In 1890, 30 years before women had the right to vote, the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph (CSJ) in Cleveland founded Saint Joseph Academy (SJA). They took a bold step to help young women in a growing Northeast Ohio meet the challenges of a new century in a faith-filled and nurturing environment.
Saint Joseph Academy shares in the charism of the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph, whose mission is to “live and work to bring all people into union with God, each other and all creation.” Unity. Reconciliation. “…that all may be one.” John 17:21
The Congregation of St. Joseph includes more than 500 vowed religious sisters, 71 of which reside in Cleveland, as well as 500 lay associates. The Congregation’s main office is located across from the Academy, allowing students and Sisters to build and maintain deeply rooted and faith-filled relationships.
A constant throughout the school’s history has been the spiritual influence of the founding Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph. The Sisters continue to have a significant impact on the young women at SAJ, serving as a constant reminder of God’s love and compassion found in all of God’s creations. Their inspiring leadership, compassion and guidance remain alive through the daily presence of Phyllis DiFuccia, a Sister of St. Joseph who also serves as the Vice President of Mission.
As a faith community rooted in the spirit of the Congregation of St. Joseph and teachings of Jesus Christ, we come together in the celebration of the Eucharist throughout the year. Our Christian Outreach & Religious Education (CORE) Ministry program includes:
Students take a theology class each year to grow in their faith and recognize the importance of God in their lives. Every student creates an online “faithfolio,” which is included as part of their final class assessment. The purpose of the project is for students to create a resource for further analysis of their coursework and reflection of their faith journey. Outside the classroom, students are encouraged to practice their faith through service and to nurture their faith journey through retreats.
Four years of spiritual development enable our students to embody the qualities of the “Character of a Saint Joseph Graduate,” a formalization of the philosophy that has guided the Academy since its founding. The five key qualities of the character of a Saint Joseph Academy graduate include: unifying love, empathetic justice, service to the dear neighbor without distinction, personal integrity and emerging wisdom.
Students are required to complete 20 hours of service a year. These hours are earned through volunteering at Saint Joseph Academy, students' parishes and in the community, including such groups as the Rape Crisis Center, Providence House, tutoring programs, the West Side Catholic Center and Youth Challenge. Students embracing "serving the dear neighbor" is reflected in the average of more than 27,600 hours served in the 2018-2019 academic year.
The students are given instruction, guidance and direction in the sharing of their faith as leaders of the many retreat programs provided. Students are expected to attend at least one class-level retreat per year.
As a faith community rooted in the spirit of St. Joseph, and the teachings of Jesus Christ, we come together in the celebration of the Eucharist in Liturgical gatherings throughout the year. In addition, students are encouraged to attend Mass in the Worship Space with the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph