Mother Joanne was the second and last child and only daughter of her parents. Her father was a man deeply devoted to the Blessed Virgin and had prayed for a daughter. While he waited for the birth of his second child, he offered her to the Mother of God and promised her that this child would be hers in every way, even for religious life, if that be God’s will. She attended Immaculate Heart High School as a boarder, and there she recognized her vocation to religious life, fostering it by daily Mass, frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the daily rosary, praying that Jesus would want her for His Spouse. After graduation from high school in 1930 she entered the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Los Angeles. After her novitiate she earned her BA and MA from the Immaculate Heart College. She also studied at UCLA and USC. She taught for many years and served as principal and as local superior in many parish convents.
She was also somewhat of a financial wizard. After being elected as the General Treasurer of the Institute she initiated and developed a unified system of accounting for all the entities of the Institute which included the General Administration, Immaculate Heart College, Immaculate Heart High School, Immaculate Heart Novitiate, Immaculate Heart Retreat House, Queen of the Valley Hospital, Saint Mary Desert Valley Hospital and Immaculate Heart Hospital. She also served the community as the novice mistress.
After coming to Wichita she concentrated her efforts on the formation of the young Sisters. As this solidified, she extended her help and expertise to the laity by directing Days of Prayer. She served as the General Superior from her arrival in Wichita until her death. She was kind, gentle but firm, sympathetic, and very, very prayerful. She was filled with the Scriptures and the documents of the Church; she was filled so as to be formed by them. Her leadership skills, her study of the Church’s teaching on Religious Life and her grasp of spiritual theology prepared her to make this establishment, write our Constitutions and form us in the life of prayer and virtue, in the spirit and works of IHM, and in a profound love for the Church.