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 volunteers her services with the Immigration Outreach Service Center in Baltimore, and Samaritan Community. 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, and again from 2015-2020. 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. 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 co-directs the choir, Hope of Nations. 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. 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 – was elected prioress of the community in September 2020. She also serves the community as Liturgist, Director of Communications. 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 presently serves on the Leadership Team of the community. Pat taught in Archdiocesan schools for over twenty years, and worked for Baltimore County school tutoring children with skeletal displaysia. She works part time at St. Joseph Medical Center in the Out-Patient division as Greeter/Concierge.

Joan Marie Stief, OSB – serves as 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 and has also been a past member of the Leadership Team.

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 Leadership Team, 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.