A funeral Mass was offered Jan. 11 at Villa Assumpta in Baltimore for School Sister of Notre Dame Joan Hart, a teacher and advocate for social justice. Sister Joan died Jan. 1. She was 87.
Sister Joan was born in 1930 to parents of Irish descent in New York City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French from the College of Mount St. Vincent, New York, in 1951 and a master’s degree in French literature from Fordham University, New York, in 1957.
After college, she taught for two years in New York Catholic schools before entering the Ursuline Sisters as a postulant. Following the profession of her final vows in 1959, she served the community’s schools in New York and Maryland as a teacher and principal.
Her interests in social justice and peace led her to work for Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Sister Joan lived with the School Sisters of Notre Dames in Baltimore and Delaware for several years, where she was impressed with their charism, vision and community experience.
After 38 years as an Ursuline Sister, Sister Joan began the process of transferring to the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1994. She professed her final vows in 1997.
“I’ve never had a moment’s hesitation that this was right for me, and everything has ratified the choice I made in 1994,” Sister Joan is quoted in an obituary prepared by her order.
Sister Joan was the coordinator for a social development project for the U.S. Catholic Conference, Common Ground for the Common Good. She then served as the coordinator of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation activities for the Baltimore Province.
Articles written by Sister Joan were published for Catholic Relief Services and “Momentum,” the magazine of the National Catholic Education Association.