2014 Jubilarian – JoAnn (Thomas Ann) McAnoy

McAnoy,JoAnnSister JoAnn McAnoy was inspired by the kindness of her sixth grade teacher, Sister Anthonita, IHM, and was charmed by the respect she showed her students.

She entered the IHM community July 2, 1943; her dad was convinced that her parents would get a call July 3 to come and get her. That would have been dandy for Sister JoAnn’s parents, but no such call ever came.

She was determined to make her vows, but that almost changed when she and a few classmates climbed over the grotto one day. After being reprimanded by the novice mistress, Sister JoAnn apologized and stuck to the rules more closely. (They didn’t know there was a rule about climbing over the grotto.)

She began her teaching ministry at SS. Peter and Paul in Iona, Mich. It was a time of learning and fun because of the joy in the convent. Mother Marie Collette encouraged the sisters to enjoy themselves sliding on cardboard down the giant hill outside the convent. She even bought a sled one Christmas so the sliding would be faster and easier for the young sisters.

Sister JoAnn went to St. Mary in Mt. Morris, Mich. to St. Matthew in Detroit. It was a special time in in the Church because of the Second Vatican Council. She was in charge of the altar boys, and the changes in liturgy resulting from the Council were a challenge to both the teacher and the boys!

She was missioned to St. John in Monroe and then to the newly opened all-girls Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) High School in Westchester, Ill. While IHM was being built, the girls were taught at the all-boys St. Joseph School. She still laughs about putting paper over the windows and doors so the boys couldn’t look in and the girls couldn’t look out.

After IHM, Sister JoAnn went to Star of the Sea High School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. The Vietnam War was being waged, and she encouraged her students to speak out against it. While there, she formed a group of laity and religious who dealt with the changes brought on by Vatican II. She was elected assistant provincial of the Northeast Provence; developed and ran anti-racism workshops; and established a Center for Justice and Peace at the Immaculata Convent. She then went to St. Martin de Porres High School in Detroit, where her brother, Rev. Thomas McAnoy, was principal. She taught there for four years before becoming principal herself for five years.

Sister JoAnn went on to teach at Marygrove College for 13 years in a remedial math program that she developed. During her years at Marygrove, she also took care of her brother and sister, who were both not well. At the same time, she also ran a very successful Bingo program to help out her brother’s parish, Our Lady of the Rosary. Sister JoAnn has had a rich and varied life. She is now retired and volunteers whenever she can.