Sister Profile: S. Joan Whittemore

Sister Joan Whittemore
Sister Joan Whittemore

Sister Joan at a recent radio interview promoting her new book.

Sister Joan Whittemore: musician, author, teacher and CSJ. It would be an understatement to say Sister Joan has a lot on her plate, her most recent endeavor being publishing her new book entitled Maestra: The Legacy of Fiora Corradetti Contino.  Somehow she found time to share some of her experiences and answer some quick questions!

What was your motivation/inspiration in entering the CSJ community? 
I wanted to help people, and I saw that the Sisters of St. Joseph really cared about each other and the people to whom they ministered.

When did you know you had made the right decision in joining the CSJ community?
From the very beginning!

What is your favorite ministry you have served in or been involved with?
The Carondelet Children’s Chorus and the Carondelet Women’s Chorus.

What experience shaped you most as a person of God?
I would have to say that it was my sixth and eighth grade teacher, Sister Joan Marie Gleason, who told us that she wanted us to fall in love with the Lord.  Now that is either an insane thing to say to junior high kids or really gutsy. She taught me to love the Eucharist.

Who do you look up to and why?
Sister Joan Marie Gleason because of her great love of God and the dear neighbor. She really cared.

Do you have any “Aha!” moments that gave you a new perspective on the world?
Sister Julie Harkins, SSJ taught us the meaning of Gospel perfection, which is the readiness to take the next step however small. Looking at the entire mountain is intimidating and discouraging, but taking the next step is possible. The readiness is all.

What would you say is the most important societal or worldly problem we face? Why?
We have to figure out how to protect and share the resources of our earth and realize that in this country we are all immigrants or children of immigrants, that we are all here on library cards and none of us owns anything. We have to learn to care for those who are less fortunate than we are, to care for them and protect them because they are the dear neighbor.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel and read medieval mysteries: Sister Fidelma Series, Alan Gordon, Michael Jecks, Donna Leon and Anne Perry.

What did you want to be when you were younger?
What I am now, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet and a music teacher.

What was your favorite subject in school?
English.  I had some great teachers: Sister Rosemary Flanigan, Sister Jarlath McManus and Sister Rose Salome.

Where have you traveled?  
I have traveled to Europe. Venice, Italy is my favorite place because of the music, art, architecture and the history.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  
Denver, Colorado.  I cannot get enough of the mountains!  “Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?”

What is your favorite book or movie?
My favorite book is My Several Worlds by Pearl Buck. My favorite movie is The Mission with Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson and Robert De Niro.

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