May 1, 1932 – January 28, 2017
My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress; I shall never fall.
An only child, Joyce grew up three blocks from her grandparents and surrounded by cousins whom she dearly loved. When thinking of how God called her to religious life she said, “I think of my mother and father who instilled the love of God into me. I also think of my grandparents, and the rest of my loving extended family.” She first experienced “nuns” in grade school where her teachers were IHM Sisters. They were sure Joyce had a call to religious life and told her they looked forward to seeing her “in the blue” of their habit.
Then Joyce went to high school and met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. At the time of her Golden Jubilee, Joyce wrote: “I think of and pray for the Sisters of Notre Dame that I met during my high school years at Moylan. What many and varied personalities! They were all kind and loving and dared us to be different. The spirit that prevailed at Moylan attracted me to the Sisters of Notre Dame. Of course, now fifty years later, I realize that Spirit was the Spirit of St. Julie and Francoise.”
As strong as the attraction was, Joyce worked for three years as a secretary before entering at Ilchester in 1953. Remembering her time in the postulate and novitiate with a twinkle in her eye, she exclaimed, “We were devils!” Members of her ‘band’ became beloved friends as well as Sisters. Joyce was given the name Sister Dorothy Christine and prepared to teach, but her experience as a secretary was well known. She described how, when she was sent out for practice teaching, the principal put her to work in the office instead of in a classroom. The result was a rocky first couple of years of teaching. Eventually she became a Master Teacher of Social Studies and spent years teaching 6th grade and eventually 6th through 8th grade.
The changes in religious life brought about by the 2nd Vatican Council were not easy for Joyce. In a 2014 interview she said, “In looking back now I can’t believe I was that conservative.” She went on to describe how through prayer, reading, workshops, and lived experiences she did change “not just the habit but my life.” Part of the ‘lived experiences’ that helped her find a new inner freedom were three summers of study funded through National Science Foundation Grants. She spent two summers in Washington and Oregon climbing mountains and glaciers, and a summer in Tennessee exploring opal mines and gravel pits. Joyce loved every minute of it and through the process earned a Masters in Geology – a subject that she had always loved. Joyce shared her enthusiasm with students through science classes for many years.
Joyce was very grateful that, when her father was dying and her mother ill, the community supported her in going home to help. After her father’s death, she applied for a position at the Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova. At first she commuted from Chester each day, but eventually her mother was well enough that Joyce could join the Villanova community and help her mother on weekends. Later Joyce was asked to work in the College Guidance Department at Villanova. She loved working with the students, lay teachers and Sisters at Villanova. From her Golden Jubilee reflections we read, “I think of all the students and their parents who taught me the real meaning of life, love, and sacrifice. I can never forget the Sisters of my present community at Villanova. I thank God every day for each and every one of them. I have been graced for 25 years by their example, prayers, love and their concern for my welfare, whether it was teaching science in a junior school, working in a college guidance department, or as a corporate secretary.”
When the community at Villanova closed, Joyce went first to the Notre Dame community at Trinity Washington University and then to Villa Julie to help with driving. When illness put an end to her driving, she joined the Sisters of Notre Dame living at Emmitsburg, Maryland. When Emmitsburg closed she chose to join the Health Center Community at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati where she added her beautiful smile, gentle humor, and genuine interest in each person she met to the fabric of community life. She also added dashes of color to Mount Notre Dame through her decorative canes, socks and works of art created through adult coloring books. Joyce stayed in touch with much loved friends and family, and made new friends among the Sisters in Cincinnati.
Joyce wrote, “The greatest enrichment came from my traveling "In the Footsteps of Julie” in France, with other SNDs. To be able to walk the same cobblestones, worship in the same churches, visit her home and place of birth, was indeed a privilege and a joy.” She experienced real cultural differences between life in the East and Mid-West, but in community she recognized the charism that unites all Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Joyce’s experiences of God’s love and goodness in her life continued to deepen. She wrote at the time of her Diamond Jubilee, “I am so much more aware of God. I talk with Him like a friend. Every day. I'm more aware of the Trinity and see them as three friends. My love continues to grow each day through my faith.” Her sudden death leaves her Sisters, beloved cousins, friends and former students turning to the Good God in faith. As we mourn we give thanks for the gift of this wonderful woman’s witness to God’s goodness. We count on Joyce’s prayers for us as she is held in the loving embrace of her good God.
Born May 1, 1932 in Chester, Pennsylvania
Parents: Christian W. Shaub (born: Chester, Pennsylvania) and Dorothy Day (born: Roxborough, Pennsylvania)
Baptized January 8, 1933 at St. Michael Church, Chester, PA
Entered August 9, 1953 at Ilchester Maryland
First Profession: January 26, 1956
Final Profession: July 30, 1961
Notre Dame High School, Moylan, Pennsylvania, 1950
Bachelor of Science, Trinity College, Washington, D.C., 1957
Masters Arts, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 1971
Master of Science, Western Washington State University, Bellingham, Washington, 1972
1956-1961 St. Catherine of Genoa Parish School, Brooklyn, New York
1961-1967 Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova, Pennsylvania
1967-1968 St. Jerome Parish School, Hyattsville, Maryland
1968-1970 St. Camillus School Parish School, Washington, D.C.
1970-1977 St. Francis Xavier Parish School, Washington, D.C.
1978-2005 Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova, Pennsylvania
2005-2007 Driving, Trinity Washington University
2007-2008 Medical Driving, Villa Julia Residence, Stephenson, Maryland
2008-2010 Retired, Emmitsburg, Maryland
2010-2017 Ministry of Prayer and Service, Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio
Died January 28, 2017, Cincinnati, Oho
Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
January 31, 2017