Joan Patricia Lonergan, CSJ

We remember her in the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter

October 2, 1938 – February 20, 2021

Joan Patricia loved her life as a Sister of St. Joseph which she lived faithfully for 63 years.  She loved her family, her sisters, Joan and Mary, her brother George, her nine nieces/nephews and her 16 grandnieces/nephews.  And she loved her friends!

Joan loved teaching, camping, especially the camping escapades with her nieces and nephews and Martina’s nieces and nephew, nature, book publishing, assisting Martina at the Motherhouse and tutoring. I think Rosina would agree that her favorite place was Disneyworld. I am sure she could have gotten a job there as a tour guide.

Rita Susan was born in Boston, the second oldest of four children to George and Alice Lonergan.  Her siblings, Joan, Mary and George, adored their sister Rita.  She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph after high school from her home parish, St. Patrick’s, Roxbury.

 Her ministries included teaching in schools in Medford, Allston, Newton, Somerville, Framingham, Brighton.  Her published curriculum, I AM A GOOD PERSON, was piloted in schools throughout the diocese of Boston and beyond.

 The number of children, parents, and teachers that were empowered by her philosophy of celebrating each person’s goodness, gifts, and strengths is innumerable!  She taught children to love themselves first and then they could achieve anything they wanted.

 A psychologist of one of Joan’s 6th-grade students told the principal that the boy’s self-image had improved more during the three months he had been in Joan’s classroom than during his three years of counseling him.

 After Joan’s death, I received an email from the former Property Manager at Bethany Hill Place in Framingham, who said of Joan, “I recall S. Joan Patricia fondly.  I remember her wonderful, wicked, cool sense of humor and, of course, her heart and soul chock full of love”.

 As Sisters of St. Joseph, we are called to be a healing presence among God’s people. Joan certainly excelled in empowering and healing others through her ministry of positive thinking.

 Joan had great devotion to and a deep love for Mary – the Mother of God.  Mary was her faithful companion and Joan introduced many a student to her as a loving Mother.  She always had a medal of the Blessed Mother to give to students assuring them that this Mother would companion them throughout their life.  When she moved to Bethany, one of the first things that she said was: “I love my room because when I look out my window, I see the statue of Mary”. 

One can only imagine the welcome Joan received as she completed her journey and made her way home.

 Given by Denise Kelly, CSJ