Sister Joan Bretz, also known as Mother Christopher, died June 9 at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka. She was 89 and served many years in the St. Louis archdiocese, including as a teacher at the former Corpus Christi High School in Jennings and as director of communications and development for the Ursuline province.
Born in Springfield, Illinois, she entered the Ursuline community in 1950 and professed her vows in 1951. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of New Rochelle in New York and master’s and doctoral degrees from Saint Louis University. She also studied theology at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Known for her brilliance and warm heart, Sister Joan was a teacher, communicator, photographer and local leader who taught at Corpus Christi High School in Jennings 1960-66 and in Springfield, Illinois; and Galveston and Laredo, Texas.
Sister Joan served in public relations for the Ursulines’ Central Province, headquartered in Crystal City and then Kirkwood, from 1967-68. She became the first director of communications and development for the province, starting the office from scratch in 1996 and serving until 2010.
She retired to the Loretto Home in her native Springfield, later moving to the Ursulines’ health care center in Alton, Illinois, then to Francis Place in 2014.
A burial service was held June 16 at St. Peter Cemetery. A memorial Mass will be held later in the summer.