Sister Joan was the last Sister of Charity to serve in the Bahamas, where she served for forty-one years.
Sister Joan Anderson (Sister Mary Arthur) was born July 29, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the youngest of four children — two daughters and two sons — of Arthur and Mary Cusack Anderson. Joan attended Saint Cecilia School and Saint Joseph Commercial High School, Brooklyn. She volunteered at Saint Joseph Hall, also in Brooklyn, before entering the Sisters of Charity on September 8, 1952. Sister Joan received a B.A. in History from College of Mount Saint Vincent and an MS in Education from Hunter College. She later earned certification in School Administration/ Supervision from New York State.
In March 1955, Sister Joan was missioned to Saint Agatha, Nanuet, where she served as teacher and group mother until August 1962. For the next academic year, she taught at Saint Mary in Staten Island. In September 1963, she was missioned to Saint Francis, Nassau, Bahamas, where she remained for three years. In 1966, Sister Joan taught at Saint Stephen School, Manhattan, and then at Saint Gabriel School, Bronx, for an additional three years. In September 1969, she returned to Saint Francis, Nassau, Bahamas, and remained in the island nation for thirty-eight years. During this time, she served for twenty-two years as Administrator at Our Lady School in Nassau. In recognition of her service and love for the people of The Bahamas, Archbishop Lawrence A. Burke, SJ, DD, presented Sister Joan with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross from Pope John Paul II in Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral in December 1999.
At the request of Archbishop Burke, Sister Joan headed a collaborative effort among the Church, the Bahamian government, and a donor to establish Nazareth Center, a residence for children in need of protective care. She served as the Center’s Administrator from its opening in 2000 until she returned to the United States in November 2007. Sister Joan was the last Sister of Charity to serve in The Bahamas, where she served for forty-one years.
During her eleven years at Mount Saint Vincent Convent, Sister Joan assisted with sisters’ finances, the reception desk, and organized fundraisers to benefit charities, notably the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center. She was known for creating beautiful seasonal crocheted and needlework pieces to sell at the fundraisers. In May 2018, she moved to Cabrini of Westchester and remained there until her death on November 27, 2019.
Sister Joan will long be remembered by all whom she taught for her happy spirit, great energy and kindness. When she left Nassau, public tributes to her were abundant. Msgr. Preston Moss, Archdiocese of Nassau, wrote of Sister Joan, “She embodies the Bahamian culture and the Sisters of Charity Congregation virtues of humility, simplicity and charity.”
Throughout her life, Sister Joan walked with grace and dedication in the footsteps of Christ. We rejoice with her now as she is welcomed into the loving arms of God whom she served so well. Be at peace, Sister Joan.
Funeral services will be video streamed from Mount Saint Vincent Convent on Tuesday, December 3, at 10:30 AM. Streaming will include Memory Sharing at 10:30 a.m. and Mass at 11:00 a.m. We invite you to join us by using the link below.
Date of Death
November 27, 2019
Mount Saint Vincent Convent
6301 Riverdale Ave., Bronx, NY
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Reflection/Sharing: 10:30 a.m.
Mass of Christian Burial
Mount Saint Vincent Convent
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
St. Joseph Cemetery
Archdiocese of New York
- St. Agatha, Nanuet
1955–62, Group Mother
- St. Mary-Rosebank, Staten Island
- St. Stephen, Manhattan
- St. Gabriel, Bronx
- Mt. St. Vincent Convent, Bronx
2007–2018, Prayer, Service and Witness
- Cabrini of Westchester, Dobbs Ferry
2018–2019, Prayer, Service and Witness
Archdiocese of Nassau, The Bahamas
- St. Francis, Nassau
1976–77, Pastoral Work
- Our Lady School, Nassau
- Nazareth Center, Nassau
The best Primary School Principal (Our Lady’s) …..Nassau, Bahamas. May her soul rest on peace…Amen!
On behalf of the Our Lady’s Parish & School family I extend our sincere condolences on the passing on Sister Joan Anderson. May she rest in peace.
Sister Joan Anderson was a woman of integrity and grace. She was the greatest Principal at Our Lady’s School where I had the privilege of attending. Also, my two children are a product of her great leadership. We are forever greatful too of had such a great mentor. She will be greatly missed. May Sister Joan soul rest in peace, and rise in glory.
Thank you sister joan for all you did for me and my family while you served the Lord at our lady’s catholic school may your humble soul REST IN PEACE
Rest In Peace Sister Joan. Thank you!
Sister Joan, thank you for your faithful service to catholic education and children development in the Bahamas. Your mark is indelible and tour hand in the success of many people including me is greatly appreciated. I’ll always remember you sitting on your office in Our Lady’s School trying to give us all brighter futures. Thank you and may you find Sister Regina in heaven and rest well.
Sr. Joan was the embodiment of a great teacher, principal and a truly loving person. Her love for us students radiated from her. Her fierce support for us at Our Lady made us proud and strong. Sleep in Heaven Sr. Joan.