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Archives Sisters of the Cross to establish second community in the diocese

May 17, 2017

Bishop Terry R. LaValley has announced that the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod will open a second convent inChavanod the Diocese of Ogdensburg this summer. The Sisters of the Cross first came to the diocese from India in July 2009.

Bishop Robert Cunningham invited the Sisters to establish a convent in the diocese after extensive dialogue between members of the diocese and the religious order.

Msgr. John Murphy, then Moderator of the Curia for the diocese, together with Father Arthur LaBaff, Dean of Jefferson Deanery, and Sister Ellen Donahue, Delegate for Religious, represented the diocese in these dialogues.

After several meetings with Sister Veronica Fernandez, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of the Cross, and Sister Eugene D’Sousa, General Superior of the Sisters of the Cross, it was decided that the sisters would be a good fit for the diocese.

Sister Sheena arrives
The first Sister of the Cross to arrive in Watertown was Sister Sheena George Who came on July 29, 2009 and served as Catholic Chaplain at the Samaritan Medical Center under the direction of Father LaBaff.

During the early days of the sisters in the diocese, Sister Sheena lived at the Motherhouse at the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Sister Mary Maria Flavia D’Costa and Sister Maria Angelica Rebllo joined Sister Sheena in Watertown in December 2009.

The convent for the Sisters of the Cross was established at the former St Patrick’s Rectory on Ives Street in Watertown. Sister Maria Flavia replaced Sister Sheena as hospital chaplain, and Sister Maria Angelica was assigned to Holy Family Church as a Pastoral Associate.

Currently, the convent of the Sisters of the Cross is located at St. Anthony’s Church in Watertown.

Pastoral associates, chaplains
There are four Sisters of the Cross currently serve in the Watertown area as pastoral associates and chaplains.
Sister Jaquiline Mary Sellappan serves at St. Anthony’s Church and St. Patrick’s Church as a Pastoral Associate.
Sister Maria Angelica Rebello serves as a Pastoral Associate at Holy Family Church, and Sister Maria Flavia D’Costa continues as Catholic Chaplain at Samaritan Medical Center.

Sister Rosy Soosaira, a registered nurse, works in the emergency room at Samaritan Medical Center and supplies support for the sisters in the convent.

“The Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod have been a blessing for our diocese,” said Bishop  LaValley. “They have served the people of the Watertown areas so well since their arrival in 2009. The sisters are deeply loved and appreciated by all in that community”.

Further dialogue
In July 2016, Bishop LaValley invited further dialogue with the Sisters of the Cross.

Sister Caroline Fernandez, Provincial Superior of the Order, and Sister Eugene D’Sousa, Superior General, traveled to Ogdensburg to meet with Bishop LaValley and Sister Ellen Donahue, the Delegate for Religious.
“Our talks with the sisters went very well,” said Bishop LaValley. “Sister Caroline and Sister Eugene recognized how deeply the sisters serving in Watertown are loved, appreciated, and accepted. The superiors of the Sisters of the Cross could see that the Diocese of Ogdensburg and the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod proved to be a good fit for each other”.

While visiting the diocese, Sister Caroline and Sister Eugene also met with Msgr. Dennis Duprey, Fathers Scott Seymour, Timothy Canaan, Bill Reamer, Joseph Morgan, Douglas Lucia, and Kevin O’Brien about possible locations for the establishment of more convents in the diocese.

“The Superiors of the Order quickly perceived how wanted and needed the sisters are in our diocese,” said Sister Ellen Donahue. “Even before the visit was over, the Superiors were committed to sending more sisters to serve in our diocese.

Their visit and their response to Bishop LaValley’s invitation could not have been better,: Sister Ellen said.

Three new missionaries
As a result of their visit, Sister Caroline and Sister Eugene informed Sister Ellen Donahue that the order has three experienced sisters who are willing to serve as missionaries in the diocese.

These sisters are in the process of applying for required visas and immigration status for their work in the United States. The sisters are expected to arrive in July, depending on the completion of the immigration process.

The new convent will be established at what is currently the rectory in Cadyville, just outside Plattsburgh. One of the new sisters will be assigned by the order to the Watertown convent. The other two new sisters, and one sister from Watertown will open the Cadyville convent.

A happy day for the church
“The arrival of the sisters will be a happy day for the Church in the Plattsburgh area,” said Msgr. Dennis Duprey, Dean of the Clinton Deanery. “There is a great need for the presence of these religious women in our parishes, and I am greatly impressed by the holiness and the qualifications of the Sisters of the Cross who will be coming to us”.

Msgr. Duprey said that all the sisters who will be assigned to the Cadyville convent will serve as pastoral associates in area parishes.

One of the sisters will be assigned to the parishes of Morrisonville, and Cadyville under the leadership of pastor, Father Scott Seymour.

A second sister will be pastoral associate shared by the three parishes in the City of Plattsburgh, St. Peter’s, St. John’s, and Our Lady of Victory. The third sister will be a pastoral associate for the parishes of St. Mary’s in Champlain, and St. Patrick’s in Rouses Point, under the leadership of Father Clyde Lewis.

Details of the sisters’ job descriptions are being worked out between the parishes and the religious order.

“There is so much that the sisters can do for us,” said Msgr. Duprey. “We have a busy hospital where visits need to be made, together with several nursing homes that require attention. Additionally, the sisters can help with our Youth Ministry, Faith Formation, and in so many other ministries.”

Spiritual presence
“The Clinton Deanery is blessed to welcome a new convent of religious to our area,” Msgr. Duprey said. “It will provide a unique spiritual presence in Cadyville, in addition to enhancing our spiritual life throughout the Clinton Deanery”.

Sister Ellen said, “Everything is falling into place. This is an exciting time for our diocese. We are so fortunate to have additional Sisters of the Cross coming to serve in our diocese”.

“I am so grateful for the positive and generous response we received from the Sisters of the Cross”, said Bishop LaValley. “They have served us well in Watertown and are deeply loved by everyone in that community.

“I am also grateful to Sister Ellen Donahue, Msgr. Duprey, Fathers Scott Seymour, Timothy Canaan, Bill Reamer, and Clyde Lewis for their willingness to welcome the sisters and to accept their ministry.” the bishop said. “ We are truly blessed”.

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