On June 16, 2021, Sr. Joan Chisala, CSJB, ASEC’s Programs Coordinator in Zambia, lost her battle with COVID-19. This is a very sad reality facing our ASEC family. We stand in thoughtful prayer for the repose of her soul and the consolation of her biological family, religious family, the entire Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS) and all who have shared her life.
Sr. Joan Chisala is a member of the international congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist (CSJB) in Zambia, central Africa. In 2015, she celebrated her Silver Jubilee and has committed over 30 years of her life to serving the will of God. Sr. Joan subscribed to the quote, "Whatever God sends, is good and Holy.” This is the saying of CSJB’s Founding Father St. Alfonso Maria Fusco, who was recently proclaimed a Saint by His Holiness Pope Francis.
With the help of her congregation, Sr. Joan obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Primary Teaching at the University of Zambia. She taught primary school for over 25 years and served as Head Teacher of several of her congregation’s schools.
Sr. Joan was also a beneficiary of Conrad N. Hilton Foundation funds for “Strengthening the Capacity of Women Religious in Early Childhood Development” (SCORE ECD). For three years, she developed her skills to become a SCORE ECD Master Trainer in order to train other sisters and stakeholders in Zambia in early childhood development practices.
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Sr. Joan was also the third African sister scholar accepted for a six-month research fellowship in the United States through the Visiting Scholar Program. Made possible a grant awarded by Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the program is a collaborative effort between ASEC and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. Sr. Joan worked closely with CARA staff through December, 2018, strengthening her applied research skills. She also visited ASEC's Headquarters in Scranton, PA, in November, 2018, to assist in week-long research activities with ASEC’s evaluation team. Upon returning to Zambia, Sr. Joan immediately began applying her new skills to conduct research on the Catholic church in Africa.
Since February, 2019, Sr. Joan has been a valued member of ASEC staff as the Programs Coordinator in Zambia where she continued to dedicate her life to advancing the education of women through ASEC’s program offerings.
ASEC will host an invitation-only virtual memorial service in Sr. Joan’s honor on June 30, 2021 to share memories and mourn the loss of our beloved colleague and friend. She was vibrant, energetic and friendly, with brilliant ideas and a charming smile. May she rest in eternal peace.
Sadly, Sr. Joan is the second ASEC staff member to be taken away by COVID-19. Sr. Irene Lucy Onyai, LSMIG, ASEC Programs Coordinator, Uganda, lost her battle with coronavirus in September, 2020.