Sister Joanne Frey

Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Sister Joanne holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Religious Education from Catholic University. Her ministries in religious education have ranged from migrant workers in Texas to scholars at major universities.

When she entered the Community, she expected that she would be teaching religion to children rather than becoming a teacher of teachers, many of whom were Sisters and seminarians. “Of course,” she says, “I taught children, too, because in order to prepare teachers one has to know how to teach the children.” One child taught by Sister Joanne was Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. Mrs. Kennedy asked Sister Joanne to be Caroline’s first instructor in religion—it was 1963, the year in which President Kennedy was assassinated.

In addition to Washington, D.C., her missions have taken her to Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Newton, Massachusetts, where she spent two decades as a pastoral associate at St. Bernard’s Parish. “These were the most fulfilling years,” she recalls. “I was encouraged to minister according to my heart’s desires and I was very much involved with parents and the teaching of their children.”

Sister Joanne served as General Director (President) of the Community for eight years. She is now retired, and, following a slight stroke, is living in the assisted living unit of Stella Maris.