Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph


Called by God into the Fraternity of Francis, we live in Simplicity, Servanthood, and Joy, renewing the spirit of Mother Colette Hilbert, "In all things Charity."

Current News

FSSJ Remember 9/11

Display at St. Francis Park

Sister Martha who served during the
aftermath of 9/11

For 18 years Sister Martha and the local group of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 put a flag in the lawn of Red Cross for every person who lost their life that day

Sr. Martha Marie Olszewski, FSSJ, volunteered at Red Cross, Buffalo, NY as a social worker.  At the time of 9/11 Red Cross called for social workers to go to serve those affected by the terrorist attacks in NYC.  Sister Martha responded.  This was her experience in her own words:

“I went to NYC as a Disaster Mental Health worker. While there I served at Canal St. My responsibility was to the workers as well as passersby.

“I remained in NYC for two weeks. One windy morning, as my day started, I was wearing my purple wind breaker. At one point I looked down and saw that my jacket was covered with ashes. I was taken aback because I thought to myself, what if these are ashes from some of the people who died. I stayed there praying to know what to do. God was there to take care of me and sent a strong wind which blew everything off.

My other task was at the site where folks came for services. Many people came looking for help to find housing. The smell and ashes were too much for some.  My experience as a teacher helped me to occupy the children while parents received services.  So many drew pictures of the plane hitting the Towers. Listening to them explain their feelings was heart breaking.

The Disaster Mental Health workers gathered each evening to “debrief”. These were very touching stories.”

When Sister Martha returned to Buffalo she became the leader, for 18 years, of a support group for all those in the Buffalo area who had loved ones killed at the Towers.  We, Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, are grateful for Sr. Martha’s courage and deep faith that helped her say yes to the request to go to NYC at a very challenging time.

The Sisters also prayed for the families of those who died on September 11 and our country at Mass that morning in chapel

Some Sisters at St. Francis Park love puzzles and others love football.  Both of these loves bring us together in fun and community.  The Sisters on the left, putting the puzzle together are Sr. Lucille Ann, Sr. Frances Angela and Sr. Joyce.  The picture on the right is the mascot of the football loving Sisters.  The Teddy Bear’s name is Riz and sits in front of the TV watching games with the Sisters.  The picture within the picture is a special time shared by some of the Sisters who attended an actual Bills game at the Orchard Park stadium.

The Sisters were happy to gather together to celebrate Founder’s Day with root beer floats, good conversation and much joy!                     Later in the day we gathered for Mass and prayed in gratitude for Mother Colette.

Season of Creation
Each year, particularly since the publication of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ (LS, 24 may 2015), the first day of September is celebrated by the Christian family as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and the beginning of the Season of Creation, which concludes on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi on the fourth of October. During this period, Christians worldwide renew their faith in the God of creation and join in prayer and work for the care of our common home.

Pope Francis states that the Season of Creation is a “season of increased prayer and effort on behalf of our common home.”

Season of Creation for 2021 theme is “A HOME FOR ALL?  RENEWING THE OIKOS OF GOD.” Oikos is the Greek word for “home,” or “household.”  By rooting our theme in the concept of oikos, we celebrate the integral web of relationships that sustain the well-being of Earth.

For more prayers, including the Laudato Si Chaplet and more, go to Catholic – Season of Creation

Commissioning of Chapter 2022 Delegates at the
2021 Forum

FSSJ Forum 2021:  We Embrace Our Sacred Journey
We Are Made for These Times

FSSJ Forum 2021

We gathered to pray over and discern our continued Spiritual Life, Mission, Community Life.  Reminding ourselves that we are called to care for all people and all creation. 

God is with us on our Journey,

And God will never leave us. 

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph are grateful for all those who have helped us to remain safe and healthy during the pandemic. In gratitude for all our health care staff has done for us Sister Deborah Marie Ciolek ordered a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of Jesus blessing a health care worker. After the Sisters put the puzzle together, Sister Lynne Anne Schimminger prepared it to be hung in the Care Community area of St. Francis Park as a gift to all the health care givers, nurses, Home Health Aides and Resident Care Aides.

Happy 65th and 60th Anniversary

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph gratefully celebrate the Sisters who have been faithful daughters of St. Francis, St. Clare and Mother Colette Hilbert:  (left to right front row) Sister Helen Dirig (60 years) Sister Stephen Hadrych (65 years) Sister Marie Stachowiak (60 years), Sister Richard Outcault (65 years).  (left to right, standing) Sister Ann Lyons (60 years), Sister Marcia Ann Fiutko (FSSJ General Minister), Sister Mary Beth Bejma (60 years).

