Who We Are

Who We Are (16)

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 11:31

PHJC Public Statement of Immigration

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Monday, 13 May 2013 16:25

Dignity and Respect for All

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The Poor Handmaids believe in respect for all ages, from children to seniors.

  • We believe all life on the planet is sacred and deserves respect and protection.
  • We believe human life is sacred throughout all stages of existence from conception to death.
  • We believe each person deserves respect and affirmation regardless of race, creed, sex, age, sexual orientation, status or ability.
  • We believe each person has rights and responsibilities and must be respected and treated fairly.
Monday, 13 May 2013 16:16


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Because of their caring for the Earth, the Poor Handmaids implemented a recycling program at the PHJC Ministry Center.

  • We believe the person who founded our community, Catherine Kasper, was profoundly humble and simple. Those engaged in Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ ministries express these virtues in their work.
  • We believe simplicity is the quality of singleness of purpose in one’s life.
  • We believe in the wise use and care for all resources.
  • We believe humble and simple persons rejoice in their gifts and the giftedness of others.
Monday, 13 May 2013 16:10


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The Poor Handmaids responded to the needs of the refugees in Ft. Wayne, IN with their newest ministry, Catherine Kasper Place.

  • We believe in responding to the needs of the time.
  • We believe justice demands advocacy on behalf of those in need.
  • We believe the mission of Jesus calls us to be faithful to the Catholic Church’s social principles.
  • We believe our ministry is adapted to the needs of others. We believe we are willing to serve wherever the needs arise.
  • We believe we will respond to challenges of the future, which will lead us to new ways of ministry.
Monday, 13 May 2013 15:55

Openness to the Spirit

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openness to the spirit
By listening to the needs of the homeless and underserved in Gary, IN, the Poor Handmaids opened Sojourner Truth House in 1997, which now serves over 2000 clients each month.

  • We believe in a faith-filled commitment to collaborate with others who embrace and share a common mission.
  • We believe PHJC ministry demands advocacy on behalf of justice.
  • We believe in attentive listening and courageous response.
  • We believe sharing ministry and nurturing leadership contributes to peace and love in the world.
  • We believe we will work most harmoniously with others who recognize and accept the truth of our gifts and limitations.
Friday, 05 November 2010 04:00

Our Symbol

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PHJC-LogoAs a spiritual symbol water is identified with baptism, linked to Christ in parables of service and joy. Water inspires us to reflection and meditation, becoming part of our living prayer.

As our community symbol, a rippling pool of water captures the broad impact created by a small force. And so it is within our ministry. Each action makes a difference. Its energies flow outward to become part of something bigger before returning to us. We move with the flow of life to do our work from our Christ-centered belief in the impact of love on the world.

Our symbol is rendered in natural blue colors with soft edge lines as a painter’s brush stroke. This reminds us of the human heart and human touch that guides all our work.


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Friday, 05 November 2010 04:00

Our Mission

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Called in Baptism to proclaim by our lives and our works the presence of God in the world, we Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ accept the invitation to live a vowed life in community.

We are inspired by Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and Saint Katharina Kasper, our foundress, to

listen prayerfully
live simply
serve joyfully

Empowered by the same Spirit, we women religious commit ourselves to

Resisting our fears, we dare to accept the challenges of the future. We go forward in hope and joy supported by the bond of community and the strength of prayer.

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ
Mission Statement of the American Province
November 1983
Reaffirmed June 1988

Friday, 05 November 2010 00:00

Our Foundress

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Catherine Kasper was born May 26, 1820 in Dernbach, Germany. Her parents were Henry Kasper and Katherine (Fassel). Her father had been married before and had four daughters. In his second marriage he and Katherine had four children: Peter, Christian, Catherine and Joseph.

As a young child of six, Catherine went to the school in her little village. Reading was the subject she liked most. She would help in the family's potato patch and with other tasks. Her mother taught her household chores as well as how to spin and weave fabric.

Often other children would gather around Catherine and they would visit a Marian shrine outside their village. They would sing on the way and Catherine would tell stories about God and Mary.

Catherine's father died when she was 21 years old. Because of the law, all the property went to the four children of the first wife, Anna Margaret Kasper, to the exclusion of the second Mrs. Kasper and her children. Catherine and her mother had to rent from the Matthias Müller family. Although Catherine's mother was 56 years old when her husband died, she was not in good health. Catherine worked the land and hired out for about 10 cents a day as a "farm hand."

Because she helped others in ordinary ways, other young girls were attracted by Catherine’s example of service. Together Catherine and four other women formed the religious community, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ when they pronounced the public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on August 15, 1851.

Their ministry continued throughout Germany and spread to England, the United States in 1868, the Netherlands, India, Mexico, Brazil, Kenya and Nigeria.

Catherine Kasper, known in religious life, as Mother Mary, died on February 2, 1898. Her good works and following the life of Christ caused the Catholic Church to name her Blessed Catherine Kasper on April 16, 1978, by Pope Paul VI. She was canonized as Saint Katharina Kasper on October 14, 2018, by Pope Francis

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Friday, 05 November 2010 04:00

Who We Are

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