meet the sisters of emmanuel monastery

“Let us prefer nothing to the love of Christ, and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life.”  (RB 72:11)

Meet the sisters, and read about the many ways they reach out and minister to God’s people.


Rosalie Desmond, OSB – taught elementary school for 25 years in the Catholic Schools of the Archdioceses of Newark, NJ and Baltimore, MD. “Desi” has served the community as assistant treasurer for many years. She also shared her skills as beautician in cutting the sisters’ hair for many years.She presently resides at Stella Maris nursing facility.

Jacinta Fernandes, OSB – founder of St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth, NJ, retired from her position as director of the center after thirty-two years. She now resides with the community in Lutherville and will be volunteering her services with the Immigration Outreach Service Center in Baltimore. She also serves the community as the recording secretary.

Germaine Hartle, OSB - taught in elementary schools for fifty years in the Dioceses of Erie and Allentown, Pennsylvania.  As a member of Transfiguration Priory in Emmaus, PA, she served in several capacities and participated in the community outreach programs.  Having moved to Emmanuel Monastery, she now assists in the finance office, hospitality ministry at Transfiguration House and in outdoor maintenance. She enjoys gardening and spending time outdoors, and much of the beauty of the monastery grounds can be attributed to her "green thumb" and love of nature.

Patricia Kirk, OSB – Served as Prioress of the community from 1993-2005. Prior to this she was both a teacher and a pastoral associate for over fifteen years in Baltimore City. She served as Vocation Director and Director of Oblates in the community,and was elected again as Prioress in 2015. She is a Spiritual Director, a retreat director and is very active in Justice and Peace ministry.

Jo-El McLaughlin, OSB - serves the community through the ministry of music. Jo-El volunteers at AWE (Asylee Women Enterprise) where, among other things, she is presently helping to form a refugee choir. Jo-El offers her musical gifts for liturgy at the Carmelite Monastery, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at Villa Julie, and here at Emmanuel. She provides music therapy for children with special needs at St. Mathhew's Parents Day Out, and offers piano and voice lessons and voice therapy to a wider public. She is also directing the Mercy Ridge Senior Citizens Chorus.

Kathleen McNany, OSB – serves the community as Liturgist, Director of Communications and is also a member of the Leadership Team, a position she held from 1989-2001 and now, since 2010. Kathy is a Spiritual Director, Retreat Director, leader of programs in prayer and spirituality at the monastery and in the broader community, and works with other Benedictine communities in discernment facilitation and direction setting for the future. She served as a member of the Council of the Federation of St. Scholastica from 1998-2010 and 2014-2018.

Eleanor Noll, OSB – served as the coordinator of the Meals Program at Beans and Bread Soup Kitchen for over 20 years. Ellie’s other “outside” ministry is gardening at the monastery. In community she serves as the building and household manager and serves on the Justice and Peace committee.

Patricia Phillips, OSB – serves as community treasurer assisting the community in responsibly stewarding our resources, a position she has held for over 25 years. She served on the Leadership Team of the community from 1993-2005. Pat taught in Archdiocesan schools for over twenty years, and worked for Baltimore County school tutoring children with skeletal displaysia. She presently works at St. Joseph Medical Center part time in the Out-Patient division as Greeter/Concierge.

Martina Revak, OSB - served on the staff of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Allentown, PA for over twenty years. At the Emmaus Priory, she was Community Coordinator, Development Director, responsible for investment services, Oblate Director, Prayer Group Moderator, and participant in the Benedictine Study Group. Martina is presently under care at Maria Health Care Center, run by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, only ten minutes from the Monastery.

Eileen Simms, OSB – worked in Catholic education for over forty years. She worked for several years in Baltimore County Schools as an academic support person in remedial work with challenged students. In the community Eileen served as our former Oblate Director for twenty-six years, and she leads the weekly Lectio prayer group. Eileen is presently under care at Maria Health Care Center, run by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, only ten minutes from the Monastery.

Joan Marie Stief, OSB – serves on the Leadership Team of Emmanuel Monastery, is the community librarian, and supports our sisters in various ways including health care and technology. She continues her commitment to justice and peace through education and advocacy, focusing on the integration of faith and compassion. Previously, she worked with the P. Francis Murphy Justice and Peace Iniative, Catholic Charities Parish Social Ministry, the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, and in Catholic school education as a school librarian and as archdiocesan director of library media services. She was the prioress of Emmanuel Monastery from 1977-1985.

Kathleen White, OSB –was Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Emmanuel Monastery from 1985-1993 and 2005-2015. She presently is a member of the community Justice and Peace Committee, is a PACEM mentor, and coordinates the maintenance at the monastery. She also servies on the board of the Asylee Women Enterprise and is chair of tlhe Leadership Circle of the Tri-Community Endeavor. Kathy taught in the Archdiocesan schools for 8 years and worked in parish ministry for over 20 years, primarily in pastoral outreach to the sick, elderly and homebound.

Virginia (Jeri) Willson, OSB – is the community archivist, and is one of the community gardeners. Her earlier ministries include teaching, educational administration, and office management. Jeri recently retired from St. Joseph Medical Center where she worked in the Out-Patient facility as Greeter/Concierge, extending our Benedictine hospitality to patients arriving for surgery and other medical procedures. She now continues that ministry of hospitality at the monastery as co-ordinator of Transfiguration House.