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Sister Joan Smith, OP

Sr. Joan Smith - as a postulent - far left

We recently caught up with Dominican Sister Joan Smith, pictured as a postulant above (far left), about her vocation. Read the interview below.

What attracted you to become a Sister?

I was taught by Blauvelt Dominican Sisters from first grade on, and I loved them. They were so down-to-earth and relatable. The Sisters would invite us to visit the convent and we loved to go.

And how long have you been a Sister? 63 years

What year did you enter? 1960

As you look at your years of faithful service, what has been your greatest joy?

One of my greatest joys was receiving the habit on a beautiful spring day. It was really such a joyful time. In ministry, my greatest joy was moving from regular second-grade classroom teaching to teaching art to students of all grade levels from nursery school through high school. Teaching students to express themselves through art was such a joy. I also greatly enjoyed serving as the communications director for my community and for the Sparkill Dominican community. Technology was beginning to boom, and it was so exciting to serve in that capacity and to share this knowledge with the community. It was a whole new world for us.

Sister Joan teaching art at Sacred Heart Academy, Stamford, CT.

Your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge was leaving my family in the Bronx when I entered the convent in Blauvelt. It was also very difficult to follow the very strict rules that were in place during that time.

Can you share a story or some insight about a favorite time in ministry?

While teaching art, it was a joy to work with students who were open to learning and excited about exploring their talents. My years as director of communications were also very special. I loved documenting events, special occasions, and our sisters in ministry through photography and film.  I often travelled to our sisters’ ministry sites to photograph them and the people they served.

Sister Joan enjoying physical therapy equipment. The Sisters purchased the equipment through a grant from SOAR!

Each part of our life journey is touched by the holy, and we in turn are asked to bring Christ to others.  Can you share such a  moment from your life?

While I was in ministry at Christ the King parish and school in the Bronx, during the rise of the Charismatic Movement in the 1970s, a few teachers would come together each morning to pray before the start of each school day. We supported, embraced, and encouraged each other by openly praying for one another. It was a beautifully spiritual experience to be able to lift one another up through prayer in this way.

Do you have a word of wisdom you’d like to share with people today?

In this world we live in today, we must hang in there and have hope.




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