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Sister Stories

Sister Joan: Big on Spirit

Sister JoanSister Joan Minella, SSND works at Prince of Peace Parish in Edgewood, Md. Sister Joan is in charge of the parish and does everything that a priest would do except say Mass and administer the sacraments. She is responsible for the pastoral and spiritual life of the parish.

Edgewood has a small-town personality and a diverse cultural make-up. The 350 families include ex-military folks who retired from the nearby bases, and they include African Americans and Hispanics. Other families have come from the Philippines, Nigeria, India, and Pakistan. This cultural mélange forms a cohesive and accepting parish under Sister Joan’s leadership. She was called to the parish to bring healing and unity. She herself marvels at how well these disparate groups get along and says that she never speaks about unity. How well this illustrates that SSND does not preach unity but strives to "be" unity.

Sister Joan's overall responsibility for the parish involves committees, finance, maintenance, outreach, sacramental preparation, liturgical planning, and social events.

Believing that the leader needs to know who is following, Sister Joan places a high value on making people comfortable in the church. Conversely, the faith of the people strengthens her own belief in the church as the people of God. Finally, the strong and collaborative working relationship with the priest assigned for sacramental ministry allows the church to illustrate the value of man and woman working together for the good of the whole.

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