It is my privilege to welcome you all to this celebration of the life of our dearly beloved Sister Joan Larkin, Sister St. Ligouri, who was a dedicated Sister of St. Joseph for 71 years!
Joan Ann Larkin was born to Cyril and Anna Larkin in New York City. Joan was the youngest of three adorable little girls and she was very close to her sister. Tragedy struck early when Joan’s mother died when she was only two years old, and she and her sisters were raised by a devoted aunt and uncle. Joan would, many years later, return the favor by caring for her aunt during her last illness with great kindness and love.
Joan attended The Mary Louis Academy, where she was a sterling scholar, and her intellectual gifts were quickly recognized, especially in the area of Mathematics, where her grades were usually 100, with an occasional dip down to a 95.
Joan received her BS and MS degrees in Mathematics, and she taught Math in a number of our schools, including Bishop Kearney, several of our academies in Puerto Rico, and the Academy of St. Joseph here in Brentwood. In 1986 Sister Clara Santoro invited Joan to become the General Treasurer of the Congregation and in characteristic fashion, Joan responded with a generous yes! Sister Clara was confident that Joan was up to the job because Joan had tutored Clara and gotten her through a six-week summer course in calculus when they were both students at St. John’s University.
Joan approached the role of Treasurer with her usual energy and creativity and we are very grateful to this day for some of the projects she initiated. Chief among them is the Trust she suggested that we create to assure that we would have the resources needed to care for our sisters in the years ahead. We are, today, reaping the fruits of her vision and foresight.
While she was very serious about her work, Joan loved a good time, and she really loved to travel and see new places, both with her family and always, Mary Lou. Atlantic City was often on the itinerary but they also travelled throughout the USA reveling in new sights and sounds and experiences.
Joan had a quick wit and a hearty laugh, and she displayed them to the end. In one of her last hospitalizations they were not allowing Mary Lou in to see her. When, as part of a cognitive test, they asked her who the President is, she said Buchanan. This concerned the nurses enough to have them summon Mary Lou who, when she was told what had happened, was also concerned and asked Joan why she said that. Joan, with a twinkle in her eye retorted, I know it’s Biden, but I figured it would make them let you in and it worked!
Joan Larkin was a woman of great intellectual gifts, who shared them with a loving and generous heart. She was a true daughter of Joseph who, with eyes attentive, ears alert, and sleeves rolled up, gave her life in loving service to others. On this feast of St. Patrick, as we bid her a fond farewell, we ask her to pray with and for us, that Christ will continue to be behind us, and before us, and with us, and in us. Thank you, Joan, for all you did and, even more, for all you were to all of us.
Elizabeth Hill, CSJ
Sister Joan Ann Larkin, CSJ died on March 12, 2022 in the 71st year of her religious life.