A Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Joyce Ann Berkel was celebrated Feb. 21 at Theresa Center chapel of The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. Sister Joyce Ann (formerly M. John de Deo) died Feb. 16 at Anna House, The Sarah Community, at age 89.
The second of four daughters, she was born to Adelaide (Haudrich) and John Berkel on Oct. 20, 1933, in Belleville, Illinois. She was baptized at St. Peter’s Cathedral on Oct. 22, 1933, and named Joyce Ann Arlene.
Joyce attended St. Peter’s Cathedral Grade School and the Academy of Notre Dame. During these 12 years of education, she was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). Following graduation from high school, Joyce was employed as secretary and bookkeeper at the Record Printing and Advertising Company in Belleville for one year. She then worked in civil service as a clerk-stenographer at Scott Air Force Base for three years.
During these years, Joyce felt a call to enter religious life, and after praying many novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, she was given the grace to make her decision. She received the candidate’s bonnet at St. Mary’s Parish in Belleville on Aug. 31, 1955. She was received into the novitiate on Aug. 1, 1956, and given the name M. John de Deo in honor of her father. She professed first vows on Aug. 3, 1957, and final vows on Aug. 3, 1963. She later returned to her baptismal name.
In 1960, Sister Joyce Ann earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the former Notre Dame College in St. Louis. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, in 1969.
For 20 years, Sister Joyce Ann ministered in secondary education. She taught at Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau for one year. She returned to Belleville and taught at the Academy of Notre Dame (1959-69). She was appointed the administrative assistant at the Academy in Belleville (1969-71) prior to serving as principal at Notre Dame High School in St. Louis (1971-78). As principal, she led the transition from modular scheduling to the implementation of the current individualized instruction curriculum.
In 1978, Sister Joyce Ann was called to serve as secretary to the General Superior, Sister Mary Margaret Johanning, at the Generalate in Rome.
Returning to the Midwest in 1988, Sister Joyce Ann spent a short time in community service at Villa Gesu in St. Louis. She then served as the secretary to the bishop of the Diocese of Belleville. In 1998, she became secretary to the provincial leadership of the former St. Louis Province. She retired from her secretarial duties in 2007 but continued to do volunteer service in various ways at Sancta Maria in Ripa and in the parish at Shiloh, Illinois. She moved to Sancta Maria in Ripa in 2021 and then to The Sarah Community in Bridgeton in April 2022.
Sister Joyce Ann was an extremely competent teacher, wise administrator and professional secretary. She was very willing to assist others and responded to requests in a timely manner. She was remembered as a kind, patient, loving and generous person with a calm personality. She had a great love for the Congregation which was deepened by her time spent in Rome. Over the years, she endured many skin surgeries but always had a cheerful attitude.
Sister Joyce Ann was preceded in death by her parents and her three sisters, Geraldine Volpe, Karen Harbaugh and Janice Behrman. She is survived by her brother-in-law, Donald Harbaugh.
Burial was in the Sancta Maria in Ripa cemetery.