A member of the pioneer El Paso, Texas, Magoffin family, Sister Josephine was born in Tienjin, China, of North American parents and grew up in El Paso. She entered Maryknoll in 1955 and was assigned to Africa in 1958. Her first ministries were in secondary schools for girls in Tanzania, where less than 100 women were high school graduates when Tanzania gained its independence.
Sister Jo also served at the East African Pastoral Institute in Uganda and Kenya, where she prepared secondary school religious education material as a catethetical team member responsible for giving workshops in 20 countries in Africa. She continued seminars in Zimbabwe and with two Zimbabwean Sisters, she published catechetical material in a book entitled Sharing God’s Living Word in Community. Then, Sister Jo helped pioneer the Maryknoll Sisters’ presence in Namibia.
After 34 years in Africa, Sister Jo joined the Maryknoll Sisters in El Salvador for seven years “thanking God for the privilege of serving a people who have sacrificed so much and still remain people of faith.”
Sister Jo later became a member of the Maryknoll Sisters Western U.S. Region and lived in El Paso as a member of the Maryknoll Missioners Border Team, a collaborative support group of Sisters, priests and lay missioners. She previously shared this mutuality of Maryknoll charisms in El Salvador.
Sister Jo also served as paralegal at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, working with another Maryknoll Sister as co-coordinators of a program authorized by the Violence Against Women Act. They helped undocumented women, who had married U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who had become violent, self petition for their U.S. legal status. The majority came from Mexico and communicate in Spanish.
Sister Jo also participated in a spirituality group comprised of other women who work on the border.
In August 2011, Sister Jo joined the retirement community of Maryknoll Sisters in Monrovia,California where she shares her memories, hopes, and prayer.