On Saturday, April 24, we lost a true follower of Jesus the Good Shepherd. She was Sister Joan of Arc.
Sr. Joan came from an affluent family dedicated to promoting the Roman Catholic faith. At a time when Catholic families thought it a blessing to have a family member serve the church in a religious order, Sr. Joan gave up much to answer a greater call by joining the Good Shepherd Order.
She began her education at the Good Shepherd Convent, Nayakakanda, and later joined St. Bridget’s Convent, where her mother had studied. Sr. Joan passed away on the very day the Order was inaugurating celebrations for the year of St. Euphrasy, founder of the Order.
Why Sr. Joan of Arc was so named is a mystery to me. Sr. Joan was not an aggressive leader, as her namesake and patron saint was. She was known for her quiet, unassuming, self-effacing and holy ways. She was not a leader of people, but an exemplary follower, without whose loyalty and dedication leaders would be lost. She touched the lives of many. Her simplicity and her ability to move with and serve the poor, the children, and the disabled was truly amazing.
Although she took holy orders and could not be with her dear relatives as much as they would have liked, all her relatives looked forward to family events such as weddings and holidays where they could partake of her infectious exuberance and joy. When a family member was going through a bereavement or a difficult time, she was a pillar to lean on. Her prayers were a comfort to all. A happy person, Sr. Joan could calm any storm and bring tranquillity wherever she went. No one could resist her quiet authority and calming influence. Her congregation will miss her as much as her loved ones.
The Good Shepherd community demonstrated its organisational competence and generosity in the way it took care of Sr. Joan in her last illness. She was 75 years when she succumbed to a terminal illness.
The care and attention she received from her congregation befitted the tradition of the Good Shepherd.
The world has lost a true Christian – someone who left behind wealth and comfort to seek a life of service. Sr. Joan’s contribution to society was gratefully remembered in an eulogy at her funeral rites.
May she rest in peace.