Charism and Mission Living Together

Hearts reach out to a world in need.

Charism is a gift that flows from God’s love to the world. Reflecting God’s love, 350 years ago, six women gathered on a daily basis to share their hearts and serve their neighbor’s needs. These women were dedicated and responsive to the needs of the day. In 1650, they formally became the Sisters of St. Joseph, fulfilling God’s love by “uniting neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God, without distinction.”

Elms College lives this charism through our core values of faith, community, justice and excellence in an effort to manifest change in the world and in our lives. All are welcome on the journey to unite with us in responding to the world.

We provide experiences of faith formation, spiritual exploration, cultural awareness, and educational experiences that are reflective of Elms mission. We challenge you to look closely at how you interact in classes, at jobs, in relationships, in the community and the world. The goal of reflection is to find the spiritual underpinning in a lesson or an idea and  to leave yourself open to a change of attitude or action in your daily life.

In short, we journey with each other, transforming into better versions of ourselves.

Worship and Reflection

Looking for a quiet place for peaceful contemplation? Students have access to the Chapel, our worship space, as well as other reflection areas: an interfaith prayer room, the reflecting pond and Mary statue, and the 9/11 Memorial Cross.

St. Joseph Chapel

St. Joseph Chapel

Photo of St. Joseph Chapel

St. Joseph Chapel, dedicated to our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph, is the heartbeat of the college campus world and is located in Berchmans Hall. Daily and weekend Masses are offered. Sitting in the Chapel, kneeling in prayer for Eucharistic adoration or attending Mass, the Chapel provides that reflective, prayerful space to gather our thoughts and offer our prayers.   

Interfaith Prayer Room

Interfaith Prayer Room

The interfaith prayer room, located in the lower level of the library, offers a quiet, out of the way area for prayer and reflection. 

Reflecting Pond

Reflecting Pond

The reflecting pond was created in memory of an alum who has been generous to the college over the years.  The statue of Mary was relocated from the athletic field where she watched over many a game throughout the years. This area provides a quiet space to listen to the trickle of water, to view the burst of colors, and to sit and contemplate for a few minutes out of your busy day.

Statue of Mary

Statue of Mary

Statue of Mary in front of Berchmans Hall

On the front lawn of Elms College, facing toward the world, is a Statue of Mary which reminds us of our Catholic identity welcoming diverse students seeking a holistic, global education. This is the hallmark of a Catholic education today.

9/11 Memorial Cross

9/11 Memorial Cross

The 9/11 cross was established in 2002 in remembrance of those who died in the events of September 11, 2001. The steel beams are duplicates of those used to build the Twin Towers.  We gather each year to recall and reflect on the violence and terror that happened on 9/11 to pray for peace in our broken world.

On-Campus Liturgy

The celebration of Mass is at the heart of our Catholic identity. Together as one, we gather to celebrate our faith. Liturgy lifts our hearts and minds to God. Strengthened and inspired by the Holy Word, and receiving Jesus in Eucharist, we are sent forth to “love and serve the dear neighbor.” The Liturgy actively reminds us that “as we pray, so we believe, and so we live.”

Students serve as lectors and Eucharistic ministers. Mass is celebrated daily on Tuesday-Friday at 12:15 p.m. in St. Joseph Chapel. Weekend mass is celebrated on Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. Daily Readings

Sacrament of Reconciliation may be scheduled by appointment by contacting Father Mark Stelzer at .

Eucharistic Adoration

Eucharistic Adoration is a time set aside for personal prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is placed in a monstrance on the altar so that all may encounter our Lord, fully present under the appearance of simple bread. All are welcome for a time of reflection and spiritual renewal.

Fontbonne Scholars

Fontbonne Scholars are full-time undergraduate students who wish to explore the mission of the college and the charism of the college’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph. Through study, reflection, and participation in various activities, Fontbonne Scholars live out their faith in daily interactions, create a welcoming environment in encouraging others to become involved in campus activities, and integrate the college’s mission and SSJ charism in their personal and professional life.

Soup and Substance

The Soup and Substance series is a monthly lunchtime meeting during which Elms College staff, students, and faculty are invited to share their spiritual journeys with their peers. This series, organized by Campus Ministry, has become a popular forum where the topics of faith and spirituality can be discussed in a safe, supportive and receptive environment.

Agape Latte

Sacramental Formation

Rites of Christian Initiation (RCIA)

The RCIA program welcomes all members of the Elms College Community who wish to explore Catholic spirituality and who wish to become fully initiated in the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation). The program is also open to Catholics who wish to complete their sacraments of initiation. All Elms members who are interested or would like to receive more information, please contact the Office of Campus Ministry.


The Confirmation program at Elms College through the office of Campus Ministry is available for all members of the Elms community who wish to receive the sacrament of Confirmation.

Registration is typically made available in the beginning of the spring semester. Those who have interest in celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation may contact the Campus Ministry Staff to receive more information. Submission of a copy of your baptismal certificate is required.


To schedule your wedding on the college campus, the bride and/or groom must be a member or alumna/nus of the Elms College community. To receive complete information on preparation and requirements for the sacrament of marriage at Elms College, please contact Father Mark Stelzer at 

Sisters Chat

As part of our desire to connect our students with Sisters of St. Joseph, twice each semester, a group of 10-12 students are invited, along with four Sisters of St. Joseph, to share lunch and conversation together. Students are invited to “lunch with a Sister” and are given some starter questions beforehand. Questions may include, “Why did you join the SSJs?” “What type of work have you done?” “What type of work do you do now? “What training did you receive?” “How has religious life changed for you over the years?”