CLIFTON Bishop Serratelli has appointed Sister of Christian Charity Joan Daniel Healy, current provincial superior of the Sisters of Christian Charity in Mendham, as new chancellor/delegate for religious, effective Sept. 8.
“Join with me in welcoming Sister Joan Daniel as our new chancellor/delegate for religious,” Bishop Serratelli said in making the appointment. “She has held leadership positions within her own community and as an educator in Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina and New Jersey. Sister Joan Daniel, who is fluent in Spanish having served nine years as a missionary among the poor in Uruguay, has worked internationally within her congregation’s governance. Her broad administrative experience and energy for mission will be a blessing to our diocese in the years ahead.”
Sister Joan Daniel will succeed Sister of Christian Charity Mary Edward Sphorer, who has served the Paterson Diocese as chancellor/delegate for religious for 10 years. Sister Mary Edward’s service to the diocese will end on July 8 at which time she will begin her elected term of office as provincial superior of the province for the Sisters of Christian Charity.
Raised by parents from County Kerry, Ireland, Sister Joan Daniel was born in Bronx, N.Y. She attended the Immaculate Conception School where the Sisters of Christian Charity taught. During her youth, she was drawn to the sisters’ joy and kindness but what helped Sister Joan Daniel the most in her calling to religious life was Blessed Sacrament Father Paul Bernier.
“Once a month, he held an holy hour in Manhattan for all high school students. This meant for almost all of us traveling by train or bus,” said Sister Joan Daniel. “But every month the church was filled with students, singing their hearts out, praying, being captivated with a dynamic talk by Father Bernier. How many vocations came out of that holy hour once a month!”
She earned her bachelor’s degree at Marywood College in Scranton, Pa., in social studies and Spanish. For her master’s degree, she attended Villanova University, Pa., where she majored in religious studies. She also has a master of science degree in administration from the University of Scranton.
Much of Sister Joan Daniel’s ministerial experience has been as an educator serving as a teacher and as a principal. “Having been in education as both teacher and principal, in both urban and suburban settings, I have had a wide variety of experiences that I feel will help me in personnel relations,” she said. “Healthcare is constantly changing today but I have served on the boards of two of our hospital systems, which will help in that area. I also hope to be able to get to know our Spanish-speaking population.”
As chancellor, Sister Joan Daniel hopes to continue the work of Sister Mary Edward. “I would also like to expand into a Spanish ministry as well. I will be working for the diocese where needed and I want to be engaged with the mission of the diocese. I also look forward to meeting the sisters, brothers and priests in the various forms of consecrated life and getting to know all the charisms and the challenging ministries carried on by them,” she said.
In following in the footsteps of Sister Mary Edward as chancellor/delegate for religious and proceeding her as provincial, Sister Joan Daniel said, “Living here in our motherhouse with Sister Mary Edward, I can truly say she has given herself entirely to the mission of the diocese. The congregation is now asking her to be the provincial superior of our province and I know it is a sacrifice for her to leave her ministry here in the Paterson Diocese where she enjoyed working with the Bishop and all the people she ministered to and met on a daily basis. However, our sisters in the province are very happy she will be now sharing her ministry with them”
Sister Joan Daniel is currently a member of several professional organizations. These include the chair of the board of directors for the Society of the Sisters of Christian Charity in N.J, and of the board of trustees of the Sisters of Christian Charity Healthcare Corp. She is a member of the board of trustees for Assumption College for Sisters, the board of directors for Holy Spirit Hospital, board of directors for Holy Spirit Health System, enlarged council for Sisters of Christian Charity, Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious.
“I felt overwhelmed when Bishop Serratelli first called me. I still do,” she said. “Never had I imagined that when I entered [the Sisters of Christian Charity] all that would happen in my life. I just wanted to be a sister. I have had a great ride — as I read once and I think it was Mary Oliver who wrote: ‘Life is not a journey to the grave with intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming — Wow! What a ride.’ That’s how I’ll continue to spend my life.”