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Obituary | Sister Mary Joan Meyer, FSM

A memorial Mass will be celebrated for Sister Mary Joan Meyer, FSM, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, in the chapel at The Sarah Community, 12284 DePaul Drive in Bridgeton.

A Franciscan Sister of Mary for 54 years, Sister Mary Joan died Aug. 20 at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. She was 79.

Born in the Baden area of north St. Louis in 1938, she was the oldest of five children born to Louis and Josephine Meyer. She worked eight years as a secretary for Mobil Oil Company. On a visit to Lourdes, she heard God's call to care for others. In 1963, she entered the Sisters of St. Mary. She received the religious name Sister Mary Louis, and she professed final vows in 1971.

She earned her bachelor's degree in physical therapy in 1970 and master's in spirituality 1978, both from St. Louis University. She also earned her certificate in spiritual direction in 1996 and a master's in pastoral studies in 1998 from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. She served as a certified chaplain for many years.

Sister Mary Joan served as the congregation's secretary general from 1969-76, practicing physical therapy part-time at St. Mary's Health Center.

After completing her master's in spirituality, she served as the congregation's director of postulants and novices (1978-91). She also worked in physical therapy at Mount St. Rose (1978-86) and St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles (1986-87). She became physical therapy supervisor at St. Joseph Hospital West in Lake St. Louis (1987-91).

In 1991, Sister Mary Joan was elected to FSM leadership, serving as councilor and congregational secretary until 1995. She then served as chaplain and director of spiritual care at St. Mary's Health Center (1997-2008).

In 2008 she became pastoral and spiritual life coordinator at the sisters' motherhouse. In 2010, as the sisters moved from the convent to The Sarah Community, Sister Mary Joan became the FSM pastoral care facilitator. In 2011, she moved to The Sarah Community.

Sister Mary Joan enjoyed photography, writing poetry, reading and walking in nature. She loved living the sister's mission — "to be the presence of the loving, serving, compassionate, healing Jesus."

She is survived by two sisters, Martha Czarnecki of Durham, Conn., and Jane Helfers of Chesterfield; and two brothers, Louis Meyer Jr. of O'Fallon, and Kenneth Meyer of St. Louis. She donated her body to St. Louis University School of Medicine. 

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