St. Joe Staff learn about the ‘Saint Katharina Effect’

St. Joseph Community Health Foundation staff recently had the opportunity to pause and reflect on the life and teachings of Saint Katharina Kasper, the foundress of the Foundation’s sponsor, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

Sister Joetta Huelsmann led the staff in a retreat at Lindenwood Center on the Donaldson campus, the home of the American province of the Poor Handmaids. Sister Carole Langhauser, responsible for mission integration for the Poor Handmaids, also joined the retreat.

Together, the group learned about Saint Katharina and how she listened to the “still small voice of the Holy Spirit” within her as she set about founding the religious congregation in Dernbach, Germany. Sister Joetta prompted the group to explore the Saint’s charism and the way in which she lived her calling to serve vulnerable and powerless people. She referenced the book Penniless Millionaire, written about Saint Katharina, where she is quoted as saying “The spirit of the community is the spirit of simplicity and humility. We are handmaids of Christ for the whole world.”

The day and a half retreat refreshed staff, allowing them to focus on why the St. Joe Foundation is here and how they should carry forward the mission of Saint Katharina.

“We learned that the ‘Saint Katharina Effect’ is really like ripples in a pond,” said Mark Burkholder, multimedia coordinator. “When we behave like Saint Katharina with love and humility, we encourage others to do the same, and that creates a more peaceful and just world.”