his virtues. This I did at 1:30 a.m. This also occurred in the village of “Pohoni” where I spoke at 2 a.m. My work load in Ukraine is extremely versatile and fulfilling and I am most grateful for the opportunity of serving.
For many summers, at the request of the pastor I was able to teach religion to the village children. At least a thousand booklets were distributed to orphans and village children about our great Servant of God, Andrew so that they would know him and also pray fir his beatification.
Among the many groups visited were the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts, the psychotic, incurable cripples, victims of Down’s syndrome, sanitariums, summer camps, orphans and children vacationing, an many, many others in all area of Ukraine. Working with people living with substance abuse issues was not always easy. These individuals often had to complete a drug test and other rehabilitation methods at home to make sure that they did not relapse and start using alcohol or drugs again. Seeing their progress was incredibly rewarding though. I am grateful for individuals who assisted me as it would have been impossible for me to distribute everything alone: my sister Veronica Tokash, Oksana Leseiko, Dr. Liza Pilch and Christine Smith.
I take the opportunity of offering to teach anyone desiring to play a music instrument and many Sisters took advantage of this offer, although short. I taught the Sisters: “In the Cathedral of St George”, Sister Laura’ masterpiece which they performed in Prylbychi, and in the monastery of the Basilian Fathers in Krechiw. It was interesting that the performance in Prylbychy was sung with the Sisters on the stage and the piano (keyboard) accompaniment played fifty feet away in the bus parked on the street! How this performance ever turned out successfully was truly a miracle of our Servant of God, Andrew! Several years later this cantata was perfected by Sister Laura and the Sisters had the opportunity of coming to the states to sing in the various Ukrainian parishes.
Currently, I am stationed in St. George parish, N.Y.C. where I am engaged teaching religion and art in the classes as also a bandura ensemble and being the head cook for the Sisters.
Next year will be seventy years that I am serving Christ in the convent and I have no way of expressing my gratitude adequately except to continue serving Him as long as it is His good pleasure. I do not attribute any success in any undertaking to anyone except God who gave me the initiative, health and energy to do this work and the good people who encouraged me along this path. Blessed be His holy Name now and forever!
Another experience with the children of St. Nicholas School was the opportunity for the bandura ensemble to perform on the Al Albert’s Show and Captain Noah’s program on television. The children were driven to the studio and had the unique privilege of entertaining the listeners of these two programs. Many positive comments were received after their performance!
I am exceedingly grateful to my community of the Sisters of Saint Basil for all of the opportunities offered me throughout the years, all of the spiritual benefits received from my sanctification and the privilege of reaching put to so many children and people in my lifetime!
Autobiography of Sister Joann Victoria Sosler, OSBM
It was on January 22, 1941 that Johanna Victoria Sosler became a member of the family of Joanna and Victor Shyshaijlo and their fourteen year old daughter, Olga, and ten year old daughter, Irene Marcella. On that day Johanna also became a member of a larger community, Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church in Hamtramck, Michigan. These personal and Church communities have supported her with their prayers, their love and relationships which continue to remain steadfast and strong.
As a member of Immaculate Conception Church Joann Victoria Sosler lived with her parents, Joanna and Victor Sosler, and her sisters in Hamtramck and later in Detroit, Michigan. Her life was primarily influenced by the Church Community, her family and by the education that she received at Marshal Pilsudski School on Roosevelt Street, Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic School on Grayling and McDougall Streets and Hamtramck High School on Hewitt Street. Having completed 12 years of education in Hamtramck, Michigan, Joann V. Sosler was escorted by her father in September, 1958 to Fox Chase, Pennsylvania where she became intimately acquainted with the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, their life, their spirituality and their ministry.
For the next six years Sister Joann’s spiritual, intellectual and psychological formation continued with various mentors as it continues into the present. Her formal education for the ministry of education continued through Manor College, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, St. John’s University, St. Louis University and Fordham University where she received her B. S. and M. S. in teaching of Mathematics.
Throughout these years Sister Joann Sosler, OSBM shared her expertise and wisdom with faculty and students at St. John the Baptist School in Newark, NJ, St. John the Baptist School in Northampton, Pennsylvania, St. George’s Elementary School and St. George Academy in New York, New York, St. Basil Academy, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, in Fox Chase, Pennsylvania and Holy Ghost School in Chester, Pennsylvania. Sister shares her care and compassion with the sick and infirm at Jeanes Hospital where she weekly dedicates one day as a volunteer hospital chaplain. Her accomplishments and her blessings have been many throughout these years. It is for these blessings that she celebrates and gives thanks and asks for inspiration and energy for her continued commitment to service and the strengthening of the Kingdom of God through the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great.
Her prayer remains, “Who am I, O Lord, and who is my family that You should have brought me to this place and time?” “I shall praise you forever.”
People who have influenced her life: Sisters Cornelia, Bernarda, Theophane, Leontia and Laurence, OSBM as well as Msgr. Knapp, Bishop Joseph Schmondiuk, Bishop Joseph Pepe, and Bishop Joseph Galante.