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Joann is a peacemaker, meditation teacher, workshop leader, wife, mother, granny, social activist and mediator. She has been meditating in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh for over 25 years, is an ordained member of his Order of Interbeing and a certified Qi Gong teacher.  She offers days of meditation and women’s meditation retreats.


  1. Is anyone out there reading????? Let me know please.

    • reading

    • Definitely reading! Looking forward to the book! Am I in it? 😉

    • Dear Joann: We have many friends in common but have never met although I’ve heard your name for decades. I was a member of the Catholic Left community and lived in Boston with Ann Walsh, Paul Couming, et. al. and participated in the Delaware & New Haven actions among others and was the principal person distributing the COINTELPRO files to media while working at RESIST. I just found your ‘blog’ (if that’s what’s its called, I prefer journal). Paul Couming just paid me a visit at my home in NH; we’d not seen one another for about 35 years. I live near Lianne Moccia (Candem 28). And, I’m pleased to say my spiritual, political and social justice values haven’t changed an iota since I was an ernest boy in a Jesuit High School outside Boston in the mid-sixties who read the New Testament and ‘got it’! A Holy Cross classmate and I later started The Mustard Seed, Catholic Worker community, in Worcester, MA, in 1972 which is still going stronger than ever forty years later. I hope you are well and someday I have a chance to meet you in person. I’m on Facebook if you want to befriend me; my politics are quite obvious on my FB postings. Namaste.
      Shawn Donovan
      Lebanon, NH

      • Dear Shawn,
        Sorry it has taken me so long to reply….my blogging is intermittent at this point.
        Have you seen Hit and Stay, the documentary on the Catonsville 9 and other actions…great showing in Baltimore recently, a sort of reunion.
        Great that you were reunited with old friends too.
        Peace in every step, Joann

      • Mary Ann Hyde Johnson
      • Posted July 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm
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      • Reply

      are you a former member of the Loretto Community? your name came up in conversation over the weekend in KY

      • Hi, Mary Ann,
        I’ve just discovered a treasure trove of emails on Yahoo that I didn’t realize existed. So please forgive the long delay in answering. Thank you for remembering me, especially in our commonly beloved community at the Motherhouse! I’m overdue for another visit there! I went to our 50th anniversary of first vows in 2009, but haven’t been back since…would love to have my husband see it and meet some of my old classmates who live there.

        Hope all is well. We are very happy and still teaching, writing, practicing meditation, Qi Gong, leading women’s retreats.

        Love and peace,

  2. I can’t wait to

  3. Hello Joann, yes I’m reading. Vary nice way to connect with you though we are separated by such distance.

    • Dear Richard, you are definitely a primary audience member for my book. You inspired me to start sharing my story for an audience of one several years ago. Your story is precious and powerful also. Please keep writing it. Love, J

  4. thot you might be interested

    you’re in meconis’ book: (as i’m sure you know)

    A Review for Amazon and an Interchange on the book With Clumsy Grace- Charles Meconis

    A Clumsy Grace concerns anti draft board actions by the “Catholic Left-1961-1975. This review is somewhat personal- the best kind?- in that I was close to the incidents described. You will be able to read my biases!

    Reading it,- I realized that a lot happened around the time of the Harrisburg 8 trial that soured people on Dan and Phil Berrigan, the most famous of the movement participants, (and Phil Berrigan certainly qualifies as a founding father on these types of actions) – which continue to this day as the “Plowshares Movement”.. Certain participants, like Joe Wenderoth and Neil McGlaughlin felt ripped off- manipulated- that certain hypocrisies and character flaws and ineptitudes came out…I had wrapped myself in the safe prison blanket of Lewisburg and the Farm Camp (I had poured blood on draft files with Phil Berrigan in 1967) – not choosing or wishing to be involved the way Phil did.

