Though Sister Joyce Candidi celebrated 50 years of being a female religious in 2021, she is not too old to begin a new endeavor. After more than 20 years working at the Diocese of Youngstown in various roles—most recently as the director of the Office for Vowed Religious—she will be working as a general counselor of female religious for her order in Rome, starting this spring. The assignment is for six years.
A member of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sister Joyce came to the Diocese of Youngstown from Philadelphia and has been working for the diocese since July 2001. She became regional superior of her community the same year.
In the summer of 2023, Sister Joyce was nominated for her new role by the regional chapter of sisters at their six-year gathering. As a general counselor, she represents this region of the world within her community. There are six sisters who will be representing other regions.
“It is a honor to be elected to this position,” said Sister Joyce.
Her duties will include acting as an advisor for issues that come up with the institute of the Oblate Sisters or the congregation. She will also have the opportunity to visit the countries of the other general counselors, whom she will be living with in Rome.
“I worked as a missionary in India from 1992 to 1993. I look forward to returning there and visiting Brazil, among the other countries,” she said.
She will also be assisting the Mother General, so it is important that the general counselors live at the same location so that they can meet face-to-face and be available at a moment’s notice to call a meeting.
“During COVID, we met via ZOOM, but we had to be aware of the time zone differences of the other sisters. For four of our sisters, meeting times were sometimes 10:30 p.m. or midnight,” said Sister Joyce.
Sister Joyce is a little anxious about this new calling, but is ultimately excited.
“There is something very beautiful about religious life. When we truly believe that [a task] is what God wants, then it really does become a joy—even when it is challenging or difficult,” said Sister Joyce. “I know this is what the Lord wants … I have my little butterflies, but deep down, I know that God is with me. This is part of His plan and there is something very comforting in that.”