Homegrown sisters celebrate jubilees

Oct 26, 2023
Above is a stained glass window designed by Sister of St. Joseph Diane Couture. It is on display at St. Francis Assisi Church in New York City and commemorates the events of 9-11. (COURTESY)

ST. AUGUSTINE | Two Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine raised in Orlando and parishioners of St. Andrew Parish celebrate decades of their profession as religious — Sister Carolyn Tucker at 60 years and Sister Diane Couture at 50 years..

Born and raised in Orlando, Sister Tucker attended St. James Cathedral School and then Bishop Moore Catholic High School. “I loved my Catholic education and especially the Sisters (of St. Joseph) who taught me,” said Sister Tucker who graduated from Bishop Moore in 1963.

Sister Diane Couture

One of five children, she said attending Bishop Moore “definitely contributed” to her decision to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph. With the sisters teaching at both St. James and Bishop Moore, they often sponsored vocation days with trips to their novitiate in Jensen Beach on Florida’s east coast.

“These trips affirmed my decision to enter the convent,” she said. “I knew many of the sisters and they assisted in my preparation to enter after graduation.”

As a Sister of St. Joseph she served in both Catholic education as a teacher and principal for 20 years and as a counselor for Catholic Charities. In 1994, she earned a master’s degree in counseling, becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist and mental health counselor.

She currently volunteers at the St. Joseph Neighborhood Center, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of young, single mothers by helping them become economically independent.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of God in many ways — as a teacher, principal and most recently as a therapist,” she said. “I cherish all of the graces and opportunities that have come to me as a Sister of St. Joseph.”

Sister Carolyn Tucker

Sister Couture also grew up in Orlando, with her nine siblings. Like Sister Tucker, she was a parishioner of St. Andrew Parish and even attended St. Andrew Catholic School from the fourth to eighth grade. At the time, the school was under the administration of the Precious Blood Sisters who planted and nurtured the seed of vocation.

After graduating from college and managing two businesses, it was a religious friend of her grandparents who suggested she look into the Sisters of St. Joseph. Inspired by their hospitality and depth of spirituality, she entered the congregation in 1973.

Over the years she served in various social services roles including director of Florida Manor Nursing Home in Orlando. Coming from an artistic family, her abilities led to a request to create a stained-glass window lit from behind for the refurbishment of St. Catherine Labouré Manor in Jacksonville, where she had already begun restoring the woodwork. Knowing nothing about stained glass, she studied, and her skill took off. “From that point on my main purpose was to develop the spirituality of the arts,” she told Florida Catholic in 2002.

Sister Couture said she learned two important things since 1992 when her congregation allowed her to minister full-time using stained glass. “My purpose and that of my employees is first to serve in the ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph to unite people, break barriers, and build bridges. Second, I take a stance in my artwork to pay attention where God is leading through the development of an art project.” As an example, she noted working with parishes so their mission is reflected in the windows.

As she continues to direct St. Joseph Ministries Architectural Stained-Glass Studio in St. Augustine she notes, “The arts tend to bring you to a contemplative place of prayer, reflection and really paying attention that God dwells in every heart of every person.”

Staff Report, October 26, 2023