    As a hero, perhaps Phil Berrigan did not come off in a stellar light- as his letters to his future? wife, Liz McCallister are quite snarky- even about his own brother. Not to mention the fact that Phil had fallen for smuggling letters out of the joint by a person- Boyd Douglas- the only con allowed to go out of the prison and study at Bucknell U, who turned out to be an informer?!? But this was Phil- a charge ahead- ex military organising peacenik!

    Hopefully the film maker, Joe Tropea – who is making a documentary about the anti draft actions- look up “Hit and Stay”, will shed more light on the complexities of this period of time-although what more is there to way than what Charles M says in this book? The role of informants as the FBI became more and more alarmed at our effectiveness is fascinating. The FBI began to realize that we draft file destroyers were haveing a real effect!

    More recently, Md. State Police were spying on activists (round about 2006 and 7) and may still be doing so at the time of this writing (2010). With all the Homeland Security money, and given the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be surprising if government agencies hadn’t continued all their wrong doing as regards us citizenry. Most likely they have continued it, trying to avoid all the mistakes of the past.

    The more I read Meconis’ book- the more it upset me-not his writing but some of the material on which he reported: the Harrisburg 8 and the Camden 28 as failures? the Catholic left “destroyed and over”? (Neil McGlaughlin’s statement?)

    Of course there had never been a “Catholic Left” in the sense that we truly understood the left- we didn’t! not the left of Karl Marx or Debs or the Unions of the 30’s and 40’s or my good friends with SPARK (the Trotskyist group). Did we know for example that an “International Communinst Union” was illegal? We had no clue. But we were a “Catholic Left” in that many of the actors were Catholics and our actions definitely leaned towards the left. You could see by Meconis’ book that several of the draft action actors became more left- like me!

    But the two actions thoroughly described in the book- Camden 28 and Harrisburg 8 gained amazing acquittals exactly because of the boneheaded informer in the one and a change of heart by the informer in the other (see the Giacchino film- “The Camden 28”). Neil Mglaughlin’ s statement in the book about the death of the Catholic left? – what revisionism- what an overstatement and unnecessary despair from Neil.

    As long as Catholic Worker Houses like Viva House or Art Laffin’s in DC continue- as long as there is a Carl Kabat awaiting trial for attacking a missile base in Utah (2008?) ,or the latest Plowshares group attacking Trident subs in the state of Washington (2009?) – as long as we can read the Sermon on the Mount- the “Catholic Left” continues- o it may not be successful in the terms of the world- it never pretended to be. The attitudes of some of the actors Meconis interviewed might as well have been stated by CoInTelPro (the FBI department that spied on and tried to disrupt the peacniks), for Christ’s sake!

    This was the same FBI that had tried to derail a saint- Martin Luther King- and yes, King also had clay feet. We’re all human, folks.

    Anyway, thankfully, the Meconis book ends on a positive, praiseworthy note. Liz McCallister (Phil Berrigan’s widow) and Jonah House get fair play, God bless em.

    This book is a must for any students on this issue or any persons who are going down the same non-violent path- it demonstrates the power of this idea, so much maligned in this military county. Books like this will change the world!

    The other two premier books on the topic? Felon for Peace (underline) by Jerry Elmer, and Disarmed and Dangerous (underline) by Murray Polner.

    From: Charlie Meconis
    To: David Eberhardt

    • Details please – title, etc

    • Will you send me the quotes, Dave? I don’t have a copy.

  5. Hello Joann – was it you made the pancakes on a beautiful summer morning at a monastery on Stanyan St, nearly 42 years ago? Names, faces, places flow together in the time cauldron… Take care/Michael

  6. definitely do check in from time to time, best wishes from subarctic heaven

  7. Joann – I’m reading!

    • Katie Gruenenfelder Kelly
    • Posted September 8, 2013 at 12:12 am
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    You were my religion teacher Freshman year at Nerinx that fall semester of 1967. You change us all forever, teaching us to follow our beliefs, and our conscinces to imp[rove our world,despite what authoritarian views were preaching. Recently at a small reunion of our class, discussing the effects you had on our class. We decided you brought us so muchcloser – the ones who stayed were far more open minded, willing to question authority, and less likely to be led by governement media. You were the beginning of a school that empowered women, rather than just teaching them. Alwats very proud to say I know you, and now I have a daughter, who says to thank you for your influence on my views, which I susbsequently passed down to her. You were amazing! Thanks for the many gifts you gave us in a tumultuous time!

