Remembering Hazardous & Plum Assignments

Sister Joan Minella's Life in Ministry

There are plenty of places on earth where Sisters in ministry might expect to find the occasional snake indoors. Rural homes in Africa are notorious for unwanted visitors, for example. Warm tropical countries also invite stray serpentine tourists.

But when Sister Joan Minella, SSND, found a snake on her kitchen floor, she was living in the mountains of western Maryland. 

With characteristic composure, she called the maintenance man to remove it. He confirmed her suspicion when he said, "I wondered why that guy was in your house."

Clearly, it had been no accident. 

Sister Joan had been serving as parish administrator at the request of the bishop. It was her second tour of duty in the community, having served as a teacher several years prior. She knew and loved the parishioners, and they knew and loved her for her good humor, loving ministry, and great administrative prowess.

Sister Joan's ministry had been angrily opposed by a tiny but powerful faction that wanted to install a particular deacon as administrator instead. The group, which included the deacon's wife, had been conspiring to get Sister Joan to leave. The snake was the final straw.

She called the diocese and they put an end to the group's shenanigans. 

Sister Joan served in less hazardous locations throughout her active ministry, including Rome.

"I was called to the Generalate, where I answered the phone. I sort of knew Italian. Sort of."

She also served as Provincial Councilor and on the Tribunal.

"The bishop called again to ask me to do this. He said they couldn't find a man, so a woman would do. I served basically as canon lawyer for eight years. Then I was asked to run another parish, this time Prince of Peace. This time it was a dream job!" 

Today, Sister Joan serves in prayer and presence in Villa Assumpta's Rosary Community.

Post Type: