From volunteer to vows
Sister Christina Brodie made her final Profession of Lifelong Vows as a canonical Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia at 4 p.m. Aug. 2, 2019, in the Sacred Heart Chapel in the Nazareth Motherhouse surrounded by family members from across the country, sisters and friends.
The theme of her celebration of profession was “With One Desire Only,” based on Maxim 73: “Live out your life with one desire only; to be always what God wants you to be, in nature, grace, and glory, for time and eternity.”
Sister Christina’s path to making her final vows was a long one, with many unexpected twists.
“Seven years ago I arrived in Concordia as a volunteer to help start a new ministry for the Sisters of St. Joseph,” Sister Christina said. “Prior to arriving, the sisters had spent three years on a task force researching rural poverty in the region and exploring programs that could be adapted for this new ministry.”
She applied for a full-time volunteer position, as the coordinator of the then-new Hands Across Our Community program.
“Hands Across Our Community is a ministry that would not give a hand out, but a hand up through mentoring families and individuals through education … helping people learn how to create a better life for themselves and their children through budgeting, obtaining jobs, nutrition, child development, cooking healthy and inexpensively and many other topics as well,” Sister Christina said of the ministry she continues to coordinate.
After applying for the volunteer position, she visited Concordia in October 2012. It was her first time visiting Kansas.
“The first day I came was Oct. 15, which is our Founder’s Day. I spent a week here, and attended a forum where I met all of the social service providers in the community,” Sister Christina said. “When I left, I knew in my heart I had found home.”
Within a month, she had moved to Concordia, was living with Sisters of St. Joseph at Manna House of Prayer — and had become a candidate for membership in the congregation.
“It was a God thing,” Sister Christina said. “God led me here.”
In June 2015, she was received into the congregation as a novice — and then would spend from August to May 2016 in the Sisters of St. Joseph Federation Novitiate, studying and living with four other novices from the U.S. and Canada. On June 11, 2016, she made her initial vows into the community.
An unusual journey
Sister Christina is a native New Yorker who says she “fell into advertising” as a career. After graduating from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, with a degree in history and communications, she went to work for the New York ad agency Lowe Marschalk. By 28, she was the youngest vice president in the company.
She had married while in college, and in 1986 her son Christopher was born. Then, although still working the long hours required of an ad executive on the rise, her priorities began to change, she said: “My guilt-ridden Italian-Catholic kicked in; I realized I didn’t ever see my son.”
It was also during that time that her marriage ended, and she petitioned for and received an annulment through the Church.
With the hope of finding a slower-paced life, she quit her job and moved her toddler son and mother to Florida. Then she returned to work, for McFarland & Drier Miami, and later with Office Depot as the vice president of advertising at its world headquarters in Delray Beach, Fla.
In 2006, she returned to New York and a position as partner and group planning director with Maxus Global, a part of the GroupM media agency network.
She also began attending Manhattan’s St. Francis of Assisi Church and in time joined the Third Order of St. Francis, a fraternity of Catholic men and women often called Secular Franciscans.
After a handful of years with Maxus Global, Sister Christina realized it was time for another change — and this one might very well be the most dramatic so far. First she returned to Florida but remained with the New York City agency by “telecommuting.”
Then she developed a plan to pay off all her debt and divest herself of all but the most basic belongings.
When she was finally ready — with only the possessions that would fit in her car — she started searching the Catholic Volunteer Network for a full-time position where she could live as part of a religious community.
And that’s when she found the ad for the Sisters of St. Joseph Concordia, and now she is the newest sister to profess her final vows.
Sister Christina professed her vows alongside Sister and President Jean Rosemarynoski, CSJ. Sister Jean bestowed the ceremonial ring and cross upon her during a ceremony during the Mass. Father Jim Dallen offered a special blessing of Sister Christina at the end of the service. Music was provided by Sisters Bethy Suther and Dian Hall and Teresa Hernandez and CSJ candidate Sarah Ganser.
When asked if she had any regrets, she quickly answered, “None. These are the best years of my life, besides raising my son.”
“I’ve never felt so overjoyed with how my life has evolved,” Sister Christina said. “It is beyond amazing.”
“I want to thank my family, friends and my Community for all their love and support. And most of all, I would like to thank my mother, Annie, for all the love, support and nurturing along this amazing journey,” Sister Christina said.