Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Sister Joan Mary Brown

Joan Mary Brown was born in Leeds, a city in the North East of England. Her father was an English Protestant who later became a Catholic and her mother a Lithuanian Catholic. She has one brother but had a large loving united family of aunts, uncles and cousins, even if they didn’t all speak English. She attended the Notre Dame Collegiate School in Leeds and entered the Sisters of Notre Dame at Ashdown Park in 1952.

Joan Mary is an artist and writer. She started her Notre Dame life as a teacher, training at Mount Pleasant College of Education in Liverpool and taught in Notre Dame preparatory schools until 1963 when she went to Nigeria with Sisters Mary Dolores Greely and Ellen Gielty to found the Nigerian mission. On returning to England she retrained in play therapy and worked in the Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic in London for several years before returning to classroom teaching. Again she retrained in Ignation Spiritual direction and was involved in Retreat Direction and creative spirituality. In the late seventies she went to Crawley a small town in the South of England, where she continued the retreat work as well as involvement in parish ministry.

Joan Mary had a special interest in catechesis and Liturgy and wrote and published books on Liturgy of the Word for Children and sacramental preparation programmes and gave many training days... During her time in Crawley Joan Mary also worked as a Diocesan Religious Education advisor to the schools and served on the Diocesan Liturgy Commission. Retiring from the schools she opened a small house of prayer in Crawley.

 In 2016 Joan Mary left Crawley and now lives in a community of 25 Sisters in Birkdale in the North West of England where she continues her creative spirituality, her art and her writing. She is currently working on a life of St Julie for children with a very unusual approach. Also materials on Dame Julian of Norwich a 14th Century English Mystic and help for Catechists on Praying with Children.


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