Joanne Blaney

Year Joined MKLM: 1991-1995; 2000
Country: USA
City: Ossining, NY
Ministry: Mission Service Director

Personal Data:

Joanne is originally from Philadelphia, PA.  She worked for many years as a junior-high school teacher and school principal in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.   She participated in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Anacostia, DC. Joanne has done volunteer work at women’s shelters, with literacy programs and in educational groups.  She also worked with RCIA programs and participated as a member of Parish Councils.

Joanne first joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1991 and served in Brazil until 1995. At that time her work was with a grassroots housing group organizing people in shantytowns and with helping to empower women. Upon returning to the U.S., she served as the Co-Director of Franciscan Mission Service.  She rejoined Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 2000 and has served in Brazil since that time.  She worked for many years with victims of domestic violence and is a founding member of Association Fala Mulher, an organization that works to heal women who are victims of domestic violence and helps them to develop non-violent communication and life skills.

Most recently Joanne lived in the mega-city of Sao Paulo and worked at the Human Rights and Popular Education Center. Her primary ministry was in training educators and leaders of community and church groups in violence prevention and restorative justice practices in order to resolve interpersonal and group conflicts. Joanne and her teammates traveled throughout Brazil to teach courses on anger management, forgiveness, non-violent communication, reconciliation, mediation of conflicts and restorative practices. She also worked with restorative justice practices in juvenile justice and in prisons.  Joanne was the Coordinator of the Southeast region of Brazil with the Forgiveness and Restorative Justice Program.   The workshops and courses were given in the popular education-holistic model of Paulo Freire and are accompanied by on-going supervision so that participants became multipliers of the course. She was responsible for the following:

  • Training teachers, pastoral and community leaders in mediation of conflicts, non-violent communication, forgiveness and restorative justice practices.
  • Working to empower adults and adolescents to heal from urban, social and interpersonal violence.
  • Used a holistic approach with popular-education methodology to help individuals and groups learn ways to transform conflicts into a peace-building tool for individuals and communities.
  • Partnered with local and national groups to bring restorative justice practices as a model to resolve conflicts in communities and schools.

She has made presentations on Restorative Justice at conferences in Northern Ireland, U.S., Australia and Brazil. She presented her work on ESPERE – Conflict and Peacemaking at the International Congress of World Religions in Australia in 2009. She has also co-authored a book on the themes of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice that is being used in working with children and adolescents in social-educational centers in São Paulo.

Current Ministry:

Presently Joanne’s primary ministry is as Director of the Mission Services Department (MSD). Joanne works with and supervises staff members who have the following responsibilities:   Recruitment, Admissions, Training & Educational Programs, Always a Missioner (Returned Missioners) and Friends Across Borders.   MSD staff members are responsible for selection and formation of new Maryknoll lay missioners. In addition, MSD provides services to lay missioners in the field as well as those returning to the U.S. in order to help them integrate their mission experience into the broader context of their lives in a healthy way.  Joanne helps to oversee planning, implementation and evaluation of MSD programs.

Joanne promotes and participates in collaborative efforts within Maryknoll and with other overseas mission sending groups.  Joanne’s experience as a missioner and her extensive time in Latin America contribute greatly to the work of the Mission Services Department.