Sister Joan Marie Ames, formerly known as Sister Maura Thomas, died suddenly and unexpectedly on September 10, 2023 in her home at Holy Innocents Convent. Shock and overwhelming sadness fell over her local community and her community at large. Sister was in the 54th year of her religious life. May she rest in peace.
Joan was born on January 17, 1952 in Philadelphia. Joan’s parents John and Joan (Hickey) Ames raised their family of two boys and three girls in St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Richboro, PA. Joan attended Our Lady of Good Counsel grade school (1957-1965), and Archbishop Wood High School (1965-1969). Later, while in the Community, Joan earned her A.B. degree in Theology and her M.A. from Glassboro State College in School Administration.
Joan entered the Congregation on September 8, 1969; she received her habit and her religious name, Sister Maura Thomas, on June 27, 1970, and she professed First Vows on June 28, 1972. At a point in the mid-eighties the Sisters were given the opportunity to return to the use of their baptismal names, Sister Maura Thomas chose to return to the use of Joan.
In the fall of 1972, Sister Joan’s first assignment was in Virginia Beach, VA teaching fifth graders at Star of the Sea. For the next 19 years, Sister taught various grades: 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8, in various parishes. Sister served children, parents, and parishioners at St. Louis in Yeadon, St. Mark-Ephrem in Bristol; St. Matthew in Philadelphia; St. James in Falls Church, VA; Good Shepherd in Philadelphia; St. Pius X in Norfolk, VA; St. Teresa in Runnemede, NJ and St. Thomas in Philadelphia.
In the fall of 1992, Sister Joan Marie served as principal of St. Joachim School in Philadelphia for six years followed by her service at Most Blessed Sacrament School in Philadelphia for the next four years.
In the fall of 2002, Sister Joan went to Little Flower High School to work in the Student Services Office, very shortly thereafter in March 2003, Sister was asked to serve as the Director of Advancement where she remained in service until her death on September 10, 2023. The suddenness of Sister’s death rocked the Little Flower High School community and all those who knew and worked with her through the years.
Sister Joan is survived by her brother Reverend John Ames, her sisters Kathleen (Ames) Gaffney (Philip), Marie (Ames) Buonanno, her nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Sister is predeceased by her parents John Ames and Joan (Hickey) Ames, and her brother, Gregory Ames.
Reverend John Ames (homilist) celebrated Sister Joan’s Funeral Mass on Friday, September 15, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. Rev. John Burger, SSC, Rev. Joseph McLaughlin, Rev. Andrew Lang, Rev. Joseph J. Quindlen, Rev. Ronald St. Louis, and Deacon John J. Rodgers were on the altar with Father Ames.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to:
Camilla Hall Nursing Home
IHM Mission Advancement Office
30 IHM Drive
Malvern, PA 19355