March 13, 2024 at 10:07 a.m.

FULFILLING THE VISION

CATHOLIC SISTERS WEEK: From spiritual and pastoral care to administrator for parish life and everything in between, Sister Mary Jo Tallman has always loved her ministries.
Sister Mary Jo Tallman (from l.) is shown with Shaker Pointe residents Katherine M. Underwood and Paula White. (Photo provided)
Sister Mary Jo Tallman (from l.) is shown with Shaker Pointe residents Katherine M. Underwood and Paula White. (Photo provided)

By Melissa Phillips, CSJ | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Sister Mary Jo Tallman is originally from Hudson Falls. For over 34 years, she lived out her ministry in the Albany Diocese in Herkimer County serving as the Director of Faith Formation and Pastoral Care at Annunciation Parish in Ilion for 14 years and then as Parish Life Director at Blessed Sacrament Church in Mohawk for 20 years. She also served as the Director of Faith Formation for four parishes in Herkimer County. From spiritual and pastoral care to administrator for parish life and everything in between, she has always loved her ministries. To say her vocation has been fulfilling would be an understatement.

About two years ago, Sister Mary Jo felt called to move in a different direction and prayed about it for quite some time before making the move back to Latham. Upon the retirement of Sister Mary Anne Rodgers, CSJ, Sister Mary Jo Tallman was appointed to serve as resident coordinator at Shaker Pointe at Carondelet.

Her role as resident coordinator is simply put by her as “anything that enhances the life of the residents.” On a typical day, she says, “I open the door and listen to the messages on my machine, and that is what the day will hold.” She explained that this can be anything from calling a resident’s family member to notify them their loved one has been taken to the hospital, being a friendly visitor to someone who may be lonely, helping residents navigate through the health care system and providing resources, to setting up presentations and guest speakers to educate residents on different topics. Shaker Pointe is designed for independent living, but emotional care and support are something residents are certainly not lacking.

Sister Mary Jo always has her eyes, ears and door open. It is not just emotional support that she provides; she makes available canes, rollators and other equipment that may meet a resident’s need. She coordinates vaccine clinics, support groups, group engagement, conversation and spiritual opportunities.

She has a degree in religious education and pastoral care, plus years of administrative skills, which she feels have equipped her for this position. When new residents move in, she always takes time to encourage them to network and find others to attend activities and dinner with. Her goal is to “keep an eye on people.” When Shaker Pointe was being developed, the Sisters of St. Joseph intended to have someone in a position to support its residents. It is clear that this vision continues to be fulfilled.

Sister Mary Jo finds every aspect of her service at Shaker Pointe rewarding. She enjoys just being there for people. She says, “Working at Shaker Pointe is fun. When I go home and do a self-examination on my day, I always say, ‘It was a good day Lord, thank you.’ As we say at Shaker Pointe, ‘It’s a good day in the neighborhood.’ ”

Melissa Phillips, CSJ, is the Director of Mission Advancement and Communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.


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