Immaculata Academy has New Life as The Oaks at South Park

For 88 years the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph served God’s people by educating young women at Immaculata Academy in Hamburg, NY.  They are grateful that the new enterprise, The Oaks at South Park,  pays homage to the history of the property while offering beautiful, private “carriage house style” luxury apartments that will provide safe housing.  For more information on The Oaks go to Home

The picture on the right is the cornerstone of Immaculata Academy with some of the articles found in it.

Earth Day at St. Francis Park: Resource table, ambiance in chapel and presentation on the why and how to recycle

Sister Constance Santilla, FSSJ Appointed
FSSJ Global Concerns Coordinator

Sister Marcia Ann, General Minister of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, announced the appointment of Sister Constance Santilla, FSSJ, as the Global Concerns Coordinator for the congregation.  Sister Constance’s years of dedicated service in Brazil have demonstrated that she has a deep love and concern for those in our society who are underprivileged.  As Coordinator she will have access to information from the Franciscan Action Network, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations which she will be sharing with us.  LCWR has chosen to spend the next five years concentrating on systemic racism.  Its current resolution deals with the intersection of racism, climate change and immigration reform.  The community is grateful for Sr. Constance’s willingness to say yes to this position and is looking forward to advocating for those in need.

St. Joseph Our Provider


St. Joseph is Always with Us

The icon of St. Joseph to the far left is hanging in the dining room of St. Francis Park and was shared with all of us by Sister Ann Lyons, FSSJ.  The other is a picture of St. Joseph the Provider.  This statue was in one of the original homes that served as a convent for the Sisters when they started their teaching ministry at St. Joseph School in North Tonawanda.  Sr. Joyce Kubiniec, FSSJ, shared this.

St. Joseph, Our Companion

The statue on the left is one that belongs to Sister Emily Therese Bloom, FSSJ and is part of her collection of Nativity sets.

The statue on the right came to us when Sister Karen and Sister Loretta came to St. Francis Park from Trenton, NJ.  This was a special gift to the Sisters from a person who knew they both loved St. Joseph and that he is one of the patrons of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph
Joseph, Jesus and Mary

Unique Images of St. Joseph

The picture on the left shows St. Joseph holding Baby Jesus shortly after his birth while Mary rests.

The picture on the right shows St. Joseph, the carpenter, teaching Jesus the carpenter trade. 

Hilbert College announced that a new baseball field and a new softball field has been named the FSSJ Field Complex, in recognition of the College’s founding congregation, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSSJ).  The FSSJ Field Complex, which is slated to be completed for the Spring 2021 season, recognizes the generosity of the Sisters, whose sale of the property adjacent to Hilbert’s campus specified that the fields would be made available for Hilbert’s exclusive use.

Sister Benedicta Dega, FSSJ, received her award for being named as the NYSHFA Spiritual Guidance Volunteer of the Year. Sr. Benedicta’s motto is: Following our foundress, Colette Hilbert, I model her saying “In All Things Charity.” Sister has volunteered at Autumn View Health Care Facility in Hamburg, NY since 2015. Sister visits the sick, prays with those who desire to be prayed with, and facilitates Bible study groups. The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph are proud and grateful for the Franciscan Spirit Sr. Benedicta shares wherever she serves God’s people.


Each Franciscan Sister of St. Joseph is praying together or privately for our world at this time.  Some pray in Chapel, some in parlors.  Where or however we pray, God is with us.  Know that you and your families have us holding you tenderly in our hearts.

As St. Francis taught us by example, we not only pray when we pray together but our hope and our call is to “become a prayer.” It is something all followers of Jesus are called to do.

FSSJ News - Our Leadership Team
The Leadership Team of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph was elected at the Congregation’s 22nd General Chapter in July of 2018.

Elected were Sr. Marcia Ann Fiutko, General Minister, Sr. Jean Marie Cherry, General Councilor and Sr. Judith Elaine Salzman, General Councilor.

FSSJ Chapter Commitment

The Leadership Team will lead the members in fulfilling their Chapter commitment which reads in part: We… Embrace our Sacred Journey…to explore ways to embrace full participation in our community life, new expressions for our mission, and hope-filled plans for our future. We welcome God’s invitation to co-create our future possibilities for the common good of God’s people.


FSSJ News - St. Francis Park

Becoming St. Francis Park

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph have always been open to the Spirit of God and what God is asking of us at each time in history. In the 2000s the Sisters became more aware that we were being called to create a legacy of a new home – one that would be constructed in the Spirit of St. Francis’s love of creation and one that would allow us to open our home, our spirituality and our hope for the future to others. In 2010 the new Immaculate Conception Convent was built (LEED Platinum) at 5229 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, NY.

In 2018, Catholic Health purchased Immaculate Conception Convent and helped the Sisters’ vision become a reality with the opening of St. Francis Park, an independent living facility for seniors from all walks of life. We invite you to spend some time on this site to learn more.

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5229 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, NY 14075
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