Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Michael McVeigh, OP, (Margaret Ann) died at Mohun Health Care Center, Columbus, OH on Friday, June 4, 2021. She was 90 years old.
Sister Joan, one of four siblings, was born in 1931 in Spalding, NE, to Marie (Mae) Bernadette O’Sullivan and Antony McVeigh. As a young woman, she sat in church for six days straight, waiting for a word from God as to her future. On the feast of St. Dominic, she heard the word “Come,” and this began her Dominican vocation. She attended Saint Catharine College for one year, and then entered the Congregation in 1950, made her first profession in 1952, and took her final vows in 1955. She served as a Dominican Sister for almost 70 years.
After her entry into the Congregation, Sr. Joan continued her education at St. Catharine College, earning her Associate in Arts degree in English and History. She returned to Nebraska where she ministered as an educator in Bellevue, Hastings, Kearney, and McCook.
Sr. Joan earned her Bachelor of Arts in English, Social Studies and Education from Siena College, and her Master of Science in Secondary School Education and English from Nebraska State College before moving to Chicago, IL, where she served as the Coordinator for Teacher Corps, a program to improve elementary and secondary teaching in predominantly low-income areas.
During her time in Chicago, Sr. Joan also taught at Holy Angels School, Malcolm X College, and Harold Washington City College. She was committed to teaching the first-generation students at these institutions and did her best to give them the opportunities she believed that they deserved. Sr. Joan also ministered as a substance abuse counselor.
Sister Joan’s “other ministry” was her support of “the right of an informed conscience to decide and to act.” Her dedication led her to take part in many activities to support social justice and civil rights. To Sister Joan, this work was part of her apostolate because “it involved the transmission of truth.”
Sister Joan loved her time in Chicago. When failing health forced her to move to the Ohio Motherhouse, she brought her love for the White Sox and the Bears, for her many students, and for the God who she served for so many years.
In his preaching at her memorial service, Fr. Elias Henritzy, OP, spoke of Sr. Joan’s special relationship with the children that she taught in Chicago. “Every class she taught had a kind of healing in it. She taught the grammar of hearing and sharing and brought each of the children into a sense of community with each other.”
Sister Joan was preceded in death by her parents Anthony and Marie O’Sullivan McVeigh, her sister, Naomi Krausnick and brothers, Cyril, and Arthur. She is survived by nieces, nephews, former students, and many friends.
Sister Joan requested that her body be donated to science. A private Memorial Service will be held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel at a later date.
Memorial gifts in Sr. Joan’s memory may also be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr. Columbus, OH 43219.
To download and print a PDF copy of this memorial, please click here.