After leaving the convent 33 years ago, I found myself return to it once again.
From May 26 until July 5, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth have invited me to stay with them at their center while I complete some work projects here in Kalamazoo and before I make my move to France to serve in the International Centre of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Le Puy-en-Velay.
It has truly been a pleasure being with the sisters whom I have known and loved since 1975 when I entered the community. It is also good to be back at Nazareth, a place that I revere as a holy place.The sisters, who are famous for their hospitality, made me feel at home and a welcome part of their community.
Then the ultimate happened. After Mass on Friday, June 30, the sisters gave me a farewell blessing on my new ministry in France. (On the left is Fred, one of the CSJ Associates, who attended the Mass and ceremony. So good to receive support from sisters and associates!)
Sister Rita Ann (center) asked Sister Betsy (not shown) for a song for me and Betsy ended up writing a little ceremony. Sister Rose joined us for a photo after the Mass and ceremony.
The sisters put together a display and of Le Puy, the small village in France where the sisters were founded in 1650. That's where the International Centre is and it's the place where I will spend the next 2 years. Below is a close-up shot of the display.
Under my photo it said:
Olga Bonfiglio, Associate and part-time archive assistant at our Nazareth Center, will become the first lay staff member at our International Centre in Le Puy, France. In telling Lisa Gibbon, our Congregation Archivist, about this new role, Olga said: "It's truly an honor and a privilege to represent the CSJs in Le Puy as well as an exciting journey for me!"
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My room at Nazareth became a sorting station after I moved out of my condo. Because I still had too many things, I boxed up a few more items to give away to Deacon's Conference and stored other things with a friend.
That will leave me with only one big suitcase, a duffel bag, my purse, maybe a backpack to take with me on the plane.
I shipped 2 boxes to France via the U.S. Postal Service.
Patty at the Nazareth Post Office helped me send my 2 boxes. And, they arrived safely in France in just one week!