Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 17, 1891 when Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon dedicated St. Bernard Church, Enfield.
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WEST HARTFORD – Sister of Mercy Mary Joan (Joan K.) Cook, Ph.D., died on Feb. 13, 2013, at St. Mary Home, where she had been a member of the order’s Baggot Street Community.

Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late William O. and Mary E. (Sullivan) Cook. She graduated from Mount St. Joseph Academy and St. Joseph College in West Hartford and received advanced degrees from Boston College and the University of Toronto.

She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1947 and taught in St. Patrick and St. Joseph Schools in Hartford as well as in Danbury and Greenwich. She then joined the English department at St. Joseph College, now the University of St. Joseph, where she remained for nearly 50 years, retiring as Faculty Emerita. She took a sabbatical to serve as dean of studies at Lauralton Hall in Milford for two years.

After retiring from teaching, Sister Mary Joan served as an academic advisor in the Weekend Program for Adult Learners and volunteered in the college archives. Recently, she wrote the history of the first 75 years of St. Joseph College entitled St. Joseph College 1932-2007: The Art of Becoming in a Changing Society.

Sister Mary Joan was a long-standing active member of the Sisters of Mercy Justice Committee and a woman of many interests.

She is survived by several nieces and nephews and her religious community. She was predeceased by her sisters, Mary O. Bidwell, Jane G. Murphy and Edna K. Hammond, and her brothers, William O. Cook and Father John P. Cook.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Feb. 20 in Connor Chapel at the University of St. Joseph. Burial was in St. Mary Cemetery.

Donations in Sister Mary Joan Cook’s memory may be sent to the Sisters of Mercy, 55 E. Cedar St., Newington, CT 06111, or to  the University of St. Joseph, 1678 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, CT 06117.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.