Joanne Reynolds, RSCJ

Joanne Reynolds, RSCJ

Birth: September 23, 1926
Profession: July 30, 1956
Death: September 14, 2013

Religious of the Sacred Heart Joanne Reynolds died unexpectedly September 14 in Atherton, California. A quiet, gentle soul who put others before herself, her life will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, October 5 at 10:00 a.m. at Oakwood. Burial will be at Oakwood.

Joanne Reynolds was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa September 23, 1926 to George and Maude Hough Reynolds. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother George F. Reynolds. She is survived by a brother, Clarke E. Reynolds of Fairfield, California, and two sisters: Annette Janda of Aurora, Colorado and Yvonne Reynolds of Mt. Angel, Oregon.

Sister Reynolds entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at the Kenwood Convent in Albany, New York on September 8, 1948. She made her first vows March 5, 1951 at Kenwood. She made her final profession at the Society of the Sacred Heart motherhouse in Rome on July 30, 1956.

A lover of books and words, Sister Reynolds spent many years in both the classroom and the library. She taught religion, Latin, and French at Sacred Heart schools in Omaha, Menlo Park, Seattle and San Francisco. Besides teaching, she was also Mistress of Studies in both Menlo and Seattle. She taught at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in El Cajon, and was there for the opening of the novitiate. She also taught at Lone Mountain College in San Francisco. In all places, she was known for her quiet prayerfulness.

After brief service as provincial secretary for the California Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart, she was a founding member of Oakwood, the retirement community for the Society of the Sacred Heart in Atherton. From 1971-81 she served as assistant director, treasurer and director of services. She returned to the classroom in 1981 at St. Joseph’s School in Menlo, then served as a library assistant at St. Patrick’s Seminary and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Palo Alto.

Another Religious of the Sacred Heart said, “a call or visit from her brightened many a day for all of us. She had a quiet sense of humor, but once she started laughing she could not stop.”

In the late 80’s, Sister Reynolds began summer tutoring of migrant workers at St. Joseph’s Shelter in Mt. Angel, Ore., where she spent two weeks each year visiting her sister Yvonne, whom Joanne loved very dearly. Eventually this service expanded to teaching English to Mexican sisters who worked at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park.

She moved to Oakwood in 2004 and continued to tutor at the seminary, and later began doing volunteer work in the office at St. Raymond School in Menlo Park. In time, motivated by her great love of reading and a desire to impart it to the children, she was hired to set up a library there for lower elementary school children. Many marveled at the care and expertise she brought to the job. The finished product was both efficient and beautiful—an ideal environment for children to learn.

Sister Reynolds tutored for a year at the St. Francis Center for the poor in Redwood City, then focused her tutoring on employees at Oakwood – a personal ministry she continued up to the time of her death.

Sister Reynolds earned a Bachelor of Arts in Latin, with minors in French and Spanish from Duchesne College in Omaha. Her Master of Arts in history came from the San Francisco College for Women. She held permanent teaching certification from Nebraska.


Submitted by Tracy Howard-CSH EC on

I first met Mother Reynolds (as I knew her) at CSH EC in 1968. I was not the best behaved student and she very patient and serious. I want to say that I am sorry to her for all of the things I did.

Sr. McKenna I met my senior year at CSH Broadway 1973. She was always kind, open and loving. Always smiling. We all loved her very much. None of us will ever forget that special time and unique bond that we all share. What a blessing.