Sister Josephine Marie Gonzales, Age 75

West Midwest

Monday, October 12, 2020

Sister Josie grew up in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Bakersfield, California, where she came to know the Sisters of Mercy. She worked in the business office of Mercy Hospital after high school, entered the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame, California, in 1974 and professed her vows in 1978.

She studied guidance and counseling at Cal State Northridge and at Gallaudet University, where she earned a master’s degree in counseling and guidance with a special emphasis on deaf ministry with Hispanics. Sister Josie was drawn to this ministry because her brother is deaf and, typically, she saw the need and the isolation of the deaf. She wrote years ago that, since their parents did not speak English or read or write Spanish, “Until his early teen years, gestures were my brother’s only form of communication.”

Her ministries included director of ministry to the Hispanic handicapped in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, ministry with Spanish-speaking deaf people in the Diocese of Orange, California, and social work in Los Angeles and Bakersfield. In 1991, Sister Josie earned an MA in social work from the Catholic University of America.

She always enjoyed gatherings of family and friends. “Josie loved to laugh and to make others laugh,” said Sister Gemma O’Keeffe, “and at the same time she was deeply compassionate and supportive of anyone who was in pain or in need of help.”

Sister Josie’s compassionate, generous spirit led her to be of assistance to anyone she saw in need. In her retirement, she kept busy doing errands for others and being a special support to family and friends.

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