Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Vow of living a good religious life is fulfilled

Sister Joanne Kinjerski died March 1, 2024 at St. Francis Convent. 

The former Barbara Anna Kinjerski was born on June 12, 1930, in West Kewaunee, daughter of the late Isidore and Stella (Knipp) Kinjerski. She and her nine brothers and two sisters lived on an 80-acre farm in West Kewaunee. “I learned to play a strong-armed game of baseball when the chores were done in those days.” she said.

She attended a one-room public school in East Krok.  At age 16 she was employed at Hansen Glove Factory where she worked for four years.  When Barbara heard her father and brother speak with deep respect of the Sisters who taught religious education in their parish, she became curious.  She wanted to go and find out what inspired this awe. The final push that moved her to religious life came from a personal invitation from Sister Cyrilla Patek. She entered the convent in 1951, professed her vows in 1954, and celebrated her 70th anniversary in 2022.

Sister Joanne earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from St. Norbert College, De Pere. She served as a teacher for 27 years at Holy Cross, Green Bay; St. Mary, Bear Creek; St. Jude, Green Bay; St. Isidore, Osman; St. John the Baptist, Howard; and Holy Family, Marinette. She served in Personal and Pastoral Care at the McCormick Memorial Home, Green Bay, for approximately 15 years. At the Motherhouse, beginning in 1996, she served as a laundress, nurse's aide, gardener, and seamstress. She also transformed rose petals into rosary beads. She said simply, “I tried to be a good religious during my life and have never regretted it."

Survivors include the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross and Associates; her brother, Isidore (Beverly) Kinjerski; sisters-in-law Mabel Kinjerski and Julie Kinjerski; godchildren Wally Pardowski and Barbara Bowman; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.

Preceding her in death were her parents; brothers Harry, Frank, Simon, Thomas, Lawrence, John, Joseph and Michael; sisters Marian, Rose Pardowski; sisters-in-law Anita, Leona, Delores, Joyce, Marie, Mabel, Jeanne, and Loretta Christensen; brother-in-law Milton Pardowski; nephews Norbert Kinjerski, Larry Kinjerski, Tom Kinjeski Jr., and Ronnie Pardowski; and nieces Patsy Esbrook, Vicky Stommel, and Jane Rohr.

Visitation for Sister Joanne will be from 5 to 6:30 pm Tuesday, March 5, at Holy Cross Church, 3009 Bay Settlement Road. A vigil prayer service will be at 6:30pm.  Visitation will continue at Holy Cross Church on Wednesday, March 6, from 9:30am until the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30am with Reverend Dean Dombroski officiating. Burial will be in the St. Francis Convent Cemetery.

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