meet the prinsters


Joe Prinster and Mary Kay Braccio with their children, from left to right: Teresa, Christopher and Ana, along with family pet, Bodi.

From the first day Mary Kay Braccio and Joe Prinster, Jr. met in the baritone horn line of University of Notre Dame’s marching band and to each day of their nearly 30-year marriage, the couple has shared their lives and love of community—together.

 When they aren’t working, Mary Kay, a school psychologist, and Joe, a civil engineer, are busy raising three children from their “friendly yellow house” in Boulder, Colo. Ana, adopted from Romania, enjoys tennis and attends St. Norbert College in Green Bay, Wis. Teresa, a sophomore in high school, loves softball, skiing and country music. Sixth grader Christopher, their youngest who was adopted from China, plays saxophone, piano and lacrosse.

 Busy with homework, music practice, events and activities, they still make time for volunteering, an important part of their family life.“We seem to always be volunteering for the organizations that we care about or that benefit our family and community,” says Mary Kay.

Their involvement with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet began through Sister Marianne Keena, CSJ, who was the director of Adult Religious Education at their parish, Sacred Heart of

Mary in Boulder. “I vividly remember Sister Marianne coming into church at the end of Mass dressed in a clown costume, carrying a bunch of balloons and making all kinds of racket about adult religious education,” Mary Kay says. 

Their work on the RCIA team brought them closer to Sister Marianne, who became a part of their family, participating in all of their children’s baptisms and first communions, and supporting them through the loss of their first child. With the recommendation of Sister Marianne and the encouragement of Sister Mary Ann Mulligan, Joe joined the Development Advisory Council (DAC) of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 2008; in 2011 he stepped up to be the DAC’s first chairman.

The DAC was established to offer advice, guidance and assistance to the Development Office, which seeks funding for the mission and ministries of the sisters. “Anyone who works with the sisters has to be prepared to deal with their enthusiasm and optimism,”

Joe says. “The sisters are the most upbeat group of people I know! The CSJ charism of service to the dear neighbor is such a powerful guiding principle. It permeates all that the sisters do in their work and infuses love into even the simplest tasks.”

 As a member of the DAC, Joe is working first and foremost to ensure that the province retirement funds are sufficient for the needs of the sisters. “The aging of the CSJs over the next five years will bring changes as many of the sisters adjust their lifestyles and work capacities.”

 Joe also focuses on ensuring that each gift makes a direct impact on charitable needs. “I know your donation will benefit the work of the sisters, not for administrative fundraising costs. The sisters are very frugal and efficient in their fundraising efforts.”

 Recently, Mary Kay and Joe each made a direct impact on the mission and ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet through a charitable gift annuity. 

Mary Kay says, “Throughout our marriage it has been important for us to give back to our community, and support organizations that are making the world better and sharing God’s love in the world.”

Learn More

Click here to learn more about planned giving or contact Patricia R. Cassens, CFRE, Executive Director of Mission Advancement, at 314-678-0329 or e-mail her at

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