About Beyond the Habit

Sister Colleen Gibson and Sister Erin McDonald are both Sisters of St. Joseph. Both are deeply committed to having honest conversations, sharing information about their lives as sisters, and standing for social justice.

About Our Hosts

Sister Erin McDonald

Sister Erin McDonald, CSJ, serves as University Minister for Service and Social Justice at the University of Detroit Mercy. Prior to this she served as a case manager at Freedom House in Detroit where she worked with asylum seekers from all over the world, helping them settle and assimilate in the U.S. Sister Erin also spent two years ministering in Rwanda with Jesuit Refugee Services.
Originally from Massachusetts, Erin had an early connection with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. “When I was a child, my grandmother took me to work with her at St. Raphael’s Convent in Boston.  She sat me in the kitchen with her while she cooked for the sisters.  Those sisters influenced my earliest memories,” she recalls fondly.
During the summer of 2000, Erin came to Wheeling, WV, and connected with the Sisters of St. Joseph when she participated in the Volunteers in Mission Program. She later moved to Wheeling to complete her Bachelors in Psychology Degree at Wheeling Jesuit University, and later received her Masters of Social Work degree from West Virginia University, and her Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University New Orleans. She professed first vows with the Congregation in 2015 and final vows in 2019.

Sister Colleen Gibson

Sister Colleen Gibson, SSJ is a writer whose work has been published in various periodicals, including America, Commonweal, Give Us This Day, and the National Catholic Reporter. She is currently pursuing graduate studies at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and was a member of the founding ministry team of the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Center in Camden, New Jersey.

Her firm belief that each person’s story has the ability to reveal God’s presence in the world directs her efforts to bring people into dialogue with their own personal experiences, the stories of others, and the grace of God at work in the world. In addition to her writing, Sister Colleen shares her gifts as a speaker and retreat director, inviting participants to explore issues of call, spirituality, and culture from an Ignatian perspective.

A member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia, Sister Colleen professed final vows in 2019. When she isn’t studying, she enjoys writing poetry, riding her bike, exploring places through the lens of a camera, and good conversations with friends and family!