Sister Jo Anne Form, OSB was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Carl and Josephine Form, the second of four daughters. The family moved to Fort Worth from Lake Brownwood when Sister Jo Anne was in the 5th grade, and she made her first contact with the Benedictine Sisters at St. Thomas School. A few months later, her father, an independent plumber, died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Sister Jo Anne remembers that the Sisters were ever so solicitous of the four little girls. Her mother was a nurse and took care of the Sisters at four local parishes anytime they were ill. As she accompanied her mother from convent to convent, Sister Jo Anne got to know the Sisters quite well.
Sister Helen Marie, who was Sister Jo Anne’s 5th grade teacher, was her source of inspiration in wanting to become a religious and live as a Benedictine. Sister Jo Anne remembers that Sister Helen Marie had a wonderful sense of humor, a warm and caring disposition, and was a patient teacher. In particular, Sister Helen Marie helped her with her handwriting “which was atrocious, at the time”. Today, Sister Jo Anne does beautiful calligraphy work - designing the Monastery’s Remembrance Prayer Cards and doing other community art work.
At the age of twelve, Sister Jo Anne came to Lisle and entered the Monastery as an Aspirant. She made her temporary monastic vows in 1958. Her first teaching position was in the kindergarten at St. Vitus School in Chicago, and for over 24 years she served as a class room teacher in Illinois and Texas. After receiving an Elementary Guidance Certificate, she took on the role of Freshman Guidance Counselor at Benet Academy for several years. Jobs as grade school principal, coordinator at Rosehill Montessori School, and part-time financial aid counselor at Illinois Benedictine College, round out Sister Jo Anne’s career outside the Monastery.
For the past eleven years, Sister has served as the Development Office Coordinator. Her job includes preparing all the mailings sent out by the Sisters; recording all gifts to the community and acknowledging our donors; and the design and layout of the Lisle Benedictine Women newsletter that you are reading. She says about the LBW: “It’s a pleasure designing the Sisters’ Lisle Benedictine Women newsletter. We wish to maintain a personal and informative communication with our families and friends and keep you updated on the lives and mission of the Sisters here is Lisle.”As Sister Jo Anne reflects on her 50 years as a Benedictine Sister, she says: “It has been an awesome experience being part of the historical changes taking place at the monastery. My prayer is that we continue to meet the challenges that bond the Sisters and the Villa St. Benedict Residents, who have become an integral part of our lives. I can identify with the person who was inspired to write the lyrics of the song, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place.”