Sister Joan Berninger, M,M,
Current Ministry Location – Maryknoll Sisters Center, NY
In 1953, Sister Joan entered the Maryknoll Sisters from Peoria, Illinois. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Rogers College in Maryknoll, NY, and a MA in Religious Education from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, and an MA Equivalency Degree in Educational Administration from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
A summer course in Comparative Religions at Otani University in Kyoto, Japan, was also good preparation for Sister Joan as a secondary school teacher of art and religion and a student career counselor on the island of Mauii, Hawaii.
During her 17 years in Las Cruces, Sister Joan used her special talents as a communicator and administrator. She began there as principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral School. In an historic moment, Bishop Ramirez established the diocesan Office of Superintendent of Catholic Schools and he chose Sister Joan to fill this job. She also served on the Sisters Council of the Diocese and was elected as coordinator for a two-year term.
She coordinated workshops on child abuse and sexual misconduct in the diocese. Sister Joan has been active in leadership and has supported the role of women wherever she has worked. She manifests a spirit of collaboration with an openness that is refreshing.
She has made herself available as representative in several General Assemblies and meetings of the Maryknoll Sisters, including serving as director of the Maryknoll Mission Institute. In 2011, Sister Joan ended many years as our Congregational Services Coordinator. Her outreach to lay staff is inspiring and affirming.
Sister Joan is now retired but continues to volunteer, after several years of ministry in various departments in the Maryknoll Sisters Center in NY.