collage of photos from sr. suzanne's retirement

What Would Sr. Suzanne Do?


Nearly four decades ago, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, guided by the compassionate leadership of Sister Suzanne Sassus, CSJ, created a grantmaking foundation to advance their sacred mission of caring for their dear neighbor, those living furthest from justice. Sister Suzanne and a dedicated group of sisters established roots in Orange County, becoming architects of positive change in the community. Today, as the needs of communities evolve, the Fund carries forth the torch ignited by these visionary sisters, a legacy that has flourished under the unwavering stewardship of Sr. Suzanne.


Sr. Suzanne’s retirement from the board of directors creates a profound void, for her boundless compassion, deep empathy, and visionary approach to community engagement have left an indelible mark on our journey. Yet, in the face of this void, we pledge to uphold her vision and perpetuate her tireless efforts in constructing communities that are more whole and have the capacity to flourish, hope, love, and grow – a promise we will fervently keep.


With every challenging decision, strategic program choice, and directional shift for the Fund, we will continue to seek inspiration by asking ourselves: “What would Sr. Suzanne do?”


Her retirement celebration in mid-December marked not just a farewell but an announcement of our commitment to honoring her legacy. We proudly revealed our pledge to four organizations that held a special place in her heart:

  • San Francisco Homeless Pre-Natal Program – empowers homeless and low-income families, particularly mothers motivated by pregnancy and parenthood, to find within themselves the strength and confidence they need to transform their lives.
  • Share Our Selves (SOS) – provides high-quality, comprehensive safety net services to the Orange County community.
  • Save Our Youth (SOY) – provides a safe space for teens to find hope, nourish a sense of self and an ability to grow, and develop interests and skills to become productive members of society.
  • Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation – addresses the needs of the working and indigent poor in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Humboldt County.


Sr. Suzanne’s absence will be deeply felt each day, yet her spirit will resonate through the Fund’s ongoing celebration of her legacy. We promise to perpetuate her vision by placing community expertise at the core, nurturing partnerships rooted in love, and building lively, hopeful, healthy, and just communities.


This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.