Sister Joanne Abrams lives in Santa Rosa, California, about 60 miles north of San Francisco. Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, she learned to appreciate early in life the beauty of creation. Now in northern California, the nearby vineyards, redwood forests, and Pacific Ocean continue to speak to her of God’s great gifts.
Sr. Joanne was raised in the Methodist Church community. In her twenties she began searching for a closer relationship with God and eventually converted to the Catholic faith. While hard on her family at first, she describes it as a great personal gift to her from God.
Sr. Joanne has always had a passion to serve. After her conversion to Catholicism she joined the Jesuit Volunteer program and spent six years in a small village in Alaska living and working among the native people. It was in Alaska that she met the Ursuline Sisters. She was impressed with their love and support for community and their desire to live and work among the people. The main thing that drew her was their joyful spirit. They seemed to always be happy and welcomed all people.
Since becoming an Ursuline Sister, Sr. Joanne has ministered as an educator, elementary school administrator, and in service to our retired sisters. She currently ministers as a property manager. Each place she’s been has brought joy, gratitude, and love for the people whom she’s served. She says, “I couldn’t be happier and more at peace with my decision of many years ago to enter the Ursulines.”
For anyone thinking of religious life today, Sr. Joanne would ask them this question, “Do you love God, your neighbor, and yourself?” If the answer is “Yes” here is her advice: “Make time to meet and get to know some Sisters. As with any vocation, life isn’t always easy—there are difficulties, times of frustration and doubt. There are also times of peace, joy, and rewards when you can see that you’ve made even a small difference in someone’s life.”