“God is good and sustains us with endless love.”
A young girl from Omaha, responded to an invitation “Come and See”, to pursue Dominican life as a religious sister, and sixty years later we celebrate! I am grateful to God for the many gifts, ministries, and people that have been part of my journey. My early teaching ministry in Saginaw, St. Joseph-Sacred Heart allowed me to experience cooperative efforts of African American, Hispanic, and Anglo students and families. Through study, action, and conscience raising discussions, seeds of justice were planted. Issues of poverty, racism, and the cost of war have propelled me to search for ways to be in solidarity with the ONE human family.
Working with teachers and curriculum in Catholic Schools – Mobile Alabama Archdiocese; supporting Parish Social Ministry – Atlanta Georgia Archdiocese; promoting the Bishop’s Justice for Immigrants and Catholic Campaign for Human Development were opportunities for me to preach justice. Engaging others created a strong voice for those with none.
After serving on our Dominican Sisters Leadership team, I became a professional tutor with adult immigrants. Abundant graces have been given me and these fuel my desire to be an instrument of God’s love to others.
In 2013 I responded to a need for part-time work at the Grand Rapids Community College ESL program as a tutor. Students in the program were from Africa and Europe, from Central and South America. My responsibility was to operate a lab setting to help students with their English assignments, computer, and reading skills. My shift was afternoons 4 – 8:30 Monday – Thursday. On Saturday I also taught citizenship classes with our Dominican Sisters WORD program each fall and spring.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, my in-person ministries were put on hold. In April I decided that I would step away from this ministry of seven years. I’ve turned my focus to on-campus ministry; and to study, and contemplation, and prayer.
During 2020, I have had the opportunity to study injustice and racism more deeply. I’ve read articles on-line, viewed you-tube videos, attended virtual ZOOM conferences on immigration, and reviewed inclusive employment practices. Re-looking at our nation’s history with racist practices and policies in most meaningful to me during this era of the Black Lives Matter movement. I commit to continuing to grow in understanding of perspectives of people of color. My heart’s passion wants equity for each person/God’s image.
I think: how has the pandemic changed my life? I am challenged to observe what God is revealing at this moment. Requests made may be the only chance for this opportunity. A chance to connect with others… may be the last. For this vision, I am grateful.
2021 – 63 Years a Sister
Pray for immigrant and refugee families
Sr. Joyce Ann helps Julio with math assignments as part of her tutoring ministry.
Sister Joyce Ann teaching Chemistry in the 1970s at St. Peter and Paul in Saginaw, Michigan
Sister Joyce Ann teaching math in the 1970s at St. Peter and Paul in Saginaw, Michigan
Sister Joyce Ann pictured center with Sister Marie Rachel Guerva to the left and Sister Orlanda Leyba to the right marching for peace
Sister Joyce Ann Hertzig and Sister Diane with children about to make their first communion.