Sister Jo Ann Simanella entered religious life from Ascension Parish in Normandy, Mo. She credits the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and the Sisters of Divine Providence, especially Sister Anita Green, her seventh-grade teacher, for influencing her decision to become a Sister.
Sister Jo Ann earned a bachelor of arts with major in American studies and minor in education theology from Marillac College and a master of science with a major in elementary education from Dayton University. She taught at Mary Queen of the Universe in St. Louis, Mo. (1962–64), Ascension School in Normandy, Mo. (1964–67), Divine Providence School in Westchester, Ill. (1967–68; 69–70; 71–72; 73–75; 76–80; 82–86; principal 86–90), St. John the Lateran in Imperial, Mo. (1968–69; 70–71), St. Mary/Mark School in Madison, Ill. (1972–73), St. Mary’s School in Brussels, Ill. (1975–76), and Mount Providence in Florissant, Mo. (1980–82). From 1990 to 1993, she lived and worked with the Sisters in Oberursel, Germany. She remembers that time as a great gift, as it allowed her to get to know the Sisters better and to minister where the Community was founded. The experience also gave her a better sense of our internationality and the German culture.
When Sister Jo Ann returned to the states, she ministered as an outpatient representative at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Granite City, Ill. (1994–95). She was principal at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Illinois (1995–96), served on the provincial council at the Provincial Center in Hazelwood/Bridgeton (1996–99), and was principal at St. Elizabeth School in Granite City (2004–06). Since 2007, she has ministered as the pastoral associate at St. Ferdinand Parish in Florissant.
When reflecting on the charism of the Community and what it means to her daily life, Sister Jo Ann says, “I love our charism of Providence. I believe in a providential God who loves and cares for me, and I am committed to making God’s Providence more visible in our world.”
Describing herself as “personable, hospitable, and compassionate,” Sister Jo Ann enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her fellow Sisters. She also loves dancing, listening to music, taking photos, and listening to ballgames.