There are few names iconic to Red Bank Catholic outside of its beloved mascot: Caseys. To many, the runner up may very well be Sr. Joanmarie. Generations that span 40 years hear that name and lovingly smile at the thought of their high school English teacher.
Sister Joanmarie McDonnell began her teaching career at Red Bank Catholic in 1982 under Principal Sister Mary McAuley. A member of the English department, she taught English 1 and Major British Writers. It was discovered early on that teaching was far from Sr. Joanmarie’s only talent. Her dedication to service and ministry at RBC and St. James Parish is unmatched. Sister Joanmarie founded the LIFE Club, along with Sister Regina. Trying to live the message of the Gospel, the LIFE Club chooses projects that support Birthright, Lunch Break, St. Anthony Food Pantry, Project Paul, and Mercy Center. Thousands of dollars were raised annually for the CROP Hunger Walk and countless food and clothing drives, sponsored by Srs. Joanmarie and Regina helped to feed those in need near and far bringing honors from the local food bank in Red Bank.
“Sister Joanmarie is the face of ministry and service at Red Bank Catholic,” said current Principal Robert Abatemarco. When thinking back on her years at RBC, Mr. Abatemarco said, “Sister was always offering her help in whatever capacity she could. Whether it was teaching classes, running food drives, helping in the convent or all of the above, she never hesitated in her dedication to RBC.”
Sister Joanmarie’s regular attendance in the stands at RBC athletic events will be sorely missed! Along with Sister Regina, she was an avid Casey fan and never wanted to miss cheering on “her Caseys”. The duo’s devotion didn’t go unnoticed by other fans who petitioned for them to be inducted into the Red Bank Catholic Athletic Hall of Fame. On June 20, 2020 Sister Joanmarie and Sister Regina will receive the Monsignor Casey Award of Honor. This well deserved recognition will ensure the sisters legacy at RBC will live on.
Her next adventure will bring her to Mt. St. Mary’s in Watchung where she will enjoy peaceful days with her fellow sisters. Sister Joanmarie will forever be a cherished member of the RBC community and her impact here will be felt for generations to come.To Donate to RBC in Sister Joanmarie's honor, click below.