Raised in Dayton, Sister Joan is the oldest of three children. Family is important to Joan who remembers growing up with evenings spent making popcorn and engaging in family card games with her parents and siblings. “We had many good times. I am grateful to say that my siblings and their families and I remain very close.”
In the eighth grade, she wrote a poem about God’s love for each of us and her desire to dedicate her life to God. It is a poem that she still carries in her Bible. During her freshman year of high school, tragedy befell the Krimm family when her mother passed away suddenly. Led by her father, the family pulled together and survived that painful loss. Knowing that she wanted to become a sister her father supported Joan when she asked to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. While she was a student in high school, Joan was good friend with Dorothy Stang. They entered the same year and remained life-long friends.
After her novitiate, Sister Joan ministered as an elementary school teacher in Ohio before joining the second group of Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to move to Brazil in in1966. Because the sisters stood strongly for the poor, they were often under fire with the landowners, but nothing deterred them. She participated fully in the educational and pastoral activities in the town and villages of Coroata. She initiated a successful Youth Club, all but ran a Business School, provided invaluable teacher training to the teachers in the municipal schools, and helped train lay leaders for the emerging ecclesial base communities. She was so esteemed by those engaged in municipal education that in 1973 they selected her to be principal of a new school in Coroata for children with disabilities. The school continues to this day.
Returning to the US in 1976, Sister Joan lived at Saint James Convent and taught there for two years before beginning a new ministry as the Pastoral Administrator at Our Mother of Christ, an African-American Parish in Cincinnati. She did pastoral work such as preaching and conducting prayer services as well as administrative responsibilities. The role of a parish administrator was new in the Archdiocese at that time. Once again, Sister Joan flourished on new ground serving the community of Mother of Christ for seventeen happy years before leaving to assume a new post as a member of the Ohio Province Leadership.
After completing her leadership term, Sister Joan served as the Ohio Province Justice, Peace and Care of Creation Coordinator (JPCC), addressing issues such as human trafficking, immigration and the environment. She also promoted the legacy of Sister Dorothy Stang by speaking with civic and religious groups throughout Ohio. Retiring from full time JPCC work in 2016, Sister Joan is an active member of the Ohio Province JPCC Committee and the 15th Anniversary Committee to Remember the Legacy of Sister Dorothy Stang.
Sister Joan was delighted to have a Zoom celebration with family as she celebrated her 90th birthday this June. “We enjoyed the virtual visit and I look forward to the time when we can get together in person,” she said. She received many calls and birthday cards from her SNDdeN sisters as well as others who have come to know her over the years. “I would like to thank everyone for reaching out and extending such heartfelt birthday wishes. I am grateful to be a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. I couldn’t imagine living any other life.”