Sister Joan Toomey, Maryknoll Sister For 66 Years, Dies At 84

Sister Joan Toomey died on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Maryknoll. She was 84 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 66 years.

Joan Toomey.
Joan Toomey. Photo Credit: Contributed

She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on Jan. 18, 1934 to Hazel (Warner) Toomey and Joseph J. Toomey. She had one sister, Elaine. Both parents and her sister have predeceased her.

In 1952, Joan graduated from Dominican High School in New Orleans. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate at the Maryknoll Sisters Center on Sept. 2, 1952, from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in New Orleans. 

At her reception, she received the religious name, Sister Lourdes Marie. She made her First Profession of Vows on Sept. 8, 1955, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center and her Final Vows on Sept. 8, 1961, at the Maryknoll Convent in Los Angeles, California.

Sister Joan stayed in New York for a few years after making her First Profession of Vows to work at the Maryknoll Seminary kitchen and study at Maryknoll Teacher College from 1956  to 1960; there she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. 

She was then assigned to teach at Maryknoll School for the Japanese in Los Angeles from 1960 to 1962.

In 1962, Sister Joan was assigned to Hawaii where she taught seventh and eighth graders math and science at the Maryknoll School in Honolulu’s Punahou district until 1969. 

That same year, she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center and worked in data processing; while studying at Pace University for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, which she received in 1973. 

From 1974 to 1981, she served as Manager of Computer Services and then as Director of the Development Department from 1980 to 1985, both at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. A woman of many talents, she also served as the Liturgy-Music Coordinator at the Maryknoll Sisters Center from 1974 to 1986.

In 1986, Sister Joan was assigned to the Hong Kong/Macau Region where she studied language and culture. She then became a full-time Lecturer in Computer Studies from 1989 to 1991 at Hong Kong’s Lingnan College. 

Also, from 1989 to 1995 she was elected Coordinator of the Maryknoll Sisters Regional Service Team and served as an active Board Member of the Maryknoll Convent School’s Educational Trust until 2002.

In 2003, Sister Joan returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center to work part-time as a volunteer in the Treasury/Special Projects Office until 2014 when she retired.

A Vespers Service for Sister Joan will be held at the Chapel of the Annunciation at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.

Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated in the same chapel at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. Interment will follow at the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery.

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