    • Dear Katie,
      WOW! You brought tears to my eyes as I shared your beautiful letter with my husband. Thank you so much for your kind words. Teaching at Nerinx at such an important time of change in our lives and the lives of our nation was so powerful for me. I never intended by the action against the war in Vietnam in 1969 to bring so much conflict to Nerinx, but the sisters told me that it took many years for the school to recover. You were among that small band of students who refused to boycott the school in protest against the Sisters of Loretto’s support for me to act according to my conscience. I thank you again for your courage and am happy that your daughter understands how difficult that stand was for you. I am so happy that schools – and you as a parent – are empowering young women to stand up to authority when they know that what they are being asked to do, think, feel and believe is wrong. Much love and peace to you and your family, Joann

  8. Remember, you were my religion teacher, too. 😉

    Yes, the turmoil at school was awful, and the damage lingered. There are still bad feelings after all these years, because of the fear that Nerinx would close. I still remember my father being adamant that he would never pull my sister and I out of there. His support never wavered. He was taught (as were my sister and I) by the Lorettos at St. Cronan.

    But some of us still invoke your teachings, especially not raising your voice in an argument. That one has served us well!

    • Dear Victoria,
      Thank you so much! It’s wonderful to hear from my former students. I’m so glad that Nerinx survived and is flourishing now. Did I really manage not to raise my voice? Miracles happen. I try now to practice “restraint of pen and tongue,” sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Hope all is well with you and your family. Peace, Joann

  9. Greetings Joann,

    Whatever has become of your autobiography? I run a small academic and general press and one of my authors, Bob Mielke, who has been an admirer of yours since his high school days, has encouraged me to ask if we can review your manuscript and possibly publish it. You can see some of the works we have already published at our website: and (for creative works). Please give it some thought and let me know what you think.

    best wishes in the new year,


    Naciketas Press, Golden Antelope Press, Blazing Sapphire Press

    • Dear Neal,
      How embarrassing! I just found your email on a Yahoo account I rarely see anymore.
      What a generous and interesting offer to read my manuscript of Power of Love: How a Nun became a Revolutionary. I had it in the hands of an agent when I decided to pull it back from publication, to honor a family request.

      So, that story might have to wait until it arises in a different form, perhaps at the hands of the next generation.

      I am, however, trying to publish another book (not necessarily of the scholarly type you publish). It is called Loving Mindfully: Finding Happiness in Relationships. Parallax Press is looking at it at the moment, since they publish many of the works of Thich Nhat Hanh, my meditation teacher. The work reflects years of learning mindfulness practices from him and also growing through Twelve Step programs. The result being an amazingly happy life with my husband and co-author, Patrick Smith.

      If a book of this type might interest you, please reply to

      Many thanks,

  10. On this All Souls day I was describing Stan as a mystic in both the present and past tense. We remember him as he was. I think he remains a mystic in these days.

    I think we honor life by cherishing the old memories as much as we covet the new ones.

    Breathing in deeply I recall one night at the old Loretto when you first said hello to me. Exhaling I remember being afraid that night waiting for the at Southwest Trafficway when a carload of Christian Brothers rolled by, allaying my fears.

    How, my friend, were we ever so young, so wise, and so destined to suffer? And why are we so old, less sure, and so willing to suffer for the sake of not only our own.

    That is, as you realize, the Power of Love. Thank you for keeping this transcendent faith.

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